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Here are the latest rugby stories on the morning of Monday, March 23.

Wales v New Zealand talks

Wales and the All Blacks held talks on Sunday night as this year’s summer matches remain on the schedule for now.

WRU CEO Martyn Phillips and New Zealand counterpart Mark Robinson spoke on the phone about the two July Tests, with both declining to call them off at this stage amid the coronavirus outbreak that has shut down global sport.

“The matches are still planned for. We’re in a situation where Martyn Phillips has said they’ll take guidance from New Zealand Rugby and the New Zealand Government,” Robinson said.

“We’ll have to work through in the next little while, when we’ll ultimately have to make that call.

“At this stage, the dialogue remains open and those fixtures are still on the schedule.”

Wales are due to play Japan on June 27 before back-to-back Tests against the All Blacks on July 4 and July 11.

New competitions scrapped

Plans for new domestic competitions in Australia and New Zealand to start imminently behind closed doors have been cancelled after the respective governments brought in stringent new measures to tackle the coronavirus.

The Aussies and Kiwis had hoped to begin domestic round robin tournaments within a matter of weeks after the suspension of Super Rugby.

New Zealand has now been placed into lockdown, with all rugby and training suspended for the foreseeable future. The Australian competition won’t start until at least May 1, but even that seems unlikely.

Greenwood tragedy

Former England rugby star Will Greenwood has revealed his aunt has died after contracting coronavirus.

The 2003 Rugby World Cup winner shared the devastating news his aunt Jean, who was a keen follower of his career, passed away on Saturday in her 80s.

His heartbreaking post on his Instagram account featured a picture of ‘Aunty Jean’ after 55-times capped centre Greenwood had revealed earlier on a podcast she had contracted Covid-19.

Writing on Instagram, he told his followers who had been asking about her that she had sadly died.

“Many of you have been so kindly asking me about my Aunty Jean,” he said.

“I had mentioned in a newspaper and on my podcast that she was poorly with Covid-19. Aunty Jean passed away [Saturday] morning.

“Eldest of three sisters. Aunty Jean was in her 80s but had so much living to do. Aunty Jean never ever ever did anything but bring sunshine into my life.”

Scotland international’s coronavirus battle

Former Scotland international Rory Lawson has warned young people over the dangers of coronavirus after being ‘floored’ by the illness.

Lawson has battled COVID-19 in quarantine for a week, suffering “sweats, shivers, body aches, cough and a sore throat”. He was also left “short of breath, physically drained” and unable to smell of taste anything.

The 39-year-old ex-scrum-half urged people to follow social distancing guidelines, saying: “This virus is like nothing I’ve had before.

“It doesn’t care if you’re young or old, fit or not. Yes, it preys on the vulnerable but it can attack anyone and it floors plenty.”

Lawson called on the public to do their bit to help Britain’s National Health Service “heroes”.

He said he was “one of the ‘low risk’ people”, but “wouldn’t wish Coronavirus on anyone”.

English rugby row

A huge English rugby row has erupted between the top two clubs outside of the Gallagher Premiership.

Newcastle Falcons issued a strongly worded statement following comments from rivals Ealing Trailfinders boss Ben Ward over the possibility of a legal challenge if the Falcons are promoted without the season playing out.

The RFU have called off the remainder of the Championship season, with Newcastle sitting 18 points clear of rivals Ealing in second.

But, in a Sunday newspaper article, Ealing have laid out the possibility of launching a legal challenge if they are denied the chance to win promotion.

Newcastle Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards said: “At a time of national crisis we should be focusing all our attention on helping the most vulnerable, both within our own organisations and in wider society, rather than instructing legal representation.

“The RFU have publicly committed to a review to decide the outcome of the league, and we had intended keeping a respectful silence to avoid any suggestion of influencing this process.

“However, with Ealing actively choosing to use the front page of a national publication to dangle the possible threat of legal action against this review, we no longer feel able to keep quiet.”

Richards added: “Difficult decisions have to be made in these unprecedented times, when people’s lives and livelihoods are being lost. If Ealing’s primary concern is whether they can bridge the 18-point gap between our two teams to gain promotion, then that reflects very poorly on them considering everything else going on in the world right now.”

This content was originally published here.