Wales’ scheduled Test match against Tonga in Nuku’alofa on June 17 will be relocated, World Rugby has confirmed.
International rugby’s governing body has stripped the Tongan capital of the one-off Test due to the delay of ground works in the redevelopment of the national stadium, with officials ruling the pitch may not be fit for purpose in time.
Taulupe Faletau to start for Bath against Harlequins in a bid to prove his fitness for Wales’ next Six Nations challenge against Scotland at Murrayfield.
Coach Warren Gatland says the Lions is an incredibly special brand that needs to be protected, while the potential for it to grow rather than be cut is ‘enormous’.
In a statement, World Rugby said it was agreed by both the Tongan Rugby Union and the Welsh Rugby Union that it would be prudent to move forward with alternative venue arrangements to ensure that the Test match could still take place in June at an appropriate facility.
World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “World Rugby shares in Tonga’s disappointment that this match will be moved given the huge effort made by the TRU to date but the decision was jointly agreed by the WRU and World Rugby with the objective of ensuring that the fixture can go ahead albeit in a different location.
“We are working with our friends at the Tonga Rugby Union to deliver a match venue befitting of such an occasion and we remain committed to supporting the union with future Test match hosting opportunities.”
Discussions are now taking place with alternative venues to host the match on the same weekend with Auckland, New Zealand the likeliest option.
Wales will play Samoa in Apia on June 24.
Source Article from http://www.espn.co.uk/rugby/story/_/id/18703696/wales-test-tonga-relocated-delay-ground-works
Tonga vs. Wales relocated by World Rugby
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