Ben Morel, the head of the Guinness Six Nations, is confident the 2021 competition will go ahead as planned despite restrictions in France on travel. He added that in case of problems, options for rescheduled matches are in place.


French clubs were withdrawn from the Heineken European Champions Cup this month as their government introduced strict travel restrictions to and from the UK. France is still under a 6pm curfew and travellers from the UK are required to provide a negative Covid test from within 72 hours.

How those restrictions in France will impact on the Six Nations competition seems to be a discussion point, but Six Nations CEO Morel said on Wednesday that his team were in constant dialogue with the French authorities.

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Chris Ashton’s first media conference as a Worcester player

France begin the competition away to Italy on February 6 and then visit Ireland, but this issue is likely to come to a head before the visit of Scotland to Paris on February 28. “We have provided all our protocols,” insisted Morel.

“We have been considered as extremely robust and we are seeking some of the clarification on the specific rules about quarantine exemptions, which would look at entry from the UK, whether it is re-entry for the French teams or entry for the other unions.

“We have reinforced our testing protocols, with the main point being we are doubling up on the testing and in the week prior to entering the international camp. Generally, elite sport benefits from widespread exemptions and what we are awaiting is the detail on the exemption. At the same time, we’re confident, based on our protocols, that will be a positive outcome.”


Morel said that should any games be called off because of Covid restrictions, there should be space in the calendar for them to be rescheduled rather than one team be awarded a notional win, as happened during last year’s Autumn Nations Cup.

“The primary focus would be to reschedule,” he said. “The reason why we went for immediate results during the Nations Cup was that it had to progress because there was a finals weekend.

“We would obviously want to protect the sporting integrity of the Six Nations as much as possible. We are confident in our ability to stage the matches at the right time, it’s more what logistical gymnastics we need to adapt to.”


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