England's Japan tour could be in October - RFU chief Bill Sweeney

RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney also said this year's postponed Six Nations could be rolled into the 2021 tournament. Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

England's summer tour of Japan could be postponed to October due to the coronavirus pandemic, Rugby Football Union (RFU) chief executive Bill Sweeney said on Friday.

England were to play Japan on July 4 in Oita and July 11 in Kobe, the first time they will face last year's Rugby World Cup hosts on their home soil.

"We could possibly go there in October," Sweeney told the BBC. "That's one option, because obviously they'd rather host, they make more money when they host, and we'd come back and play our autumns [internationals]."

Sweeney also floated the idea of another Six Nations tournament to make up for the lack of autumn internationals if they cannot host New Zealand, Australia, Argentina and Tonga in November due to travel restrictions.

"We'd want to do something to fill our gap so we're looking at a range of different contingencies," Sweeney added.

"An obvious one is: Do you stage a Six Nations in the autumn but link it into the Six Nations the next year, and you have a home and away series?"

England were top of this year's Six Nations standings when the tournament was suspended due to the outbreak. Four matches were called off and no dates have been set for completing it.