This year’s edition of the Women’s Six Nations rugby union tournament will now take place from April 3-24 after the event was recently postponed.
The competition had been due to take place in February and March, but organisers announced last month that the event would be held either later in the spring or early summer.
The decision was made after considering the “dynamic nature of the external environment” and the challenges it presents, particularly for teams of amateur status. New dates for the tournament have now been confirmed, with the event to go ahead with a condensed format similar to that of the recent men’s Autumn Nations Cup.
The first matches will take place on the weekend of April 3-4, and the event will culminate with a grand final weekend on April 24. The format will feature two pools of three teams, with each playing one home and one away fixture. Teams will then face off against the opposing ranked nation from the other pool in the play-offs.
The U20s Six Nations was also postponed last month and this event will now be held in June and July in the same format as originally planned, but through a condensed three-week period. The tournament is expected to start on June 19.
A working group was set up to examine various rescheduling options for the Women’s Six Nations following last month’s postponement and it was ultimately decided that April would be the best fit.
Ben Morel, chief executive of Six Nations Rugby, said: “The promotion and development of rugby at all levels is a key strategic priority for Six Nations. We see huge opportunity for growth in the women’s game in particular and feel it will benefit hugely from having its own specific window and being firmly placed in the limelight.
“Our priority has always been to deliver two outstanding tournaments but equally ensuring both competitions can be played safely, taking every consideration for player welfare. A significant challenge we faced in rescheduling the women’s tournament was the limited available window due to World Cup Qualifiers, domestic leagues, rest periods and World Cup preparations for qualified teams. Following consultation with our unions and federations as well as other key stakeholders, it was agreed that April would be the best window in which to stage the championship.
“The U20 Six Nations Championship is also a hugely important competition in terms of player development and for those representing their country at this level it is a major milestone in any career. We look forward to announcing fixture details for the U20s in due course.”
The men’s Six Nations is set to go ahead as planned and will get underway this weekend. There had been uncertainty over France’s participation in the tournament due to safety concerns amid COVID-19, but the French government gave the green light for its national team to compete earlier this week.