Six Nations

Women's Six Nations: Tournament to start in 'spring or summer'

Full details are expected by the end of January, with the men's Six Nations set to start as planned in February.

Ireland, Scotland and Italy's Women's Six Nations fixtures may double as 2021 World Cup qualification matches given none of the three have yet secured a place at the tournament.

The Under-20 Six Nations has also been delayed until later in 2021.

Like the women's tournament, it would normally run at the same time as the men's Six Nations.

France name 3 uncapped players in 37-strong Six Nations squad

Fresh from an encouraging autumn programme that culminated in a second-place 2020 Six Nations finish and taking England to extra-time at Twickenham in the final of the Autumn Nations Cup, Galthie’s latest squad shows he is willing to experiment some more in his second calendar year in charge. 

Three uncapped players have made the first France squad of 2021, winger Donovan Taofifenua and prop Georges-Henri Colombe of Racing and Stade Francais centre Julien Delbouis. 

Setback for Six Nations champs

It leaves players including captain Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje and the Vunipola brothers without a game before England face Scotland on 6 February.

Saracens were relegated from the Premiership earlier this year after breaching salary cap rules.

English rugby's second tier has not had a game since March due to Covid-19.

To counter the lack of preparation, Saracens have confirmed they are negotiating with fellow clubs to establish a separate cup competition format as part of the pre-season build up, sanctioned by the Rugby Football Union.

Fiji rugby team ready for 'once in a lifetime opportunity'

The Flying Fijians will take on France, Italy and Scotland in Group A, with England, Ireland, Wales and Georgia to contest Group B.

The final round will be a series of crossover matches against the team with the equivalent placing in the opposite pool.

Fiji have not played four consecutive tests against tier one countries in the professional era and CEO, John O'Connor, said their participation would be a historic milestone.

"It will be a challenge for the boys but you know we have been crying over [wanting] more test matches against tier one for so long," he said.

Six Nations confirm dates and venues for suspended games

Six Nations organisers have also confirmed the venues and kick-off times for some of the remaining four fixtures.

The 2020 Six Nations Championship, which was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, will restart on Saturday, October 24 when Ireland face Italy at the Aviva Stadium, with a kick-off time to be confirmed.

The remaining fixtures will then be played the following week with a triple-header of games taking place across the day.

First up will be the meeting of Wales and Scotland at 2.15pm, although a venue has not been confirmed.

All Blacks end of year tour appears doomed

The All Blacks are scheduled to play England in London on November 7, Wales in Cardiff the following weekend and then Scotland in Edinburgh.

But the coronavirus pandemic has thrown the tours in doubt and the Six Nations unions are now looking at a safer alternative.

The Telegraph reported that Japan and Fiji were expected to be confirmed as the two guest nations to join the Six Nations sides in an inaugural eight-team tournament in November and December.

SANZAAR, Six Nations in talks over global rugby calendar

Southern hemisphere rugby body SANZAAR and the Six Nations have entered a consultation process aimed at creating an aligned global rugby calendar "in total transparency with unions, clubs and players".

The hope is to have international windows that are aligned between the northern and southern hemisphere, to lessen the overlap between club and country fixtures and free players from domestic commitments for internationals.

England's Marler banned for 10 weeks after Jones incident

England were 33-30 winners at Twickenham on Saturday, but there were a number of flashpoints throughout the match, with the hosts reduced to 13 men by the final whistle after Ellis Genge went to the sin bin and Manu Tuilagi was sent off.

One incident missed by the officials concerned Jones and prop forward Marler, who appeared to grab at the Wales captain's crotch, though there was no action from the officials. 

Coronavirus hits Six Nations again

Italy's prime minister Giuseppe Conte announced on Wednesday that sporting events that are allowed to go ahead in Italy will have to take place behind closed doors until April 3.

The decision came following a government decree, with Italy, which has the most cases of any European country, taking further preventative measures against the virus. There have been 2,502 confirmed cases in Italy, with 80 deaths.

Mako Vunipola back for England

The prop had not been expected to be part of Eddie Jones' squad for the Twickenham encounter, having missed England's win over Ireland after travelling to Tonga to visit a seriously ill relative.

However, he is included in Jones' 34-man party as England begin preparations for the visit of Wayne Pivac's team.

Exeter Chiefs scrum-half Jack Maunder has been selected, giving Jones a third option at number nine behind Ben Youngs and Will Heinz, while wing Anthony Watson and hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie were also named in the squad.