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Ireland get major Autumn scheduling shake-up

By Ian Cameron
Ireland players Bundee Aki, Andrew Porter, Conor Murray and Jack Conan walk onto the pitch before the 2023 Rugby World Cup quarter-final match between Ireland and New Zealand at the Stade de France in Paris, France. (Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

In a change to the norm, Ireland are set to play two Test fixtures in this year’s Autumn Nations Series on a Friday night under lights at the Aviva Stadium.

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The full 2024 schedule has been announced and features twenty-one matches in total. The series will begin on Saturday, November 2 – with England hosting New Zealand at Twickenham.

An eye-catching aspect of this year’s series is the scheduling of three Friday night games.

This includes two such fixtures for Ireland, a deviation from their usual Saturday matches during the window. Ireland will face New Zealand on November 8 and Argentina on November 15,  a decision likely made to maximise television audiences.

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Steven Kitshoff says the Boks were ‘chasing ghosts’ in Auckland

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France will also host Argentina on a Friday night, on November 22.

The series is primarily scheduled for Saturdays however, including a high-profile game between France and New Zealand on November 16 at the Stade de France, a repeat of last year’s Rugby World Cup opener.

Tom Harrison, CEO of Six Nations Rugby, said: “The set of fixtures for this year’s Autumn Nations Series will offer fans genuine blockbuster entertainment. With many of the best players in the sport representing some of the best teams, and visiting iconic stadiums, it makes for five incredible weekends of rugby. The support of our broadcast partners means that fans all over the world will also have the opportunity to enjoy every single moment of the Autumn Nations Series.”

Broadcast coverage for the 2024 Autumn Nations Series will be extensive, with TNT Sports and discovery+ airing all fixtures in the UK and Ireland. This marks the first year of this new broadcasting partnership. In France, TF1 will broadcast each of France’s matches, with beIN SPORT covering other games. Sky Italia will maintain its status as the rugby hub in Italy.

Additional global broadcast details and free-to-air options will be announced later, ensuring fans worldwide can follow every match.

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D
Diarmid 10 hours ago
Players and referees must cut out worrying trend in rugby – Andy Goode

The guy had just beasted himself in a scrum and the blood hadn't yet returned to his head when he was pushed into a team mate. He took his weight off his left foot precisely at the moment he was shoved and dropped to the floor when seemingly trying to avoid stepping on Hyron Andrews’ foot. I don't think he was trying to milk a penalty, I think he was knackered but still switched on enough to avoid planting 120kgs on the dorsum of his second row’s foot. To effectively “police” such incidents with a (noble) view to eradicating play acting in rugby, yet more video would need to be reviewed in real time, which is not in the interest of the game as a sporting spectacle. I would far rather see Farrell penalised for interfering with the refereeing of the game. Perhaps he was right to be frustrated, he was much closer to the action than the only camera angle I've seen, however his vocal objection to Rodd’s falling over doesn't legitimately fall into the captain's role as the mouthpiece of his team - he should have kept his frustration to himself, that's one of the pillars of rugby union. I appreciate that he was within his rights to communicate with the referee as captain but he didn't do this, he moaned and attempted to sway the decision by directing his complaint to the player rather than the ref. Rugby needs to look closely at the message it wants to send to young players and amateur grassroots rugby. The best way to do this would be to apply the laws as they are written and edit them where the written laws no longer apply. If this means deleting laws such as ‘the put in to the scrum must be straight”, so be it. Likewise, if it is no longer necessary to respect the referee’s decision without questioning it or pre-emptively attempting to sway it (including by diving or by shouting and gesticulating) then this behaviour should be embraced (and commercialised). Otherwise any reference to respecting the referee should be deleted from the laws. You have to start somewhere to maintain the values of rugby and the best place to start would be giving a penalty and a warning against the offending player, followed by a yellow card the next time. People like Farrell would rapidly learn to keep quiet and let their skills do the talking.

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