As the year passes the change in seasons, gladly for rugby fans, it means Autumn International’s dates have been set, including Nations Cup and Women’s Test matches.
Knowing this, it brings the theatre of International rugby a step closer. All the while, Guinness PRO14 and the Premiership point towards their playoffs and grand final.
All good news isn’t it. Considering where fans had been to – the darkest depths, facing no active rugby for months before the ‘resumption of play’ over the last few weeks months. In New Zealand, Australia first, and now up and running with strength in Europe.
Great news, followed by positive developments for national teams from Fiji to Georgia.
Hello! We’re delighted to announce the Autumn Nations Cup! This brand new tournament will give fans 16 top class internationals to enjoy over four action packed weekends in November and December!
Fixtures 👇 pic.twitter.com/D7VHd630am
— Autumn Nations Cup (@autumnnations) September 10, 2020
Autumn Internationals dates set, including Nations Cup & Women’s Tests
The confirmation of the eight teams that will comprise the Nations Cup has been completed with Georgia the ‘final piece of the puzzle’. Now brought in to replace Japan, who had originally been in line for first-rate International competition until border restrictions due to the Coronavirus interrupted their participation. That will see Georgia now provided their opportunity.
The format for the Autumn Nations Cup will be two pools of four – Group A will include England, Ireland, Wales, and Georgia with Group B comprising France, Scotland, Italy, and Fiji.
This newly created tournament will replace the traditional Autumn International window for 2020, and ensures rugby fans all over the world will be treated to top-class international rugby from the Northern Hemisphere.
The tournament will see 16 matches played between November 13 and December 6
Ben Morel, CEO Six Nations Rugby commented, “We are absolutely delighted to formally announce details of the Nations Cup. A significant amount of time and effort has gone into delivering this new tournament format in testing circumstances and the spirit of collaboration amongst key stakeholders has been outstanding.
“While the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic made the traditional Autumn Test window unfeasible, we remained determined to deliver a unique and compelling tournament proposition which would ensure world-class rugby for our fans globally, and competitive matches for players, unions and federations.
“We cannot wait for the tournament to get underway in November and fans can look forward to some outstanding matches featuring some of the greatest players in the world. We are especially pleased to be joined by Fiji and Georgia and expect them both to be tremendous additions to the competition.”
Six Nations remains in close contact with all relevant authorities across the respective jurisdictions to ensure these matches take place in a safe environment. The most critical component for International rugby to go from strength-to-strength is a ‘safe working environment’. Whether that is in stadia that remains closed to fans or, as hoped by all, attended by a large number of fans.
By the time the schedule comes around, Last Word on Rugby hopes the environment is a safe one. Because like you, all we want to see is some great rugby for the Nations Cup 2020.
Another exciting outcome from this schedule announced for the Autumn International’s is the opportunity for Women’s Test rugby.
The #RedRoses will host France on 21 November as part of a double header at Twickenham 🌹
Find out more ⬇️
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) September 10, 2020
England Women lead the way with Test match schedule
In a media release from England Rugby, it proclaimed on November 21, England Men take on Ireland at Twickenham Stadium but prior to that game, England Women will play their second of two autumn internationals against France (KO 1200 GMT) making it a doubleheader. The Red Rose will be proudly displayed by the women first, followed by the men.
Speaking about the autumn fixtures at Twickenham Stadium, RFU CEO Bill Sweeney said: “While it has not been possible to go ahead with our four originally scheduled Quilter Internationals, we have worked hard with the Six Nations and other unions to make sure we can deliver an exciting updated schedule of Quilter Internationals given all the challenges Covid-19 has placed on international travel.
“We remain cautiously optimistic about the return of fans to the stadium for the Quilter Internationals and look forward to hearing from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport on the detail following yesterday’s government update. We will provide more information in due course.”
Nevertheless, women’s Test matches are returning. As the remaining Six Nations fixtures are completed, it provides opportunities for doubleheader fixtures. Something New Zealand and Australia has successfully adopted since 2016, and the trend appears to gladly be on the horizon for 2020.
“Main photo credit”
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