Wales’ summer Test match against Tonga could be staged in Auckland after rugby chiefs decided to move it to another country.
The decision was taken amid concerns by the Welsh Rugby Union over the Teufaiva Sport Stadium in Nuku’alofa which is being redeveloped.
The match is now likely to take place in New Zealand on June 17th, the day before the British & Irish Lions face New Zealand Maori in Rotorua.
Wales’ game in Samoa will go ahead as scheduled in Apia on June 24th.
Apart from concerns over the readiness of the stadium and fears about a lack of medical cover if a player was seriously injured.
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 Tongan Rugby Union (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.”
The WRU – which last toured the South Pacific islands 20 years ago – had delayed confirming the game to see if it could go ahead in Tonga.
WRU chairman Gareth Davies said: ”The TRU should be commended for their efforts in relation to the redevelopment of their national stadium but unfortunately time has proved to be against us all and, although difficult, it is the right decision to move the game.”