Rugby: No test matches for Black Ferns in 2020, says NZ Rugby

The Black Ferns won't play any test rugby in 2020, NZ Rugby has confirmed.

The reigning world champions were originally scheduled to play eight tests leading into next year's Women's Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

COVID-19 meant most of those were cancelled, although both NZ Rugby and Rugby Australia had hoped to reschedule at least two tests later this year.

"The Wallaroos are unable to make it over," NZR chief executive Mark Robinson tells Newshub.

"We would've liked to have got some international competition for the team, obviously. That was something we've continued to work through really carefully and were really committed to in the last little while.

"But unfortunately, we haven't been able to do that, so we'll focus on a domestic type situation… that's the best we can do for now."

Seven Black Ferns fixtures were to be played at home, including doubleheaders alongside the All Blacks in Dunedin and Wellington, with an overseas test scheduled for Melbourne's Marvel stadium as part of a third doubleheader.

Robinson says contingency planning is underway to ensure the team is primed to defend their title on home soil next year.

"We are looking at a domestically focused campaign for the Black Ferns at the moment, which will run off the back end of the Farah Palmer Cup... possibly a couple of internal squad matches and then a couple of games against an NZ Barbarians-type team," Robinson adds.

"So we're really committed to making sure the Black Ferns are absolutely prepared the best they can for next year."