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Are the Guinness Six Nations 2020/21 going ahead?

Guinness Six Nations

Introduction

The current situation of International Rugby and more specifically the Guinness Six Nations 2020/21 and Autumn Internationals here in the UK are rather unclear. Some of the biggest questions on the lips of rugby fans are “Will the 2020 Six Nations be completed?” and “Are the 2021 Six Nations going ahead?” In any ‘normal’ year this would be met with a resounding “Yes” however it’s clear that this is unlikely to be the case.  Let’s explore the impact of Covid-19 to the rugby calendar and how you can still watch the major upcoming events.

Will the 2020 Guinness Six Nations be completed?

The 2020 Guinness Six Nations will have its final round of fixtures completed in October. There are currently 4 men’s games to be finished. One Round-4 fixture: Ireland v Italy 24/20/2020 at the Aviva Stadium. Followed by three Round-5 fixtures all to be played on the 31/10/2020: Wales v Scotland, Italy v England, and France v Ireland. All matches are set to be played at their regular locations apart from Wales v Scotland where a venue has yet to be announced as the Principality is still in operation as a field hospitality.

What are the remaining 2020 Six Nations permutations?

England

The current standings after 4 almost complete rounds sees England top the group. Beating Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, a first Triple Crown for England in 4 years. England’s final game is against Italy at the Stadio Olimpico where they would expect to win and by a considerable margin. Tries will be the name of the game as the Championships could come down to points difference.

France

Second place France have an outside chance but have a tough match against Ireland at home at the Stade de France. A difficult task as the French are infamous for being slow starters, however, the French have recently had a resurgence under Jacques Brunel and defence coach Shaun Edwards (what a difference he has made) adding the required steel to complement French flair. To win, France would require England away in Italy to win by a smaller margin. Tough ask!

Ireland

The final team in contention is Ireland. Currently sitting in fourth they have 2 games remaining. Similarly, to England one of those games is away to Italy and if recent history is anything to go by this should be an Irish win and by a decent margin. Andy Farrell’s men then head to the Stade de France needing a second win to be crowned Champions. It’s worth noting a BP win against Italy and a win against the French would crown the Irish Champions irrespective of other results.

Will fans be able to attend the 2020 Guinness Six Nations?

Unfortunately due to the recent change in government regulation, the pilot scheme, which was intended to be rolled out in October and would have allowed fans back into stadiums for sporting events, has been pushed back.
The Department for Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) met with officials from the respective governing bodies to announce the continuation to the ban of fans from sporting venues. The 2020 Six Nations is therefore likely to be completed behind closed doors.

Are the 2020 Autumn Internationals going ahead?

Typically, the Autumn Internationals would be played throughout November. This offers players and coaching staff alike the opportunity to pit their wits against the best of the Southern Hemisphere rugby powers. In recent years these Test matched have been seen as a barometer, the litmus test, to where teams are positioned in the World Rankings and ultimately who would likely go on to raise the most coveted of all trophy’s; the William Web Ellis Cup at the IRB World Cup.
This year however, has been affected by the Covid-19 virus which has put restrictions on the ease of travel often afforded to International Sporting teams. A period of quarantine of around 2 weeks and the risk afforded to players physically and mentally has been rightly deemed too high.

What is the Autumn Nations Cup 2020?

This is the new competition proposed by the IRB to run in place of the Autumn Internationals. The teams include those of the Guinness Six Nations plus Georgia and Fiji. Fixtures from November 13 (unfortunately it is a Friday, I’ve checked!) to December 6.
The teams are split into two groups and will play each other once. After the final round of group fixtures, winners of group A will play the winners of Group B. The second-place team in Group A will play the second-place team in Group B… you get the picture.
Twickenham, The Aviva Stadium, Murrayfield and the Stade de France have so far been confirmed as host Stadia.

England v Ireland – Premium Virtual Hospitality Package – 21/11/2020

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Behind Closed Doors is the perfect way to re-engage and entertain your clients where you can enjoy the full Twickenham matchday experience from in the comfort of your home.

On the 21st November, Engage takes you and your guest to an exclusive pre match cook along at home with former England Captain Dylan Hartley.

Everything you need for the perfect day of International Rugby will be delivered to your door, then along with our professional chef, Dylan will take you and your guests through how to cook the perfect rugby meal.

In the build up to the match you will be joined live for pre-match interactive chats with international rugby stars before tuning in to England v Ireland live on Amazon Prime.

Register your interest here or give us a call on 0207 048 4848 for further details.

Are the 2021 Guinness Six Nations going ahead?

The good news is the 2021 Guinness Six Nations are going ahead as planned. A full 5 rounds of fixtures and will compete as usual for the available silverware. An added incentive for the players and potentially coaching staff, is the opportunity to join the Lions Tour. To be on tour with the Lions is a special occasion, however to play against the World Champions certainly adds a level.

Register your interest here or give us a call on 0207 048 4848 for further details.

Will fans be able to attend The 2021 Guinness Six Nations?

Chiefs from the Guinness Six Nations have met with representatives from governing bodies to discuss ways to allow fans to attend the Championship. This could involve hosting the event later. Currently, discussions are in their very earliest stages and all options are on the table. It’s in the interest of World Rugby that fans are back watching matches as safely and as swiftly as possible.

Register your interest here or give us a call on 0207 048 4848 for further details.

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6 Nations Players to Watch

6 nations

England

Elliot Daly (age: 24, height: 6ft, weight: 15st 10lbs)

With eight caps to his name, Daly is certainly not an unknown, but he has yet to show his full talents at international level. A clear yet unfortunate red card against Argentina saw his Autumn Internationals cut short, but he is likely to feature strongly in the 6 Nations.

Blessed with searing pace, solid defence, great hands and the ability to step off both feet, Daly can play centre, wing or fullback. He can also bang over penalties from approaching 10m inside his own half, which can seriously demoralise the opposition. 2017 could be the year he becomes a star.

Ireland

Garry Ringrose (age: 21, height: 6ft 1in, weight, 14st 7lbs)

If there’s one cross in world rugby that you wouldn’t want a 21-year old to bear, it would to be touted as the heir apparent to the incomparable Brian O’Driscoll. As if finding your feet as an international centre isn’t hard enough, it is exactly what Garry Ringrose is having to cope with.

The good news, however, is that he may well live up to expectations. In addition to a running style remarkable reminiscent of the great BOD, Ringrose has pace, all the required skills and a real nose for the try line.

Scotland

Jonny Gray (age: 22, height 6ft 6ins, weight 18st 10lbs)

It’s hard to believe, given his size, that Jonny is comfortably the smaller of Scotland’s Gray brothers, with the older, 60-capped Richie hitting 6ft 10ins in his socks and almost 20 stone. Not that it’s held Jonny back, as he’s widely being tipped to make this year’s Lions tour to New Zealand.

Gray is the complete modern lock, with decent hands and good mobility complementing the basics of providing grunt at scrum time and reliable line-out ball. His work rate, however, is his strongest suit. His stats for hitting breakdowns and completing tackles are up there with the very best back-row forwards. Expect to see some world-class performances from him in the upcoming tournament.

Wales

Justin Tipuric (age: 27, height: 6ft 2in, weight: 16st 1lb)

Tipuric has won 46 caps since his 2011 international debut, but he has never managed to cement himself as first choice. That may change for the coming 6 Nations, with Tipuric’s skills as a link man being cited by many rugby sages west of the border as exactly what the national side needs to revive an increasingly predictable attacking game.

France

Baptiste Serin (age: 20, height: 5ft 11ins, weight 12st)

With the skill-set to occasionally play fullback for his club, Bordeaux Bègles, the young scrum-half might just be the spark to ignite France’s backline. Blessed with incredible sleight of hand and an enormous boot, Serin already has a highlights reel full of magical moments. If he gets the nod for France in this year’s 6 Nations tournament, make sure you watch him very, very closely.

Italy

Michele Campagnaro (age: 23, height: 6ft, weight: 15st 8lbs)

Ignoring the obvious choice of Italy’s talismanic Sergio Parisse, we’ve gone for Exeter’s bullocking young centre, Michele Campagnaro. He has won man-of-the-match awards for Italy, but never a 6 Nations match. If 2017 is to be the year Campagnaro breaks his 6 Nations duck, Italy will need him to be at his powerful best in attack and defence.

Opening round fixtures

Scotland vs Ireland, Sat 4th Feb, 2.25pm

Ireland won this fixture by 10 points in Dublin last year, a difference that home advantage could easily reverse in Scotland’s favour. Both teams having progressed since then, making it a difficult match to call.

Irelands inspiring displays against New Zealand, allied to a squad with arguably more strength in depth, make them favourites, but they’ll doubtless have to weather a Scottish storm if they’re to win at Murrayfield.

England vs France, Sat 4th Feb, 4.50pm

England have become a relentless force under Eddie Jones, demanding all teams who face them to push their physical limits until the final whistle, and they’ll be highly fancied to win handsomely at home against a France team long in transition.

France, however, utterly destroyed the Wallaby scrum last autumn, with New Zealand’s pack fairing only slightly better in a game where France rediscovered their attacking verve in a close loss. Maybe chickens should not be counted just yet..?

Italy vs Wales, Sun 5th Feb, 2pm

Wales’ attack has not fired for some months and they were roundly slated by home supporters for some lacklustre displays during the autumn. Boasting a squad dripping with top quality players, they will hope there is some truth behind the old adage, ‘Form is temporary, class is permanent’.

Italy have also been struggling for form, with a first, historic win over the weakest team to ever leave South Africa offering them a rare moment in the sun. New coach Conor O’Shea has expressed his ambitions to make them fitter and more competitive, but it would still be a huge upset if they manage to beat the visiting Welsh team.

Stadia

Twickenham

Location: London, England

Capacity: 82,000

First Rugby International hosted: England v Wales, January 1910

Interesting fact: Twickenham is the world’s biggest dedicated rugby stadium and the fourth largest stadium in Europe.

Principality Stadium

Location: Cardiff, Wales

Capacity: 74,500

First Rugby International hosted: Wales v South Africa, June 1999

Interesting fact: The Principality Stadium is the second-largest stadium in the world with a fully retractable roof, hosting 770,000 paying visitors each year.

Stade de France

Location: Paris, France

Capacity: 81,388

First Rugby International hosted: France v England, February 1998

Interesting fact: The multi-sport stadium was initially built specifically to host the 1998 FIFA World Cup and features a stand that can be retracted to uncover a section of the athletics track.

Stadio Olimpico

Location: Rome, Italy

Capacity: 70,634

First Rugby International hosted: Italy v England, February 2012

Interesting fact: Owned by the Italian National Olympic Committee, Stadio Olimpico’s construction was initiated by the regime of Mussolini, with building taking place between 1928 and 1950.  Early football crowds approached 100,000.

Aviva Stadium

Location: Dublin, Ireland

Capacity: 51,700

First Rugby International hosted: Ireland v South Africa, November 2010

Interesting fact: The Aviva Stadium was built on the site of the old Lansdowne Road Stadium, which had been hosting rugby matches since 1876.

Murrayfield

Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

Capacity: 67,800

First Rugby International hosted: Scotland v England, March 1925

Interesting fact: Murrayfield was redeveloped to an all-seater stadium in 1994, but, years before, Murrayfield could host 104,000 rugby fans, as it did for their game against England in 1975 (setting a world record that stood for 24 years).

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The 6 Nations Country Guide

6 nations

The 2017 6 Nations is shaping up to be one of the most competitive in years. England may be hot favourites to defend their Grand Slam title, but recent strong showings by Ireland, Scotland and France, alongside a powerful, experienced Welsh squad, mean it is far from a foregone conclusion.

Engage will be hosting clients at some of the tournament’s biggest clashes and you can still join them. Click here for more information.

England

There is talk of a 6 Nations injury crisis for the reigning champions, but Eddie jones has further developed the strong, young squad he inherited from Stuart Lancaster and will not yet be losing sleep.

Injuries to seemingly key men, such as the Vunipola brothers, George Kruis, Joe Launchbury and Chris Robshaw, could be rendered irrelevant by players of the calibre of Maro Itoje, Courtney Lawes, Dave Attwood, Ben Morgan, Nathan Hughes and Tom Wood waiting in the wings.

A huge opening game at home against France and tough trips to Cardiff and Dublin will demand England be at their best if another Grand Slam is to be achieved, but their autumn form after three summer wins in Australia make it hard to argue against the bookmakers, who have them installed as odds-on favourites.

Ireland

Ireland will take great heart from their first win against New Zealand last autumn and the impressive display that followed in a battling loss. They will be further galvanised by the tragic loss of Anthony Foley, whose memory will doubtless inspire some passionate displays. These factors, combined with a fixture list they may well see as favourable, means the final game against England could be a showdown for the 6 Nations Championship.

Wales

Wales are vying with France to be considered the ‘dark horses’ ahead of this year’s 6 Nations. A draw against Ireland and a narrow loss to England last time round would suggest their talented squad only requires a few tweaks to challenge for honours. However, their home form in the autumn, when a heavy defeat to Australia was flowed by unconvincing wins against Argentina, Japan and a toothless South Africa, could point to problems ahead.

A strong showing first up in Rome could steady their nerves and provide the ideal launch pad for a serious title challenge.

Scotland

A recent win against Argentina and a one-point loss to Australia offered further proof that Scotland have been on a steady upward curve in recent years. Though they are not yet widely considered as title contenders, they could certainly derail the claims of teams who are. Blessed with a mobile pack and some outstanding backline talent, including the irrepressible Stuart Hogg, they will be confident at home and dangerous away.

France

Perennially the most unpredictable team in the 6 Nations, France could be playing for the Championship or the wooden spoon come the final weekend.

Their 2016 6 Nations campaign was a disaster, with close wins over Ireland and Italy providing their only solace. Since then, they have drawn a two-match summer series in Argentina and run both Australia and New Zealand very close in Paris (losing by two and five points respectively).

Despite an often-cited dearth of French talent competing in the Top 14, France can still field a monstrous pack and dangerous backline. What they haven’t been able to do in recent seasons is achieve any level of consistency in selection or clarity in collective ambition. If they do manage to address those issues, anything is possible.

Italy

Consistency is also a problem for the Azzurri and something new coach Conor O’Shea has been working hard to address. Last year’s 6 Nations opening weekend saw them five minutes from a win in Paris, only to then suffer four sound thrashings in their subsequent fixtures. The pattern continued in the autumn, when a hiding at the hands of New Zealand was followed by their first ever win over South Africa and a disappointing loss to Tonga.

France in Rome may be their best chance of registering a win this time round, with close losses in the other fixtures possibly representing moral victories.