Groundbreaking Revamped Six Nations Planned If Autumn Internationals Don’t Go Ahead

Home and away.

A groundbreaking revamped Six Nations is being planned for next year that would see teams play each other both home and away if the planned autumn internationals are unable to go ahead in November.

Ireland are due to take on Japan, South Africa and New Zealand later this year while England are scheduled to welcome New Zealand, Tonga, Argentina and Australia to Twickenham.

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Travel restrictions have put the fixtures in doubt hence the planned upscaled Six Nations but RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney remains optimistic the fixtures can be fulfilled.

Sweeney said the preference was to play the November games as planned but contingency plans have been discussed.

“The preference from both the north and the south is that the original programme will go ahead,” Sweeney said.

“But of course that’s driven a lot by international travel restrictions so both (the north and south) are developing back-up contingency plans.

“There are two or three different options we could go ahead with that feature more northern hemisphere competition around that autumn window.

“One of them if you’d play a Six Nations tournament in that autumn that would combine with fixtures next year and for the first time ever you’d have home and away. It’s possible. Every (plan) has pros and cons to it and those are being evaluated.”

The remaining 2020 Six Nations fixtures are also still expected to be played, possibly in October, but whether or not they will be played behind closed doors remains to be seen.

“You would be surprised the impact (a two-metre social distancing) rule has in an 82,000-seater stadium but one metre has a very different impact,” he added

“We’ve run every model so we’ve got a sense of what that does.”