Fears recede that Premiership player release row could ruin potential Six Nations restart
The coronavirus-affected Guinness Six Nations may be seven months away from any potential rearranged conclusion, but it’s believed the four postponed games can go ahead in late October minus any non-England player release arguments with the English Premiership clubs.
October 31 is viewed as a potential date to run the three-match Super Saturday featuring Italy vs England, Wales vs Scotland and France vs Ireland, with Ireland vs Italy possibly taking place the weekend before.
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But there were fears that non-England players who play in the Premiership would not be released to Wales, Scotland and Italy as these fixtures would fall outside the official Test window.
Premiership clubs have been in the habit of not letting their players go to other countries, with Northampton Saints even fined in 2013 for allowing George North play for Wales in a Test match that took place outside the window.
However, with the coronavirus having shut down all rugby, there has apparently been a shift in attitude and the Guardian newspaper are now claiming that Premiership clubs would allow its players to feature for Wales, Scotland and Italy in these Six Nations back matches.
How a non-release of players would have affected these teams was laid bare by the teams selected for last weekend’s eventually postponed Wales vs Scotland clash in Cardiff.
Wayne Pivac had selected six Welsh players who are earning their crust across the Severn in England while Gregor Townsend had included four players who are on the books at Premiership clubs.
Throw into the equation how Italy would likely require Wasps’ Matteo Minozzi and Gloucester Jake Polledri and it is clear how any row of player release next October would weaken England’s three of England’s championship rivals.
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