The All Blacks’ end-of-year tour to the northern hemisphere appears all but over thanks to reports of an eight-team international tournament set to take place in November – that doesn’t include New Zealand.
The Covid-19 pandemic has played havoc on the global rugby calendar already, with many mid-year international Tests cancelled and leagues suspended.
As such, unions are now looking for options that could work inside of the numerous strict coronavirus regulations countries have and the Six Nations members reportedly think they’ve found one.
The Telegraph reports that Japan and Fiji are expected to join the Six Nations team in a special eight-team tournament that will take place over November and December later this year.
The tournament will reportedly consist of two pools of four teams with matches played on November 14, 21 and 28.
The winners of each pool would play in a final on December 5 while the other nations would also play cross-pool fixtures to determine final placings.
The Telegraph reports “the most likely option” to allow the tournament to come to fruition was to replace any previously scheduled matches against southern hemisphere opponents.
The All Blacks are scheduled to play England in London on November 7, Wales the following weekend in Cardiff before wrapping things up with a Test against Scotland in Edinburgh.
Those Tests should’ve followed home matches against Wales and Scotland this month, but the pandemic has already led them to be cancelled.