The confirmed programme seeks to optimise competition for established and emerging unions and is a result of strong cross-stakeholder collaboration to navigate a challenging and dynamic environment in relation to respective COVID-19 travel and quarantine protocols.
The underpinning principles for the schedule are the fixtures agreed in San Francisco in 2017. Where it was not possible or practical to honour those fixtures, World Rugby facilitated discussions to confirm an alternative schedule for teams while always prioritising the key player welfare requirements of player assembly, travel and preparation.
With an emphasis on navigating challenges for emerging nations in regard to player location, the confirmed schedule will see Tonga travel to Europe for the first time since 2018 to play England and Scotland, while Fiji will again enjoy a full programme, including a match against Wales.
Rugby World Cup 2019 quarter-finalist Japan will host Australia before facing Ireland, Portugal and Scotland on the old continent.
European emerging nations will also face strong opposition with Georgia meeting France, while Spain and Romania will face Fiji and Tonga, respectively. Uruguay will also look to build upon their recent positive results in South America when they face Italy, a potential Rugby World Cup 2023 Pool A opponent.
Unfortunately, owing to Samoa’s latest restrictions and challenges around players and coaching staff returning to Samoa and New Zealand, Samoa will not be able to travel to Europe as scheduled. World Rugby will continue to work with Samoa to identify alternative opportunities.
World Rugby Chairman, Sir Bill Beaumont said: “We are delighted to confirm with our member unions this exciting schedule of test matches this November. In the dynamic environment we live in, it wasn’t an easy task. It shows what great collaboration can achieve and I would like to thank everyone involved. This programme also illustrates our desire to organise more opposition between rugby’s established and emerging unions to raise competitiveness of the game globally.”
A busy schedule of women’s test matches will be confirmed shortly.