Cricket Australia (CA) is braced for a huge financial hit due to the possible postponement of the ICC Twenty20 World Cup, as well as playing home games without spectators. 

Speaking to the media on Friday, CA chief executive Kevin Roberts predicted the governing body stands to miss out on 80million Australian dollars due to the potential changes caused by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Admitting there is a “very high risk” of the global T20 tournament being pushed back from the original plan of October and November this year, Roberts outlined the expected missed income due to such a delay. 

However, the bigger blow is a home summer without any fans present at international fixtures, while there is also the extra cost of the biosecurity measures required to host opposing teams. 

"The likelihood of significant crowds is very slim - ordinarily that would deliver well over $50m revenue to CA," Roberts told reporters. 

"The T20 World Cup is a big question and that's a factor of perhaps $20m. We have been hopeful all along that it could be staged in October-November, but you would have to say there's a very high risk about the prospect of that happening. 

"And it's likely that our biosecurity measures that we need to put in place to deliver the season will cost in the order of $10m." 

Australia are due to host Zimbabwe in one-day internationals in August, then West Indies arrive for T20 games in October. As for Tests, Afghanistan are due to play one in Perth in November, followed by a four-match series against India, who complete their tour with three ODIs in January. 

New Zealand are the final visitors of a packed schedule, making the short trip for three one-dayers and a one-off T20 early next year. 

On the recently released schedule, Roberts remained cautiously optimistic, adding: “We're very optimistic that we will be able to stage the India men's tour and the other inbound tours for the season. 

"But we're realistic enough to know they will look very different to a normal summer. We have been forced to effectively plan for the worst and hope for the best." 

A team in transition was what Ross Taylor found when he joined the ranks of the black caps in 2006.

Gone were the names of the 1990s and New Zealand needed a new talisman. Taylor has not disappointed, scoring his first century in just his third One-Day International, 128, against Sri Lanka in Napier.

Taylor is brave. Known for slog sweeping quick bowlers with no thought to the danger such a ploy poses to his health. He is also a very powerful puller and cutter of the ball.

With great power comes great responsibility and Taylor has shown himself up to the task of providing the Black Caps with that necessary consistency over the last 10 years, while they hone tremendous talent around him. At 36, Taylor is in the twilight of his career but nobody would bet against him adding to his 21 ODI centuries and 51 half-centuries.                 

Career Statistics

Full name: Luteru Ross Poutoa Lote Taylor

Born: March 8, 1984, Lower Hutt, Wellington

Major teams: New Zealand, Australian Capital Territory, Central Districts, Central Districts Under-19s, Delhi Daredevils, Durham, Jamaica Tallawahs, Middlesex, New Zealand Emerging Players, New Zealand Under-19s, Pune Warriors, Rajasthan Royals, Royal Challengers Bangalore, St Lucia Zouks, Sussex, Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel, Victoria

Playing role: Middle-order batsman

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm offbreak

 

ODI Career: New Zealand (2006-present)

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS      Ave      BF         SR      100s    50s     4s      6s     

232     216      39     8574      181*   48.44    10273   83.46      21      51      711    146   

 

Career Highlights

  • First Kiwi to have centuries against all Test-playing nations in ODIs
  • Tallied 8574 runs at an average of 48.44
  • Produced 21 centuries and 51 half-centuries in ODIs
  • Between 2015 and 2017, he averaged 61.48
  • Between 2018 and the present, he’s averaged 68.46

The Ultimate XI ODI Edition’s discussions have started with a bang, as George Davis of the SportsMax Zone and the selection panel got into it over who should make the final six from the shortlist of openers.

There wasn’t much opposition as the Panel cut the West Indies’ Desmond Haynes from the shortlist on the first day, neither was there much of a stir when Matthew Hayden, the man who starts as opener in the Ultimate Test XI, was asked to go.

There were, however, a few ripples when Adam Gilchrist, a man who has three World-Cup-winning innings under his belt, was told he didn’t stack up well enough to make the final six players to be discussed on the Zone today.

However, major rifts developed when Sanath Jayasuriya did not find favour with two of the three panellists.

With two-thirds objecting to his appearance in today’s final, Jayasuriya had to go.

According to the voting so far, the panel, despite George Sylvester Davis’s appeals for a reconsideration, have called it right when it comes to Jayasuriya.

The Fanalysts don’t seem to think as much of Tillakaratne Dilshan or Hashim Amla as does the panel though, as they have Sourav Ganguly, Gilchrist, Haynes, and Jayasuriya, joining those two in the bottom six. The Fanalysts have also added New Zealand’s Martin Guptill to the list of those they don’t think can make it. Haynes and Gilchrist are in a statistical dead heat for one of the bottom six places.

Now here’s the truth about Jayasuriya. In partnership with Romesh Kaluwitharana, Jayasuriya is the man that made the massive totals of ODIs today possible. Thumping the ball to all parts of the ground in the first 15 overs, Jayasuriya made the work of his middle-order that much easier, as they could afford to run singles and keep the scoreboard ticking over with the expectation that normal batting would give them big scores.   

Now, if you believe, like I do, that there are some crazy Fanalysts out there, you can help change the conversation with your vote.

Fanalysts votes count heavily in deciding who makes the cut as the group holds the largest percentage weight when the votes are tallied.

The panel’s decision counts for 30 per cent of votes, while the Zone gets another 30. The Fanalysts benefit from a 10 per cent bump, giving you real sway in the conversation.

To vote for your Ultimate XI go to SportsMax.tv and click on the banner or go straight to this link.

Cricket Australia (CA) has released a full international schedule for 2020-21, with the four-Test series against India to begin at the Gabba on December 3.

CA revealed the fixtures for Australia's men's and women's teams on Thursday and the schedule is packed despite fears that matches may have to be cancelled or postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The men's team, who have not played since March when a one-day international series against New Zealand was cancelled after just one game, are due to first face Zimbabwe in three ODIs, beginning on August 9 at a venue yet to be determined.

After playing three T20s against West Indies and then India, Australia will host Afghanistan in a one-off Test in Perth that starts on November 21 before taking on Virat Kohli's team again in four Tests and three ODIs.

Their home season will conclude with a four-match ODI series against New Zealand in January and February.

The Australia women's team are set to return to action in September with a T20 series against New Zealand, who they will then meet in three ODIs prior to another series in that format against India in January.

The headline series for the men's team is undoubtedly the four-Test dual with Kohli's India, which will take place in Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney.

In announcing the fixtures, CA CEO Kevin Roberts conceded the final schedule may have to be tweaked depending on the spread of the coronavirus over the coming weeks and months.

"While acknowledging the difficulty in navigating a global pandemic, we are nonetheless encouraged by the progress Australia is making in combatting the coronavirus and the positive impact that is having on our ability to host an exciting summer of cricket in 2020-21," Roberts said.

"We know that circumstances or events beyond our control could mean that the final schedule potentially may look different to the one released today, but we'll be doing everything we can to get as much international cricket in as possible this summer. We will communicate any changes to the schedule if or when they are required. 

"We are engaged in ongoing discussions with federal and state governments, our venues and the touring nations to continually understand and monitor the situation in front of us, which is evolving every day. We'll continue to act in accordance with public health advice and government protocols to ensure the safety of the public, players and support staff."

India won the most recent Test series in Australia in 2018-19, the first time they had emerged victorious in that format Down Under.

World Rugby has ruled out the possibility of holding an international invitational tournament in the United Kingdom and Ireland in 2021 to provide relief following the coronavirus pandemic.

Former Rugby Football Union chief executive Francis Baron had proposed the one-off 16-team competition to raise money "for keeping the game of rugby alive around the world", with sport suspended in recent months due to the global crisis.

The event, held in the UK in order to avoid disrupting France's 2023 Rugby World Cup preparations, would see 31 matches across June and July and prompt the postponement of the British and Irish Lions' tour of South Africa.

The suggested tournament - dubbed the 'Coronavirus Cup of World Rugby' as Baron revealed his plan to the Telegraph - would reportedly aim to bring in up to £250million to support the sport as it recovers from the pandemic.

However, the  idea has been dismissed by governing body World Rugby.

A statement read: "World Rugby notes a proposal by former RFU CEO Francis Baron suggesting the organisation of a major international rugby event in the UK in 2021 to alleviate the impact of COVID-19 on global rugby.

"World Rugby does not intend to pursue such a proposal.

"All stakeholders continue to progress productive discussions regarding the immediate global COVID-19 financial relief strategy and international rugby calendar optimisation, both of which will further the success of Rugby World Cup 2023 in France."

World Rugby has already postponed all July Tests and set aside a $100million relief fund in a bid to assist those struggling the most.

Lionel Messi delivered a moment of history for Barcelona on this day in 2009, as Manchester United lost the Champions League final in Rome.

Arsene Wenger also has fond memories of May 27 from his Arsenal career, having achieved an unprecedented FA Cup feat at Wembley three years ago.

Shane Watson powered Chennai Super Kings to 2018 IPL glory, while back in 1995, the great Jonah Lomu scored the first tries of a famous New Zealand career.

Join us in looking back on some memorable moments from this day in years gone by.

 

1995 – Jonah Lomu scores his first tries for New Zealand

One of rugby union's all-time most famous faces made his mark on this day back in 1995.

Lomu scored his first two tries for New Zealand as they claimed a 43-19 win over Ireland in a Pool C clash at the Rugby World Cup in Johannesburg.

He finished the tournament as joint-top try-scorer on seven as the All Blacks reached the final, where they were famously beaten by hosts South Africa.

Lomu tragically died at the age of 40 in November 2015.

2018 – Shane Watson scores unbeaten century as Chennai Super Kings win the IPL

It is two years since a spectacular innings from Watson secured Indian Premier League glory for Chennai Super Kings.

Questioned for putting their faith in a squad of players approaching the end of their careers, it was fitting that Chennai's triumph would be sealed by 36-year-old Watson's unbeaten 117 from 57 balls.

Watson hit eight sixes and 11 fours to dominate the contest, the Super Kings easing to an eight-wicket win with nine balls remaining.

 

2009 – Barcelona beat Manchester United in the Champions League final

Barcelona became champions of Europe on this day 11 years ago, denying Manchester United a piece of history and securing their own place in the record books.

Holders United were looking to become the first team to win back-to-back Champions Leagues in the modern format but were dealt an early blow when Samuel Eto'o squeezed a 10th-minute shot past Edwin van der Sar.

A header from Lionel Messi – a goal he still considers the most important of his career – made it 2-0 in the second half as Barca won the treble for the first time in their history in Pep Guardiola's first season in charge.

2017 – Arsenal beat Chelsea in FA Cup final as Wenger wins the trophy for a seventh time

Arsene Wenger became the most successful manager in FA Cup history three years ago when he lifted the trophy for a seventh time.

Premier League champions Chelsea were favourites, but a fourth-minute goal from Alexis Sanchez set the tone for the final.

Victor Moses' red card 68 minutes in made life tougher for the Blues and, although Diego Costa grabbed an equaliser, Aaron Ramsey struck what proved to be the winner three minutes later.

Aside from Wenger's feat – his 10th major trophy as Gunners boss – it was a final fondly remembered by fans for the performance of Per Mertsesacker, who was outstanding at the heart of defence.

Martin Guptill has all the tools to be a prolific Test opener but it is on the One-Day International scene where he has truly made his mark, becoming only one of five batsmen to ever score a double hundred in the format back in 2015 on no lesser a stage than at the World Cup.

Guptill’s 237 not out is still the second-highest ever ODI score, the tally playing no small part in making him the leading runscorer at the 2015 tournament, beating all-time greats like Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakarra and South Africa’s AB de Villiers.

Guptill is the first New Zealand batsman to score 6,000 ODI runs and the 34-year-old is not far from becoming the first from his country to score 7,000.  

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Martin James Guptill

Born: September 30, 1986, Auckland

Major teams: New Zealand, Auckland, Barbados Tridents, Derbyshire, Guyana Amazon Warriors, Kings XI Punjab, Mumbai Indians, New Zealand Academy, New Zealand Under-19s, St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, Sunrisers Hyderabad

Playing role: Opening batsman

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm offbreak

 

ODI Career: New Zealand (2009-Present)

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs      HS       Ave       BF       SR      100s     50s     4s      6s     

183      180     19      6843      237*    42.50    7825    87.45     16       37      694    176     

 

Career Highlights

  • 2nd player to score 200 in a World Cup innings, 5th in ODIs
  • Most runs by an opener and remain unbeaten (237)
  • Only Kiwi to have crossed the 180 run mark three times in ODIs
  • Fastest fifty by a New Zealand batsman (17 balls)

Real Madrid have two reasons to remember May 24 fondly, while cricketer Nasser Hussain is also unlikely to ever forget the date.

Madrid have lifted the Champions League trophy twice on this day in sporting history, beating familiar opponents on both occasions.

As for Hussain, the former England batsman bowed out with a final innings that was perfectly scripted (well, except for his involvement in an untimely run out).

Take a look back at the major moments to occur through the years.

 

2000 - Madrid prevail in all-Spain final 

Madrid and Valencia made Champions League history in Paris, as two clubs from the same country met in the final of Europe's premier club competition for the first time.

Valencia had reached the showpiece at the expense of Barcelona, including thrashing their LaLiga rivals 4-1 in the first leg of the semi-final on their way to a 5-3 aggregate triumph (the same scoreline by which they had knocked out Lazio in the previous round).

However, Vicente del Bosque's Madrid ran out comfortable winners on French soil, Fernando Morientes, Steve McManaman and Raul with the goals in a resounding 3-0 triumph.

2000 - Pistons legend Thomas rewarded 

A two-time NBA champion and 12-time All-Star, Isiah Thomas was honoured for his achievements with a place in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

The point guard was selected by the Detroit Pistons with the second pick in the 1981 draft and went on to spend his entire playing career with the franchise, who retired his No.11 jersey.

Thomas played in 979 regular season games and was the focal point of the Detroit teams that won titles in 1989 and 1990, while the Pistons also had a heated rivalry with Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the early 1990s.

Bob McAdoo, a two-time champion himself who was a prolific scorer in a 21-year playing career, was also voted in alongside Thomas.

2004 - Hussain signs out in style

In what would prove to be his final innings, Hussain scored an unbeaten hundred to help England beat New Zealand at Lord's.

The Black Caps had left the hosts needing a tough target of 282 in the final innings of the series opener - and they had England wobbling early at 35-2 following the dismissals of Marcus Trescothick and Mark Butcher.

Debutant Andrew Strauss combined with Hussain to put on a century stand before the former was run out following a mix-up with his senior batting partner, denying the left-hander - playing on his home ground - the possibility of scoring a century in both innings, as he departed for 83.

Hussain, however, made amends for his role in Strauss' dismissal by going on to reach three figures in a seven-wicket triumph. Three days later, he announced his retirement, swiftly moving from the field of play to the commentary box to start a career in the media.

2014 - Madrid derby sees Real clinch 'La Decima'

A 10th European title finally arrived for Madrid, though not without a dramatic late intervention from Sergio Ramos. Having not won the Champions League since 2002, they appeared set to fall at the final hurdle when they trailed city rivals Atletico 1-0 going into added time in Lisbon.

Diego Godin's first-half header had the newly crowned LaLiga champions on the brink of glory, but Ramos popped up to meet a Luka Modric corner and nod in a last-gasp equaliser.

Carlo Ancelotti's side went on to dominate in extra time, goals from Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored from the penalty spot, sealing a 4-1 triumph.

To rub salt in the wounds for Atletico, boss Diego Simeone was sent off before the final whistle having ran onto the pitch to confront Raphael Varane following an incident in the aftermath to Ronaldo's goal.

The Rugby Championship could be played in a hub in Australia due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Rugby Australia (RA) interim chief executive Rob Clarke.

With travel restrictions in place around the world due to COVID-19, a new format could be needed if Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina are to play the annual tournament.

The possibility of all teams relocating to Australia, which has more than 7,100 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 102 deaths, is an option.

Clarke, named RA interim CEO earlier this month, said Australia could host every team later in the year.

"We can do it in the October-November timeframe," he told The Daily Telegraph.

"If we can fly international teams into a hub like Australia that sits in the middle of our territories, and put together a competition structure that might well be more towards a Rugby World Cup-type structure where there might be midweek games and weekend games, try to condense it as much as possible, we're looking at that as a potential solution.''

South Africa won the Rugby Championship last year, ending the All Blacks' run of three straight.

Ten of the leading international rugby union teams are exploring the possibility of a new aligned schedule.

South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina - the nations that make up SANZAAR - and the half a dozen countries that compete in the Six Nations are aiming to collaborate for the sport's benefit.

Several unions have been affected by the impact of coronavirus, with World Rugby having postponed all July Tests and setting aside a $100million relief fund in a bid to assist those struggling the most.

Now discussions are ongoing between SANZAAR and Six Nations boards over a new calendar designed to limit club-versus-country rows and create more lucrative games between the world's best teams.

A joint statement read: "Even though there may be different preferences, from the outset the nations have adopted a mindset that has sought to eliminate self-interest and recognise that the international and club game have shared mutual benefits that if approached and managed correctly can enable both to flourish."

It added: "The nations, together with other key stakeholders, remain open to shape the options that have been developed in an effort to resolve an issue that has held the game back for many years and are committed to putting rugby on a progressive path."

Last month World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont suggested a Nations Championship - similar to cricket's recently formed ICC Test Championship - could get off the ground after being met with initial resistance.

 

May 22 was a memorable day for fans of Inter and Jose Mourinho.

A decade ago, the Portuguese led the Nerazzurri to a treble by beating Bayern Munich in the 2010 Champions League final.

That was a fine achievement for Italian sport, though the country's rugby union team were certainly not celebrating after being thrashed by New Zealand in the opening game of the first ever Rugby World Cup in 1987.

Here we take a look at major events that happened on May 22 in previous years.

 

1987 - The Rugby World Cup arrives

Though the annual Home Nations (now the Six Nations, of course) has been staged in some form since the 1880s, it took over a century for the powers-that-be to form a truly global rugby union tournament.

In 1987, 16 nations headed for New Zealand and Australia for the first ever Rugby World Cup.

The opening game pitted the All Blacks against Italy, with the co-hosts storming to a 70-6 triumph.

In fairness to Italy, New Zealand breezed past most opponents that year, swatting aside Scotland, Wales and France in the knockout rounds en route to lifting the trophy in Auckland.

2003 - PGA Tour test for Sorenstam 

Annika Sorenstam became the first woman to play a PGA Tour event in 58 years in 2003.

Her participation in the Bank of America Colonial was met with strong disapproval from multiple major winner Vijay Singh, though spectators were certainly receptive to the Swede as she carded a one-over 71 in her first round.

Yet a second-round 74 meant Sorenstam missed the cut by four shots.

Speaking afterwards, an emotional Sorenstam said she would not play another PGA Tour event again.

 

2010 - Milito brace gives Mourinho and Inter another trophy

No Italian team had ever won a treble until 2009-10, as Mourinho's Inter won Serie A, the Coppa Italia and the Champions League.

The final trophy in the set was delivered in Madrid, where Diego Milito scored both goals in a 2-0 triumph over Bayern Munich.

Mourinho became the third manager, after Ernst Happel and Ottmar Hitzfeld, to win the European Cup/Champions League with two different teams, having earlier done so in his career with Porto.

He would soon be calling the Spanish capital home too, leaving Inter to take charge of Real Madrid shortly after the final.

All Blacks star and Crusaders captain Scott Barrett re-signed with New Zealand Rugby (NZR) and the Super Rugby side until 2023.

Barrett's recommitment to NZR runs through to the 2023 Rugby World Cup, it was announced on Tuesday.

The 26-year-old lock, who is one of three brothers in the All Blacks squad alongside Beauden and Jordie Barrett, has made 36 international appearances since debuting for New Zealand in 2016.

All Blacks head coach Ian Foster said: "This is massive news for New Zealand Rugby and the All Blacks.

"Scott has already made an outstanding contribution to the team since making his debut back in 2016 and we know the best is yet to come. It's really exciting for the future having him re-signed."

Barrett and the Crusaders are preparing for the start of next month's Super Rugby Aotearoa.

The Crusaders, Blues, Chiefs, Hurricanes and Highlanders will begin a season of their own, starting June 13, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

New Zealand's five Super Rugby teams will play each other home and away over 10 weeks, beginning with a clash between the Highlanders and Chiefs behind closed doors in Dunedin on June 13.

Grenada wicketkeeper Junior Murray was always going to have a tough time in the West Indies lineup.

This wasn’t because Murray wasn’t a talented player, but rather what he came to the lineup to do.

Peter Jeffrey Dujon had left the West Indies after 10 years wicketkeeping to the quickest and most fearsome bowlers the region and maybe the world had ever produced.

The svelt, stylish wicketkeeper was replaced by the diminutive David Williams of Trinidad and Tobago, but that relationship had only lasted 11 Test matches.

Williams size meant he wasn’t able to make the tremendous leaps it took to grab a hold of some of the edges from batsmen or even the odd errant delivery from some of West Indies’ quicks.

His stint with the gloves for the West Indies soon came to an end and it was the hope that Murray, who came into the side, would now be an adequate replacement for Dujon.

And maybe it wasn’t fair to place the big shadow that the skinny Dujon cast on Murray, and while he never quite replaced Dujon, he didn’t wilt under the pressure either.

Murray wasn’t a natural wicketkeeper and had started out as a batsman for the Windward Islands. Even after taking the gloves, he never looked the part. Some thought he was too tall, and others thought his hands weren’t soft enough to be a good gloveman. Still, others questioned his ability to bat at the highest level despite his background as a batsman.

Well, in the first innings of the second Test on a tour of New Zealand, Murray came to the party.

Choosing to bat, a careful Stewart Williams and Sherwin Campbell made their way to 85 before the former went for an unusually slow 26.

Brian Lara, batting at his preferred number three in the lineup at the time, joined Campbell and the two, led by the Trinidad and Tobago batsman, put on 49 before the latter went for a well-played 88.

Lara (147) would go on to share a partnership of 221 with Jimmy Adams (151). Keith Arthurton, batting at an increasingly familiar five in the West Indies lineup also got in on the run-scoring game, scoring a patient 70 in a partnership of 94 with Adams then one worth 72 with Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who would end up unbeaten on 61 when the West Indies declared the innings.

That declaration, 660-5, came earlier than expected, as everybody, except for Lara had to score quite slowly based on the nature of the pitch.

Lara though scored his 147 from just 181 deliveries, slamming 24 fours with a strike rate over more than 80.

Only Murray would do better. Thinking team first, the wicketkeeper threw caution to the wind, slamming 11 fours and two sixes, as well as some really aggressive running between the wickets with Chanderpaul.

So dominant was the wicketkeeper-batsman that he scored 101 from the 139-run partnership he shared with Chanderpaul, for his first and only Test century.

Murray showed he could bat. He did have the dangerous Danny Morrison to contend with, showing he had no problem dealing with pace.

This story could have easily been about Courtney Walsh though, as the eventual man-of-the-match bagged 7-37 in New Zealand’s first innings before returning to 6-18 in the second and a match haul of 13-55.

But Walsh had many an occasion in the sun for the West Indies and I wanted to point tp the exploits of a player from the Windward Islands, a region often overlooked unless it was to find a bowler.

Murray’s century, coming from just 88 deliveries gave the West Indies three days to get the New Zealand side out twice.

They did, Walsh’s heroics skittling them out for 216 and 122, ending the game inside four days. The West Indies would win the two-match series 1-0.

The century meant more than you would at first believe though. It meant Murray became only the second player from the Windward Islands to score a century for the West Indies after Irvine Shillingford did so in 1976 against Pakistan.

Former New Zealand full-back Ben Smith has denied speculation that he will rejoin the Highlanders.

Smith joined Top 14 side Pau after the Rugby World Cup in Japan last year, bringing an end to his illustrious All Blacks career.

There has been talk the 33-year-old could be on his way back to the Highlanders for the Super Rugby Aotearoa competition.

However, Smith says he will be no more than a spectator when his former club resumes action after the Super Rugby season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He posted on Instagram: "Super Rugby Aotearoa looks like a great concept

"I'm looking forward to supporting the Highlanders and watching them give it a crack. I'm not sure where the speculation has come from but I won't be playing in this year's competition.

"I'm looking forward to getting alongside my club side in Green Island and getting back to grassroots where it all started."

The Super Rugby Aotearoa, featuring the Highlanders, Blues, Chiefs, Hurricanes and Crusaders, starts on June 13.

World Rugby has taken the decision to postpone all international rugby matches scheduled for July because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Reigning Rugby World Cup holders South Africa had been due to face Scotland and Georgia, while England were set to tour Japan and New Zealand had been scheduled to host Wales and Scotland.

However, all of those matches, and Ireland's tour of Australia, have been postponed with no new dates set.

A statement from World Rugby read: "Extended travel and quarantine restrictions that apply to numerous countries, and concerns over adequate player preparation time, mean that any sort of cross-border international rugby competition cannot be hosted in July.

"Monitoring of the potential impact on the remaining 2020 international windows continues in collaboration with international rugby stakeholders and the respective authorities.  

"All parties, including member unions, international competitions, professional club competitions and International Rugby Players, will be involved in the evaluation of potential contingency options with a view to achieving an aligned calendar for the remainder of the year.

"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."

Rugby Australia's general manager Ben Whitaker had previously suggested that games could be rescheduled for October.

International rugby has been on hold since March when the Six Nations was halted with four matches still to play.

The financial impact of having no games has already severely impacted the unions in Australia and the USA, with World Rugby having set up a $100million relief fund.

 

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