England confirm Wallabies clash in aid of Fiji
June 17, 2009
England will have a chance for revenge against the Wallabies this autumn © Getty Images
The RFU have announced changes to England's autumn Test schedule, with a game against Australia confirmed for November 7 in place of the previously confirmed Test against Fiji on November 28.
The changes have been green-lit by the IRB as one of several measures to bring financial aid to the ailing Fiji Rugby Union, who are suffering after losing their main sponsor, Flour Mills of Fiji, and recording a loss of F$770,000 (£230,000) last year.
A "significant portion" of the £7m surplus that will be generated by the Wallabies Test will be ploughed directly back in to Fijian rugby, safeguarding their other planned Tests against Ireland and Scotland and also allowing them to play a ranking Test against the USA in place of their visit to Twickenham. The Wallabies have also pitched in, confirming that they will play Fiji on June 5 next year, ahead of a two-Test tour by England.
The move comes weeks after England played Argentina at Old Trafford, with the extra cash generated from the Pumas 'home' game being pumped back in to their burgeoning domestic game.
"Moving around our autumn schedule is not ideal but to be able to offer Fiji substantive support we needed to find a multi-union approach," said RFU chief Francis Baron. "Playing a Test against Australia in replacement for the Fiji Test will allow us to generate additional revenue to provide meaningful financial support to the Fiji Rugby Union as part of the global package."
The change also means that Robbie Deans' Australia will be attempting a Grand Slam tour this November, in the wake of the All Blacks achieving the feat in 2008, playing Wales, Scotland and Six Nations Grand Slam champions Ireland in the weeks following their Twickenham date.
Guinness Premiership clubs have allowed for the Test window to be moved from November 14-28 to November 7-21 to accommodate the new fixtures but the RFU revealed that plans to stage a fourth autumn international, with revenue to be shared between the RFU and Premiership clubs, were now off the table.
Premier Rugby decided they would prefer to stick by the current arrangement of three autumn internationals for 2009.
England's new autumn Test schedule:
November 7 - England v Australia
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