This year’s U20 World Championship is set to be cancelled by World Rugby, according to reports.
French website Rugbyrama are saying the tournament, due to be hosted in Italy, will be scrapped as the country grapples with the spread and lethality of Covid-19.
Title holders France beat South Africa and Australia en route to the trophy last summer in Argentina.
But they will not get the chance to claim a third consecutive title in Italy, with French Rugby boss Bernard Laporte telling reporters earlier this week the tournament ‘will be cancelled’.
Scheduled to be held from June 28 to July 18, the feasibility of the tournament has been diminishing day by day as the public health crisis in Italy worsens.
Deaths in Italy related to the coronavirus outbreak grew to a single-day record of 475 on Wednesday, leaving the country on course to be worse-hit than China where the pandemic originated.
Taking root in the north of Italy on the doorstep of host cities Calvisano, Verona and Viadana, cases in the country have exceeded 35,700.
The tournament is now set to be removed from rugby’s calendar. It is understood World Rugby executives have been in communication this week over cancelling the 12-team tournament and revising its competitions.
The World Sevens Series events in Hong Kong and Singapore have already been postponed by World Rugby.
Tickets remain on sale for the London Sevens at Twickenham, set to be held on May 23-24 and the penultimate leg before the circuit’s finale in Paris a week later.
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