New '˜global calendar' sees Scotland tour New Zealand again

Scotland are set for a return to major summer series against the southern hemisphere giants, including a return to New Zealand for the first time since 2000, when the new World Rugby calendar is rolled out in 2020.

All Black Jonah Lomu plants his hand in the face of Scotland's Cameron Murray during the Second Test at Eden Park, Auckland in July 2000. Picture: Getty
All Black Jonah Lomu plants his hand in the face of Scotland's Cameron Murray during the Second Test at Eden Park, Auckland in July 2000. Picture: Getty

The game’s governing body has announced a post-2019 World Cup global calendar which will include a July Test match window, moving the traditional summer series back a month from June.

Between 2020 and 2030, Scotland will play three-match series in Australia, Argentina and South Africa,
plus a two-match series against the All Blacks. In World Cup and Lions years the Scots will embark on tours of tier two nations, including trips to Georgia/Romania, Japan and the Pacific islands, with the years to be announced in due course.

It marks a return to the top table of summer touring for Scotland and the SRU said: “Scotland, through [chief executive] Mark Dodson and [World Rugby council member] John Jeffrey, have played a significant role in ensuring the new global calendar meets Scottish Rugby’s objectives and works in the best interests of the game globally.

“A full return to the summer tour schedule has been achieved through the negotiations, as part of the new 10-year calendar agreement.

“Positive discussions also ensured the autumn Test series opposition remains unchanged, enabling fans to see Scotland take on New Zealand, Australia, Argentina and South Africa on multiple occasions in the coming years at BT Murrayfield.”

World Rugby said the new July Tests window would “enable the Super Rugby season to run uninterrupted and enhance preparation for July tests for all unions”.

There will also be a 39 per cent increase in fixtures between tier one and tier two nations, with tier one countries touring the Pacific Islands, Japan, Canada, United States, Georgia and Romania. The July window will be followed by the current November window comprising the first three weeks of that month.

Emerging rugby nations such as Georgia will be integrated into the July and November Test programmes, with Six Nations unions collectively hosting six tier two matches during each November window.

World Rugby added: “[The schedule] sets new standards by prioritising rest periods, promoting equity for the sport’s emerging powers and harmonising the relationship between the international and domestic games.”

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont added: “Agreement on an optimised global calendar that provides certainty and sustainability over the decade beyond Rugby World Cup 2019 represents an historic milestone for the global game.”

World Rugby added that with agreement now reached on the season framework, 
discussions will continue among relevant unions regarding the duration of the RBS 6 Nations and British and Irish Lions tours.

l Neil Jenkins and Graham Rowntree have been added to Warren Gatland’s British and Irish Lions coaching team for this summer’s tour of New Zealand. Both were on the Lions’ coaching team in 2009 in South Africa and for the victorious tour of Australia four years ago nd have been added to the trio of Steve Borthwick, Andy Farrell and Rob Howley who were named in December.

Former Wales stand-off/full-back Jenkins toured as a Lions player in 1997, while ex-England loosehead Rowntree toured in 1997 and 2005.