Americas Rugby Championship scrapped over COVID-19 issues

Washington (AFP) –


The Americas Rugby Championship, a six-nation event featuring the top teams from North and South America, will not be staged as planned due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Canada, the United States, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil and a second-tier Argentina squad compete in the Six Nations-styled event, which had been scheduled for August and September.

Rugby Americas chief executive officer Dan Payne said the fifth Americas event, twice won by US men and twice by Argentina, could not be conducted due to the deadly virus.

"We've been monitoring the status of each country closely and it has become very obvious this is in the best interest of players, staff and overall public welfare," Payne said.

Payne didn't give up hope of having some sort of event before the end of the year, but it wouldn't follow the usual format.

"We want to leave the door open, regardless how small, for the possibility of some regional competition later in Q4 instead of canceling altogether," Payne said.

Payne said World Rugby and other stakeholders "have been evaluating a very fluid and evolving global environment while continuing to explore all solutions for the region."

Argentina, Canada, the United States and Uruguay all qualified for last year's Rugby World Cup in Japan.

"Each member country is at a different stage of the fight against COVID-19," Payne said. "There's a shared common goal of safely and efficiently getting back onto the field when it's safe for players, staff and fans.

"It's imperative unions are able to establish their domestic competitions before we can explore the possibility of international fixtures later this year."