World Rugby to provide relief fund for cash-strapped nations

Cash-strapped Rugby Australia is set to benefit from a World Rugby relief fund.

World Rugby on Thursday announced a relief fund of $US100 million ($A158 million) as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreck havoc on sporting events and organisations.

The fund, comprising advances and loans, will be available for Six Nations and SANZAAR unions requiring immediate emergency funding, subject to criteria being met.

The package could be worth around $15 million to RA, who have already made extensive cuts to their administration and may finalise an interim pay deal with the Rugby Union Players' Association as soon as Friday.

RA, which is understood to be seeking a 65 per cent pay cut for players over a six-month period, could lose up to $120 million in revenue if the professional game can't resume in Australia this year because of COVID-19.

"Global sport is facing a crisis never seen before and we are taking unprecedented action as a sport united to support global rugby, its unions, competitions and players," said World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont.

"The measures announced today will provide support and short-term relief, while we are making excellent progress towards calendar options that reflect and address a dynamic, complex and uncertain environment."

World Rugby initially flagged a revised Test program in their press release, saying that if the July fixtures in the southern hemisphere were postponed, which seems likely, they would be moved to October.

But it remains unclear whether this is still the intention.

Australia had three home Tests on the slate for July, two against Ireland and one with Fiji.