Tournament organisers have confirmed that plans for the men’s Six Nations remain as scheduled, but that the women’s and U20 competitions have been postponed until later this year due to Covid-19.
In a statement released on Wednesday, it was announced that the men’s Six Nations championship, due to kick off on 6 February, will go ahead as planned with matches to be played behind closed doors.
This news ends speculation that the competition could be moved to a later date in the hope that fans could potentially be allowed into stadiums if current pandemic restrictions are eased.
‘Following the successful completion of the 2020 Six Nations and Autumn Nations Cup, Six Nations Rugby is in constant dialogue with each of its governmental authorities and is further reinforcing its Covid-19 protocols,’ read the statement. ‘The Championship kicks off with round 1 fixtures on 6 February with Italy against France, followed by England against Scotland, and Wales taking on Ireland on 7 February.’
It was also confirmed that the women’s and U20 Championships will not take place in the regular Six Nations window of February and March this year. The competitions will instead be scheduled in revised windows later this season.
Six Nations Rugby will finalise the respective timings and formats for both tournaments in consultation with all unions, broadcast partners and stakeholders, with full details to be announced by the end of January.
Six Nations CEO Ben Morel said: ‘We are fiercely committed to the promotion and development of rugby at all levels, particularly the women’s game where we see such exciting opportunity for growth.
‘This is not a decision that we rushed into and we are confident that in looking at a new later window, we will be in a far stronger position to deliver two fantastic tournaments, delivering exciting rugby for fans, and ensuring the safest possible environment in which to stage them for our players.’
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