A new global calendar will see the annual June Test window moved to July from 2020, so that Super Rugby can be played without interruption.
SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux said the agreed changes would ‘bring continuity’ to the South African season.
Beyond an uninterrupted Super Rugby season, the new calendar introduces a number of significant other changes – including the integration of non-Rugby Championship and non-Six Nations teams into the calendar on merit – and has been agreed for the period from 2020 to 2032.
The November Test window has also been brought forward by a week to extend the rest period for southern hemisphere players, while World Cups will now be cemented within the calendar to kick off one week earlier in the second week in September.
‘The agreement to move the June international window back to the first three weeks of July brings continuity and coherence to our domestic calendar,’ said Roux. ‘The switch between Super Rugby and the incoming series, and then back to Super Rugby, damaged both events. The change will be welcomed by all in the southern hemisphere.
‘It will allow us to complete Super Rugby before engaging in a Test season that will run seamlessly from the incoming series to the Rugby Championship without interruption.
‘It will also allow touring teams to better prepare between the end of their domestic seasons and the start of southern hemisphere tours.’
Roux said the change to Super Rugby would be effective from 2019 – as June tours are not undertaken in World Cup years – even though the new calendar will only come into operation in 2020.
The Springbok Test schedule in the new calendar will be announced in due course.
World Rugby also released details of the post-2019 global calendar, which it says will increase matches between tier-one and tier-two nations by 39%, while it also includes provision for tier-one tours to the Pacific Islands, Japan, Canada, USA, Georgia and Romania.
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