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Rugby will have clean slate after this: RFU chief

 

The shape of international rugby union could be dramatically altered by the coronavirus crisis, with RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney expecting the sport to emerge with "a blank sheet of paper".

England have extended the contract of head coach Eddie Jones until the end of the 2023 World Cup, a two-year increase on his existing deal, but on almost every other issue there is a profound uncertainty.

The finances of grassroots, professional and even international teams are likely to be stretched to breaking point by the lengthy pause caused by the pandemic and Sweeney admitted the situation might be showing up some harsh realities about the basic infrastructure of the game.

And when things return to a form of normality, there is a chance of considerable changes.

"What's come out of this is an agreement between all the unions, north and south (hemisphere), and World Rugby to really start with a blank sheet of paper," said Sweeney.

"When you have a crisis of this nature and scale - and I don't think anybody could have predicted anything of this magnitude - it does highlight where you have fault lines and it does highlight where you can have some weaknesses. Some of those are being exposed now.

"There's a whole list of things that we need to be looking at and working more closely together so that we can all realise the benefit. Those conversations have already kicked off."

Belfast Telegraph