Rugby Australia gets $14.2-million boost

Adrian Warren

Cash-strapped Rugby Australia has received a $14.2-million boost from World Rugby, but the Wallabies' three July home Tests have been postponed.

A share of the world governing body's emergency relief fund of approximately $160 million is a much-needed boost for RA, which recently reported a provisional $9.4 million loss.

The fund was set up to help mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the sport.

In late March, RA stood down 75 per cent of its workforce for three months and in April an interim pay deal was hammered out with players who agreed to an average 60 per cent pay cut.

"We are very grateful for the support of World Rugby and commend them on their leadership in managing this issue for the global game," RA interim CEO Rob Clarke said.

"The financial implications of the virus have been significant for Rugby Australia and this emergency relief funding will provide us with certainty for the next 12 months and enable us to close off our 2019 accounts.

"The funding, in combination with the extensive cuts made across the business, provides us with the short-term impetus to see through the pandemic but does not solve all of the challenges."

RA could still face a significant loss of revenue if its three mid-year home Tests aren't rescheduled.

World Rugby confirmed the program of international rugby matches during the 2020 July window has been postponed due to ongoing government and health agency COVID-19 directives.

Australia were due to play Ireland at Suncorp Stadium on July 4 and the SCG on July 11. A clash with Fiji had been scheduled for Townsville on July 18.

It has been suggested the July Tests be rescheduled to October, but World Rugby is yet to commit to any alternative dates.

"The postponement of the July international window was always a reality given the ongoing travel restrictions and health directives across the globe," Clarke said.

"This was an outcome we were anticipating, and we are planning accordingly to host the fixtures later in the year, if possible, and will continue to work with World Rugby to identify a new window within the international calendar to stage the matches."

World Rugby said member unions, international rugby players and those playing in professional club competitions will be consulted in evaluating potential contingency options in an effort to agree on the Test calendar for the rest of 2020.

"All decision-making will be entirely contingent on national government travel, quarantine and health advice and important player welfare and hosting considerations in line with return-to-rugby guidance recently published by World Rugby," it said.