Six Nations Rugby has confirmed the venues for what will be a revamped edition of the Women’s Six Nations following its postponement due to COVID-19 earlier this year.
Six Nations Rugby announced last month that the 2021 Women’s Six Nations will now take place from April 3-24. The competition had been due to take place in February and March, but organisers announced in January 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. With less than a fortnight before the tournament is due to begin, Six Nations Rugby has now confirmed the final plans for the event.
The championship will consist of two pools of three teams before concluding with Finals Day on April 24. Pool A consists of England, Italy and Scotland, while Pool B features France, Ireland and Wales.
Each team will play one home and one away fixture before facing the opposing ranked team from the other pool in a Super Saturday finals day. The Pool A teams – England, Italy and Scotland – will have home games for the finals, with the venues still to be confirmed.
Reigning champions England will open their title defence with a home clash against Scotland on April 3 at Castle Park, Doncaster. France face Wales on the same day in an evening kick-off at Stade de la Rabine in Vannes.
Round Two takes place on April 10 and sees England play Italy at Stadio Plebiscito in Padova, while Wales take on Ireland at Cardiff Arms Park. The third round on April 17 sees France travel to Ireland for a game at Energia Park (pictured), Donnybrook. The pool stages will then conclude with the meeting of Scotland and Italy at Scotstoun Stadium in Glasgow.
Along with Super Saturday Finals Day, France and England will also play a Women’s Six Nations exhibition game as part of the series, with the two set to meet at Villeneuve d’Ascq on April 30.
As well as a new format, the 2021 Women’s Six Nations will also break new ground in broadcasting. For the first time, all games will be available in one place in the UK, Ireland and Italy, with the BBC, RTÉ and Eurosport carrying all nine matches on a mix of terrestrial and digital services.
Six Nations CEO, Ben Morel, said: “We are extremely excited to get the Women’s Six Nations underway and with a new window and a new format for fans to engage with. Our Super Saturday on April 24 looks set to ensure this year’s championship has a compelling finale.
“Developing the women’s championship is absolutely central to our overall strategy. Fans have been thrilled by the Guinness Six Nations over the last two months and now the baton passes to the women’s teams, and we expect an equally thrilling sporting spectacle.”
In other event news, the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) has confirmed that Milton Keynes’ Marshall Arena will remain its venue for the finale to the 2021 Premier League season. Marshall Arena, which is part of the Stadium MK complex, has been a hub for darts and snooker events held during the pandemic.
Ten players will begin the 2021 campaign on April 5 as the 17-night season commences in Milton Keynes. The Premier League, which normally takes in multiple venues, will also stage the second half of its season at Marshall Arena in May, with the campaign set to conclude on May 28 with the play-offs.
The PDC said it will continue to liaise with authorities with regards to the potential for a live crowd in Milton Keynes during the 2021 season, as England progresses through its reopening efforts.