Six Nations officials have finally stuck their head above the parapet amid the Covid-19 crisis, reprimanding sections of the media for what they describe as inaccurate speculation relating to the potential staging of a ‘Four Nations’ competition in November that would exclude France and Italy.
With rugby around the globe currently at a standstill and the July Test programme now postponed following the outbreak of the virus that prevented the conclusion of the 2020 Guinness Six Nations in March, the sport has been awash with rumours as to how rugby could play out at international level next October and November.
There is even speculation that the Six Nations are now seemingly amenable to talks about in future delaying the traditional February start of their annual tournament to facilitate the formulation of a global calendar in conjunction with the southern hemisphere’s Rugby Championship.
One of the rumours regarding 2020 has been the idea of staging a mini Six Nations along the lines of the old Four Nations that was played before France and latterly Italy were allowed to participate.
This notion came about amid fears that travel restrictions could still be in place next November, preventing the usual tours to Europe of the likes of the All Blacks.
However, this idea of the home nations excluding their European colleagues has forced the Six Nations to react, dismissing the idea that a Four Nations is on the agenda for later this year.
In a statement, Six Nations said: “Six Nations, together with its constituent unions and federations, is fully committed to completing the 2020 Guinness Six Nations Championship and hopes to stage postponed matches later this year.
“In exploring rescheduling options, the health and safety of players, associated staff and of course supporters is our number one priority and any rescheduled matches will be subject to government guidance and to travel restrictions between countries.
“Six Nations remains in close contact with all relevant authorities to ensure these matches can take place in a safe environment.
“Six Nations and its constituent unions and federations continue to work closely with World Rugby, the southern hemisphere unions and all other rugby stakeholders on contingency plans regarding autumn Internationals and the recently impacted summer tours.
“The current situation is fluid and fast-changing with countries at different stages in battling this pandemic. We anticipate it will take a few more weeks before the situation becomes clearer and we can present more definitive options in which to resume activity.”
Four matches from the 2020 tournament are still to be played, the round four meeting of Ireland versus Italy in Dublin along with the entire round five schedule of Wales vs Scotland in Cardiff, Italy vs England in Rome and France vs Ireland in Paris.
England currently top the table on points difference from France who had their Grand Slam hoped dashed by their round four loss at Scotland on March 8.
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