Wales are set to tour Australia in 2024 in what could be the last of the traditional northern hemisphere visits Down Under.
The Times reports the Welsh will arrive for at least two Tests with an optional third against Australia, or an emerging nation from the region.
With no tours planned for next year due to the World Cup in September, England’s next tour will also be in 2024 – to face the All Blacks in New Zealand, a huge mission for new coach Steve Borthwick.
Ireland will visit South Africa, Scotland are set to play in the Pacific Islands, France will head to Argentina and Italy will go to the USA and Canada.
The following season is the British and Irish Lions visit to Australia, and post that there are plans – yet to be locked in – for a Nations Championship that will likely see the end of the traditional three Test tours in the Australian winter.
If the Nations Championship is instigated it is likely that teams will play multiple nations across July and November in a league format, rather than a touring one.
The Times reported that the 2024 tours might only be two Tests rather than three given they follow a World Cup year – to lessen the load on players. They report there is option to plan an extra Test “against an emerging nation”.
Wales last toured Australia in 20212 as the defending Six Nations champions. The Wallabies, who were holders of the 2011 Tri-Nations title won all three Tests, extending Wales’ run of defeats on Austrlaian soil to 43 years.
England have not played in New Zealand since 2014, when Stuart Lancaster was the head coach and they lost the series 3-0. They have only played the All Blacks three times in the past eight years.
England also lost both Tests on a NZ tour in 2008 but tasted success in a one-off Test in 2003 before the World Cup win.
Folau on fire
Former Wallabies fullback Israel Folau has scored a quick-fire hat-trick of tries in the second round of Japanese club rugby.
In his second season in Japan, 73-Test veteran Folau bagged his three tries in the space of 11 minutes before being substituted midway through the second half.
His Urasayu D-Rocks team continued their unbeaten season start in second division with a 68-17 thrashing of Shimizu Kotu Blue Sharks.
A successor to Folau as Wallabies fullback, Tom Banks scored his first try in Japanese club rugby as his MIE Honda demolished Kamaishi Seawaves 75-15 in another second division match.
In the top division, ex-Wallabies coach Robbie Deans’s Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights were hard pressed but extended one of the most remarkable streaks in professional rugby.
A 79th minute converted try enabled them to beat Shizuoka Blue Revs 15-14, notching their 34th straight win in a streak dating back to the 2019 playoffs.
Two missed conversions in the last five minutes by Wallabies five eighth Bernard Foley proved costly as his Kubota Spears Tokyo drew 27-27 with Yokohama Canon Eagles.
Although he succeeded with four penalty goal attempts, Foley was unable to convert any of Kubota’s three tries.