Warren Gatland says it is now or never for a global rugby calendar

Warren Gatland’s Chiefs will face the Highlanders when club rugby returns in New Zealand on Saturday

British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland says if a global rugby union calendar cannot be agreed now, it never will be.

A harmonised schedule of fixtures has been an ongoing issue in the sport and is set to be discussed at a World Rugby meeting on Monday.

Coronavirus has brought the global game to a halt, although matches will restart in New Zealand on Saturday.

“If we don’t do it now we’re never going to do it,” Gatland said.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast he added: “A lot of this has been talked about for a long time.

“If they can’t have a consensus when they’ve basically got a blank sheet of paper to start from, then there’s never going to be agreement.

“It’s not going to be perfect for everyone. People have got to compromise a bit.”

Gatland is set to coach the Lions for a third time when they face South Africa in a tour currently scheduled to start in July 2021.

Organisers are considering moving the tour, which now clashes with the postponed Tokyo Olympic Games, to later in the year.

“I think with the Lions it’s just being a little bit flexible,” Gatland said.

“If we’ve got to go back a month or so I think we can cope with that if it’s the best decision for World Rugby in terms of a global season.”

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