Coronavirus Wrap: Sir Bill Beaumont hoping for review of international calendar
World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont believes a unified approach to tackling the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic can help his sport create a new international structure.
Plans for a two-tier Nations Championship – working around the Six Nations and Rugby Championship with promotion and relegation – were scrapped in June last year after failing to garner enough support.
But Beaumont, who hopes to be re-elected in his role next month, feels the suspension of sport is a chance to re-examine international calendars.
And, with World Rugby launching an £80million fund this week to help unions negotiate the coronavirus crisis, he is encouraged by the togetherness between rugby nations.
“I’m pretty confident that there will be a variation of the nations cup,” the former England captain told BBC Radio Five Live.
“I think there’s a real spirit of collaboration between the north and the south, looking at what we can do with our playing windows and international windows that can generate more funds in another competition.
“You have to look at the calendar – the British and Irish Lions tour every four years, the Rugby World Cup every four years. It’s a balancing act that you have to do to fit everything into this jigsaw.
“But I think in the past people have been quite protective about what they have got, what we are looking at now this is probably a reality check in the sport – are we doing things correctly? You are pretty foolish if you don’t learn lessons.
“There’s a real feeling I get now that some variant of the nations league will come back on the table.”
Beaumont previously admitted there might not be any more international rugby played in 2020 and uncertainty remains over when domestic sport can resume.
The Premier League held talks with its 20 clubs on Friday with mid-June targeted as a potential time to continue the season, but West Ham chief executive Karren Brady has cast major doubt on whether that aim is viable.
Brady questioned how fit players would be if social-distancing rules remained after the lockdown, which is due to last until May 7 at the earliest.
She also queried how clubs could regularly test players for coronavirus when the same situation is not yet in place for all NHS workers, and pointed out potential problems with players needing hospital treatment for injuries.
Writing in her Sun column, she said: “Police officers will need to be at games even if they are behind closed doors as some supporters will travel to the stadium, even if they cannot come in to watch. But the police will want to ensure attending matches does not drain resources away from other matters.
“Everyone at the stadium – and even behind closed doors this is about 300-500 people – including security, staff, medical officers, players, referees and media, will have to have temperature checks, fill out health questionnaires and observe social distancing.”
Darts players Gerwyn Price, Rowby-John Rodriguez, Ted Evetts and Luke Woodhouse are due to be in action in the second day of the PDC Home Tour.
World champion Peter Wright was a surprise loser against Jamie Lewis on the opening night of the newly-devised tournament, where players are playing in their own homes and streaming the video.
Gary Anderson and Daryl Gurney were forced to withdraw as their WiFi was not strong enough to send a video link back, while world number one Michael Van Gerwen is not playing after being told there would be too much noise in his family home.