The European qualification tournament for the women’s World Cup next year has been indefinitely postponed due to coronavirus travel restrictions, World Rugby announced on Tuesday.
The event was due to be contested by Ireland, Italy, Scotland and the winner of the postponed Rugby Europe Women’s Championship next month, with the victors qualifying for the World Cup to be held in New Zealand.
“With the COVID-19 situation in Europe presenting continued travel and quarantine challenges for some teams, the decision was made to postpone and identify an optimal opportunity for the tournament to be rescheduled in early 2021,” World Rugby said in a statement.
“World Rugby and Rugby Europe continue to consult with unions and Six Nations Rugby regarding a window that provides a fair opportunity to deliver the Europe qualifier.”
The sport’s global body said that it would make an announcement regarding the rescheduling of the tournament in due course.
Meanwhile, Six Nations organisers said they had cancelled the remaining three matches of the 2020 women’s competition.
The affected matches are Italy vs. Scotland, Wales vs. Scotland and France vs. Ireland but the table for the 2020 edition remains unchanged with England already crowned champions.
Six Nations CEO Ben Morel said his organisation explored every possible option before deciding to cancel.
“It is especially disappointing that these cancellations come at a time when there is such positive momentum around the women’s game and for the Women’s Six Nations in particular,” Morel said in a statement.
Champions England sealed the Grand Slam for a second year running after they trounced Italy 54-0 in Parma on Nov. 1 in their final match.