The decimation of world rugby by the coronavirus has given  administrators an "unbelievable opportunity" to come up with a solution to the fixture chaos that has dogged the sport for years, Conor O'Shea has said.

For years rugby has failed to make any meaningful progress in sorting out a crowded and complex calendar but the current hiatus appears to have given "stakeholders" worldwide new impetus for their discussions.

"We all know the faultlines in the game, we all know the issues we have, but it's forcing everyone to really come together and actually start looking how to best solve things," O'Shea, the RFU's recently-appointed England performance director, told a teleconference.

"Things will never be perfect, but we've got an unbelievable opportunity. All I'm seeing now is a real will to try to get this right once and for all and that excites me."

RFU CEO Bill Sweeney said that he is in almost daily dialogue on the issue in his role on the game's global calendar working group.

"It is a complex situation and a lot of people have got to come together," he said. "If we can get that over the line in whatever shape or form that comes, it will be a major achievement that this crisis has enabled us, or facilitated us, to get to."

Among the ideas under discussion is a shift of the Six Nations Championship, possibly a month or two later than its current February/March slot, and for Europe to adopt more of a summer rugby season.

Sweeney said he was still hopeful that England's four scheduled November tests against New Zealand, Tonga, Australia and Argentina would go ahead, but that it was too early to predict whether that would be in an empty stadium or with a controlled number of fans.

Should travel restrictions make those fixtures unfeasible the option of an "extra" Six Nations instead is also under discussion.

"You would play a Six Nations tournament in that autumn window and combine it with the fixtures from next year and, for the first time ever you'd have a home-and-away tournament," he said.

There are still four postponed games from the 2020 Six Nations to be played, while the domestic club game and European competition are also vying for space in a sport likely to be among the last to return to action due to its levels of contact.

"One of the learnings we gained fairly early on is that this is not a 12-month bump in the road and a return to normality very quickly," Sweeney said of the overall impact of the virus on rugby and the RFU.

"I think the consequences will be with us for some considerable time and, depending on which scenario you pick, it is either three, four, five years or maybe slightly more."