Tri-Nations and Autumn Nations Cup tournaments planned for November and December
Rugby’s 2020 autumn Internationals schedule taking shape
Since the Wales v Scotland Six Nations match was cancelled at the last minute in mid-March, Test rugby has had to take a backseat as the sport navigates its way through the Covid-19 pandemic.
More pressing issues like struggling finances, training during lockdown and restarting domestic competitions came to the fore in rugby while global events like the 15-a-side summer tours and World Sevens Series were cancelled. Yet there are promising signs regarding the return of international rugby.
Super Rugby competitions in New Zealand and Australia have been followed by the Gallagher Premiership and Guinness Pro14 restarting in August. Now the 2020 autumn Internationals schedule has taken shape too.
The World Rugby Council has approved the governing body’s recommendation of a longer international window later this year, with the objective of “optimising recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic for the betterment of the global game at all levels”.
Travel restrictions mean the original November Test schedule, with southern hemisphere sides travelling to Europe, cannot take place, but there are plans for top-level competitions on both sides of the equator.
South Africa have withdrawn from the Rugby Championship, so Argentina, Australia and New Zealand will now play a Tri-Nations tournament. Each team will play each other twice between 31 October and 5 December, with matches being staged in Brisbane, Newcastle and Sydney.
In the northern hemisphere, the Six Nations matches postponed due to coronavirus took place at the end of October while there were also one-off fixtures between Scotland and Georgia and Wales and France.
Related: 2020 Six Nations fixtures
The Women’s Six Nations was more complicated because there were six matches to reschedule, including three apiece for Scotland and Italy. The weekend of 24-25 October saw the Scotland v France and Ireland v Italy matches played, and the original final-round matches were all due to be played on 1 November.
However, both Wales v Scotland and France v Ireland were postponed due to positive Covid tests, so Italy v England was the only match that took place.
The three remaining fixtures – Italy v Scotland, Wales v Scotland and France v Ireland – have since been cancelled, while the European qualifiers for the 2021 World Cup that were due to take place in December have now been postponed until early next year.
England Women will play a two-Test series against France in November, though. They will play in France on Saturday 14 November and at Twickenham a week later, in what will be a double-header with the men. Both matches will be shown live on BBC Two.
New Zealand’s Black Ferns have a three-match schedule, with a Possibles v Probables fixture followed by back-to-back games against the NZ Barbarians on 14 and 21 November.
As for the remainder of the men’s calendar, 7-8 November was designated as a rest weekend followed by new tournament, the Autumn Nations Cup, from 13 November to 6 December.
Related: How to watch the Autumn Nations Cup
England, Georgia, Ireland and Wales are in one pool with Fiji, France, Italy and Scotland in the other. After playing the other teams in their pool, a finals weekend will see the table-toppers in each group play each other as well as 2nd v 2nd and so on.
Both the Top 14 and Premiership clubs were critical of the proposed Test schedule as it means top players will be missing for domestic duty on certain weekends. For example, the English top flight is due to start its 2020-21 season on 20 November.
However, the World Rugby Council approved the changing 2020’s Regulation Nine window, which governs the release of international players by the clubs, at a meeting on 30 July.
2020 Autumn Internationals Schedule
Here’s a list of the confirmed fixtures, with kick-offs UK & Ireland time.
Sun 11 Oct New Zealand 16-16 Australia (Bledisloe Cup)
Sun 18 Oct New Zealand 27-7 Australia (Bledisloe Cup)
Fri 23 Oct Scotland 48-7 Georgia (warm-up match)
Sat 24 Oct Ireland 50-17 Italy (Six Nations)
Sat 24 Oct Ireland 21-7 Italy Women (Women’s Six Nations)
Sat 24 Oct France 38-21 Wales (warm-up match)
Sun 25 Oct Scotland 13-13 France Women (Women’s Six Nations)
Sat 31 Oct Australia 5-43 Zealand (Tri-Nations)
Sat 31 Oct Wales 10-14 Scotland (Six Nations)
Sat 31 Oct Italy 5-34 England (Six Nations)
Sat 31 Oct France 35-27 Ireland (Six Nations)
Sun 1 Nov Italy 0-54 England Women (Women’s Six Nations)
Sat 7 Nov Australia 24-22 New Zealand (Tri-Nations)
Sat 7 Nov Black Ferns Possibles 28-19 Probables (selection match)
Fri 13 Nov Ireland 32-9 Wales (Autumn Nations Cup)
Sat 14 Nov New Zealand 15-25 Argentina (Tri-Nations)
Sat 14 Nov Italy 17-28 Scotland (Autumn Nations Cup)
Sat 14 Nov France 10-33 England Women (Autumn International)
Sat 14 Nov England 40-0 Georgia (Autumn Nations Cup)
Sat 14 Nov Samoa 40-0 Tonga Women (RWC 2021 Qualifier)
Sat 14 Nov Black Ferns 34-15 NZ Barbarians (invitational match)
Sun 15 Nov France v Fiji (Autumn Nations Cup) CANCELLED
Sat 21 Nov Argentina 15-15 Australia (Tri-Nations)
Sat 21 Nov England 25-23 France Women (Autumn International)
Sat 21 Nov Italy v Fiji (Autumn Nations Cup) CANCELLED
Sat 21 Nov England 18-7 Ireland (Autumn Nations Cup)
Sat 21 Nov Wales 18-0 Georgia (Autumn Nations Cup)
Sat 21 Nov Black Ferns 19-17 NZ Barbarians (invitational match)
Sun 22 Nov Scotland 15-22 France (Autumn Nations Cup)
Sat 28 Nov Argentina 0-38 New Zealand (Tri-Nations)
Sat 28 Nov Scotland v Fiji (Autumn Nations Cup) CANCELLED
Sat 28 Nov Wales 13-24 England (Autumn Nations Cup)
Sat 28 Nov France 36-5 Italy ( Autumn Nations Cup)
Sun 29 Nov Ireland 23-10 Georgia (Autumn Nations Cup)
Sat 5 Dec Australia 16-16 Argentina (Tri-Nations)
Sat 5 Dec Georgia 38-24 Fiji (Autumn Nations Cup)
Sat 5 Dec Ireland 31-16 Scotland (Autumn Nations Cup)
Sat 5 Dec Wales 38-18 Italy (Autumn Nations Cup)
Sun 6 Dec England v France (2pm, Twickenham, Autumn Nations Cup Final) Live on Amazon Prime Video
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