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Rugby - England 'perplexed' by new global calendar proposals

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By Reuters

(Reuters) – English rugby bosses look set to oppose any attempt to tear up the game’s newly-agreed global calendar at a meeting of the World Rugby Council in Australia this week, the Guardian has reported.

The new calendar, agreed last year, will start in 2020 and see the June test window move to the first three weeks of July, while matches between top and second-tier nations will increase by a minimum of a 39 percent in the period up to 2032.

World Rugby vice-chairman Agustin Pichot, though, said earlier this month there was a need to review the plans to save the international game from financial “ruin”.

The Argentine, the Guardian reported, will subsequently table a plan in Sydney to completely restructure the test season again with an annual November tournament featuring the top 12 countries hosted by each hemisphere in succession.

The report said the Rugby Football Union was “frustrated” because the July and November windows were the “cornerstone” of last year’s agreement.

“We are a bit perplexed at these apparent developments and ideas which we have not been party to,” an RFU spokesperson told the newspaper.

“We have worked really hard with our stakeholders … to define the new domestic season and we are working to the principles agreed with World Rugby which we have been assured are still valid.”

(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru, editing by Nick Mulvenney)