Six Nations Rugby has confirmed the schedule for the remaining matches in this year’s competition, although it remains to be seen where Wales’ home match against Scotland will take place.
Ireland will face Italy on October 24 at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium in what will serve as the final fixture of Round 4. On October 31, Italy will host England at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, France will play Ireland at the Stade de France in Paris, and Wales will host Scotland at a yet-to-be-confirmed venue.
Wales usually plays its home matches at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium (pictured) but the Welsh Rugby Union confirmed last month that the venue would be off limits for the remainder of the year.
In May, the WRU said the contract for the venue to remain as a field hospital during COVID-19 had been extended until early autumn. The Dragon’s Heart Hospital, with a capacity of 1,500 beds, was first opened on April 29 to help ease pressure on the NHS amid the pandemic. The initial contract with Cardiff and Vale University Health Board was due to run until July 10, but was lengthened through to at least September.
The venue for the match will be announced “in due course”, with further guidance on health and safety protocols and potential fan attendance also set to be outlined.
The schedule for the remaining matches in the Six Nations Women’s Championship has also been announced, with Scotland vs France and Ireland vs Italy pencilled in for the weekend of October 24. The weekend of October 31 features Wales vs Scotland, Italy vs England and France vs Ireland, while Italy will play Scotland on the weekend of December 5. A full fixture schedule will be released in due course.
Six Nations chief executive Ben Morel said: “We are absolutely thrilled to make this announcement today. Whilst the past few months have been extremely challenging, we have always remained hopeful of concluding this year’s tournament and we are really looking forward to the final games in the Men’s and Women’s Championships. There is still so much to play for, and we are hugely excited for what lies ahead.”
“Public health remains the number one priority and while we must continue to be vigilant and cognisant of the dynamic and fast changing external environment, we are nonetheless extremely pleased to be moving in the right direction.”
Confirmation of the schedule comes after World Rugby last week announced a new 2020 calendar for international matches during COVID-19. The temporary global player release window will allow for the completion of the Six Nations and four further consecutive rounds of international matches.
A temporary window for the southern hemisphere’s Rugby Championship has also been proposed for November 7 to the second weekend of December. With COVID-19 restrictions continuing to impact transcontinental travel and entry requirements, on an exceptional basis the 2020 Rugby Championship will take place over a reduced six-week period between November 7 and the second week in December.
In other news, BT Sport has reached an agreement with England’s Premiership Rugby to cover all 57 remaining matches of the domestic season, which resumes on August 14.
BT Sport will also work with the league on a new initiative to offer season ticket holders free access to their club’s home matches. More information on the scheme will be made available via clubs soon.
Image: Ben Evans/Huw Evans Agency