Dates for the postponed Six Nations women’s and U20s championships have been confirmed, a condensed women’s championship taking place in April with the U20s set to take centre stage in June and July.
A statement from the tournament organisers read: “Starting on the weekend of April 3/4 and finishing on April 24, this year’s women’s championship will see a new and condensed format similar to that of the recent Autumn Nations Cup, culminating in a grand final weekend to crown the Six Nations champions.
“The format will comprise two pools of three teams with each team playing one home and one away fixture. Once the pool round matches are complete, teams will face off against the opposing ranked team from the other pool in the play-offs matches (1st place Pool A vs 1st place Pool B etc).
“Six Nations also confirmed its intention for the U20s championship to take place across June and July in the same format as originally planned, but through a condensed three-week period.
“This plan will ensure all Six Nations provide the appropriate experience of such tournaments for the 2021 U20 generation. The tournament is expected to start on June 19. Further planning work is required to finalise details on fixtures, venues and kick-off times which will be shared in due course.”
A new time of year and a new Championship format… ?
— Women's Six Nations (@Womens6Nations) February 3, 2021
Ben Morel, Six Nations CEO, said: “We are delighted to make this announcement and confirm new plans for our women’s and U20s championships. The promotion and development of rugby at all levels is a key strategic priority for Six Nations.
“We see huge opportunity for growth in the women’s game in particular and feel it will benefit hugely from having its own specific window and being firmly placed in the limelight. Our priority has always been to deliver two outstanding tournaments but equally ensuring both competitions can be played safely, taking every consideration for player welfare.
“A significant challenge we faced in rescheduling the women’s tournament was the limited available window due to World Cup qualifiers, domestic leagues, rest periods and World Cup preparations for qualified teams. Following consultation with our unions and federations as well as other key stakeholders, it was agreed that April would be the best window in which to stage the championship.
“The U20 Six Nations championship is also a hugely important competition in terms of player development and for those representing their country at this level, it is a major milestone in any career. We look forward to announcing fixture details for the U20s in due course.”
2021 Women’s Six Nations
Pool A: England, Italy, Scotland
Pool B: France, Ireland, Wales
'Investment in women’s rugby is no longer a profitless gesture, but is proving a smart move'@ExeterChiefs financial commitment to developing their women's team has reaped rapid rewards – writes @_JessHayden ???https://t.co/VAer8nI2Sa
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 1, 2021
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