Coronavirus: All Blacks' July tests still on schedule, for now

New Zealand Rugby concede a decision will need to be made soon on July's test window after the prospect of any further Super Rugby matches this year took a body blow on Monday.

Hours after Rugby Australia announced it had pushed back its remodelled domestic competition, NZ Rugby followed suit, saying it had been forced into an indefinite suspension of a proposed all-Kiwi competition involving its five 

Super Rugby teams.Any chance of staging such games evaporated on Monday when New Zealand's national alert status was raised to counter the coronavirus.

Non-essential businesses must close and all indoor and outdoor events are banned as the country moves into effective lockdown.

NZR chief executive Mark Robinson said the next week would be spent coming to grips with plunging revenue at the Super Rugby teams and ascertaining if there is any way of staging a bespoke competition once the new measures have taken effect.

Attention will also turn to the international window, with the All Blacks scheduled to host two tests against Wales.

Ireland are set to face the Wallabies in tests in Brisbane and Sydney on the same weekends in early July, while South Africa, Argentina and Japan were planning to host other Six Nations opponents.

Robinson said he had spoken to his Welsh Rugby Union counterpart Martyn Phillips earlier on Monday, assuring him the All Blacks tests are still set to be staged at this point.

"The matches are still planned for. We're in a situation where Martyn Phillips has said they'll take guidance from New Zealand Rugby and the New Zealand Government," Robinson said.

"We'll have to work through in the next little while, when we'll ultimately have to make that call.

"At this stage, the dialogue remains open and those fixtures are still on the schedule."

AAP

 

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