It is excellent news that the Six Nations committee has confirmed dates for replaying the outstanding six matches in the 2020 Championships. They are:
Round 4: weekend of 24 October
Scotland v France
Ireland v Italy
Round 5: weekend of 31 October
Wales v Scotland
Italy v England
France v Ireland
Round 3: weekend of 5 December
Italy v Scotland
Inevitably there are ifs and buts attached to these details.
No venues are confirmed yet, though France Rugby has confirmed that their game with Ireland will be played as planned at Lille. That positive news is tempered by the latest information about Covid-19 from the local health authority. Two weeks ago the number of confirmed cases increased in Lille’s department, Nord. The figures are not alarming, but remind us of the unpredictable course of events.
The bad luck that Italy and Scotland suffered in completing only two of the five matches means there is a horrible gap of five weeks between the last two rearranged rounds. That is less than satisfactory. It leaves the final results hanging on a single result, delays the award of the Championship and the naming of the Player of the Tournament.
It’s unfortunate too that inequality stalks this optimistic 6N statement. The men’s U20 championship will not be completed.
We can only hope that conditions improve across the board, so that all six nations feel totally confident of fulfilling these new arrangements.
Above all, the players need to have had equal chances of regaining match fitness over the next eleven weeks.