World Rugby have postponed July Test matches involving northern and southern hemisphere nations, meaning England won’t be touring Japan.
The call by the governing body seemed inevitable given ongoing restrictions on air travel due to the global health crisis.
The Rugby Paper reported last Sunday the All Blacks would be cancelling their plans for the autumn, with July Tests now officially written off.
Wales and Scotland had been set to face New Zealand in matches at Eden Park, Wellington and Dunedin, while England were set preparing to face Japan in two Tests.
“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,” World Rugby said.
The RFU has signalled its intention to travel to Japan at a future date and not cancel the tour altogether.
“While we are of course disappointed to have our two Test matches against Japan postponed, it’s the correct decision under the current circumstances,” said England head coach Eddie Jones.
“I hope all Japanese and English rugby fans are keeping safe and well and we look forward to being back on a rugby pitch and back in Japan in the future.”
RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney suggested in an address last month that England could rearrange the tour of Japan for late October, to precede their autumn internationals.