The Six Nations and the Tri Nations are being played simultaneously for the first time ever, due to the adaptation to scheduling which rugby has made for Covid-19.
Less a coincidence than a rare event that is unlikely to reoccur. With the 2021 Six Nations scheduled for its more regular window of February and March next year, and the Southern hemisphere nations hoping to play their tournament in August and September [like normal] and yet, very little is normal about this year.
Of interest to some will be comparisons in match results, scorelines, and in playing styles. A discussion that happens annually but for the first time, matches on the same day will be reported on in the nightly news.
And after the absence of International rugby, fans should celebrate while a flood of activity gives more than 24 hours worth of rugby action from Sydney to Llanelli, Rome, and Paris this weekend.
First time ever; Six Nations and Tri Nations being played simultaneously
In its traditional window, the Six Nations is a winter staple. Attending fans have ample time to enjoy mulled wine, cheese, crackers, and more, before filling out stadiums like Twickenham and Murrayfield. Not possible to complete the 2020 championship when the Coronavirus put a halt to the remaining fixtures in March, the whole thing was ‘put on Ice’. Yet while it appeared that the result might have to be called void, gladly conditions improved.
When saying ‘improved’ that is still not entirely perfect for attending these last few Six Nations clashes. As the final round games are played, it will be without spectators. Closed stadiums and secure traveling bubbles are the new normal for International team sport. Sides like Scotland, England, and Ireland will fly in, and fly out to complete the program at the same time as games are played downunder.
This time next week it will all be done and dusted.
— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) October 25, 2020
If that doesn’t bring a smile, making it all that more exhilarating for rugby fans is the close nature of the competition. Ireland holds a slender advantage, with England and France only one point behind. All making for high interest, before the anticipated Autumn Nations Cup follows-up immediately afterward.
An incredible sequence of events has brought these two competitions so close to one another. The Six Nations has little competition in February but now. there will be the Tri Nations, followed by the Nations Cup – all to the benefit of the key stakeholders; observers, administrators, sponsors, and players.
Simultaneously, Australia is hosting a slimmed-down version of The Rugby Championship. Now just a Tri Nations affair though, with South Africa holding reservations about player welfare that saw them withdraw, so only three of four nations will play from October 31. A shame but, still offering the unique situation of four International clashes this weekend, for the first time ever.
Tri Nations played in November will compliment Autumn Nations Cup
Usually, in November, the Los Pumas, All Blacks, and Wallabies head north. But in a forced move due to the inability to safely travel up to the Northern hemisphere [that is still facing a second wave of Covid infections], the SANZAAR countries have adapted to a more incubated form of competition.
Similar to many other leading sports where every effort is made to limit outside contact, the three teams will compete in a six-game series to decide the 2020 title. It will include the opening two games to decide the Bledisloe Cup series, before New Zealand take on Argentina, Australia then play the Pumas before the All Blacks face the Pumas for a final time.
TRI NATIONS IS COMING!
Six Tri Nations blockbusters on back-to-back weekends from 31 Oct to 5 Dec with matches across the kingdoms of Sydney, Brisbane & Newcastle.
Presales starts today – sign up at https://t.co/7JpLrTT2ZU
General Public tickets Thurs 22 Oct 12pm AEDT/1pm AEST pic.twitter.com/JTgm7s4b6X
— Super Rugby/Tri Nations (@SuperRugby) October 20, 2020
That completes the All Blacks duties, and differently to other countries, on their return to New Zealand they’ll all have to complete 14-days of managed isolation. This policy of the NZ Government was the reason that they are not hosting the competition in the first place. Australia’s experience with managing sports teams will ultimately be tested. Then, the host nation’s final game against Argentina takes place on Saturday, December 5, to decide the title holder.
Coinciding with the last round of the Autumn Nations Cup, it means fans can therefore enjoy over a month or more of games where many of the leading Tier One nations are playing at the same time ……….. if somebody told you that in April, few would have imagined the possibilities.
So celebrate rugby fans. The best teams will all now be playing rugby in November, and that will bring the affected competitions to the forefront, and everyone will be enjoying the code.
They have each adapted well to strange times. Working to be both safe for players but, to maximize whatever opportunities were available. And as each weekend approaches soon, it reminds you of the fact ‘we are playing rugby’. And that itself should bring a smile to every fan’s face.
“Main photo credit”
Embed from Getty Images