This year’s edition of the Women’s Six Nations rugby competition has been postponed, although the men’s tournament is scheduled to go ahead as planned.

The women’s competition had been due to take place in February and March but organisers announced yesterday (Wednesday) that the event will now be held either later in the spring or early summer. The U20s tournament has also been postponed.

Full details of the rescheduled dates will be announced by the end of January following consultation with all unions, broadcast partners and stakeholders. The decision to postpone the women’s event has been taken after considering the “dynamic nature of the external environment” and the challenges it presents, particularly for teams of amateur status.

Ben Morel, chief executive of Six Nations Rugby, said: “We are fiercely committed to the promotion and development of rugby at all levels, particularly the women’s game where we see such exciting opportunity for growth. This is not a decision that we rushed into and we are confident that in looking at a new later window, we will be in a far stronger position to deliver two fantastic tournaments, delivering exciting rugby for fans, and ensuring the safest possible environment in which to stage them for our players.”

Six Nations Rugby also confirmed plans to stage the men’s tournament as scheduled. The organisation is in “constant dialogue” with the respective governmental authorities and is further enforcing COVID-19 protocols ahead of the first round of fixtures on February 6.

France’s Six Nations campaign features away matches against England and Ireland and the French government has been seeking assurances over safety protocols in the two countries.

The French government has already ruled that its clubs cannot take part in European Professional Club Rugby’s (EPCR) Champions Cup and Challenge Cup, a decision that has forced the temporary suspension of the competitions.

The Six Nations is due to get underway on February 6 when Italy hosts France at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome and England face Scotland at Twickenham. Wales will host Ireland at the Principality Stadium the following day.

The French government has given the green light for its national team to travel to Italy for the opening fixture but doubts remain over whether subsequent fixtures will be given the go-ahead.

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