2020 Six Nations to conclude in October

The 2020 Six Nations campaigns will conclude on the weekends of October 24 and 31, World Rugby has announced, with a programme of autumn internationals also approved by the governing body.

The temporary global window will accommodate the completion of the 2020 men’s and women’s Six Nations Championships on 24 and 31 October, a rest weekend on 7 November and four consecutive rounds of international matches.

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International rugby was halted by the coronavirus pandemic in March, leaving four Six Nations matches left to play.

Ireland have outstanding Six Nations matches against Italy and France to complete, while the Italians must also host England, and Wales are scheduled to face Scotland.

The usual autumn internationals are set to be replaced by a festival of rugby, which will see Fiji and Japan competing against the Six Nations teams.

England are expected to be in a four-team pool alongside Wales, Ireland and Fiji, while Scotland, France, Italy and Japan would make up the other group.

After playing each other once, the teams would play-off against the corresponding-ranked side in the other pool. The group winners will meet in a final at Twickenham.

World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “The global COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented in its impact on society and sport and, throughout this process, all parties have sought to deliver the best-possible outcome to support the interests of international and club rugby and the players.

“Agreement and approval of this schedule is exciting for players and fans and an important step in supporting our unions in mitigating financial impact and optimising the sport’s return from the pandemic in an equitable way.

“These matches will be greatly anticipated by all, and I would like to thank unions, the international and club competitions and players for their input and the fans for their patience as we have sought to get international rugby back up and running.”

New Zealand to host Rugby Championship

World Rugby also confirmed The Rugby Championship 2020, which features New Zealand, Argentina, Australia and South Africa, will take place over a reduced six-week period between 7 November and the second week in December.

With COVID-19 restrictions continuing to impact transcontinental travel and entry requirements, SANZAAR have asked New Zealand to host the tournament.

World Rugby added that “special measures will need to be implemented to deal with any government-required isolation period prior to the start of the competition”.

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