Ireland set for Six Nations decider in Paris on October 31
A lot of water will pass under the bridge by then, but rugby officials are confident they can conclude the championship.
World Rugby is set to confirm a revised international window next Thursday, July 30 and include fixtures that will wrap up the 2020 Guinness Six Nations. The window is set to run from October 24 [for Ireland and Italy] and run until December 5.
World Rugby officials have been locked in talks with representatives from all the major unions - northern and southern hemisphere - about a new global calendar and who to get Test rugby going again before the year is out. Even without crowds, Test matches will generate a lot of money that will help fund unions through this tough, pandemic-affected time.
Talks have been protracted and, at times, fractious with the English and French leagues holding firm on not moving the northern hemisphere season into the summer months. There may be calendar tweaks but rugby fans should not expect anything ground-breaking when World Rugby sets out its agenda for the coming months.
One significant tea leaf, in that regard, was the British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa being confirmed for July and August 2021. Had there been any major agreement on a global calendar, that tour could have been shifted to September or October.
At a press conference that primarily focused on the Corsican League, on Sunday, former France coach Bernard Laporte was asked if the Guinness Six Nations would be concluded later this year. The French Rugby Federation president said:
"Yes, France-Ireland is announced for October 31."
That announcement must be internal as Six Nations officials have yet to release dates regarding the conclusion of the tournament. Ireland are set to play Italy at the Aviva Stadium on October 24 before the championship concludes on October 31 with the final round of fixtures:
- Italy vs. England (Rome)
- Wales vs. Scotland (Cardiff)
- France vs. Ireland (Paris)
Ireland are currently fourth in the standings but could go top with a bonus point win over Italy. As their game against France was originally scheduled last [9pm on March 14] that should be how it eventually plays out.
It would mean that Andy Farrell and Fabien Galthie will both be fully aware of the result required to claim the Six Nations crown.
Following that, World Rugby are hoping to get council approval to hold an eight-team European tournament from mid November to early December with Fiji and Georgia tipped to join the Six Nations sides.
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