Scotland’s outstanding Six Nations fixtures confirmed
The ‘missing’ 2020 Guinness Six Nations fixtures for Scotland’s international male and female rugby squads are set to take place in October, following official confirmation.
Six Nations this week verified details of the rescheduled games – Scotland’s final match of the championship, against Wales, is due to take place on Saturday, October 31 at 2.15pm, with a venue for the game yet to be decided.
Back in February-March, ex-Hawick hero Stuart Hogg had been the team captain, before the sport was curtailed by the coronavirus crisis. Darcy Graham, another former Hawick star, had been ruled out of the tournament by injury, while ex-Gala and Hawick prop Rory Sutherland had been named in the starting squad to face Wales.
Six Nations has also been progressing contingency plans for an alternative tournament format in place of the Autumn Internationals for 2020.
This tournament will be a unique eight-team competition, involving the Six Nations unions and two other international teams.
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Work is ongoing to finalise match schedules and operational details, including venues, as well as commercial arrangements, said Scottish Rugby’s website. Further announcements are expected later this month.
Scotland were due to host Argentina, New Zealand and Japan in November 2020. Supporters who purchased tickets for Scotland’s original Autumn Tests will be communicated with by the end of August, when more will be known more regarding mass events.
Six Nations said: “In rescheduling these matches, the health and safety of players, associated staff and supporters has been at the forefront of our thinking.
“We remain in close contact with all relevant authorities across the respective jurisdictions to ensure these matches take place in a safe environment and we will announce further details of health and safety protocols and guidance on spectator attendance in due course.
“With regards to the U20 Six Nations championship, due to season scheduling constraints, it was decided thatthe three outstanding matches would not be played and there would be no winner for the 2020 Championship.”
Ben Morel, CEO Six Nations, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to make this announcement. While the past few months have been extremely challenging, we have always remained hopeful of concluding this year’s tournament and we are really looking forward to the final games in the Men’s and Women’s Championships.
There is still so much to play for and we are hugely excited for what lies ahead.”
“Public health remains the number one priority and while we must continue to be vigilant and cognisant of the dynamic and fast changing external environment, we are nonetheless extremely pleased to be moving in the right direction.”
Scotland Women, meanwhile, have three matches left to play, against France, Wales and Italy, and will conclude their 2020 Women’s Six Nations from the weekend of 24 October.
The regular and reliable Borders trio of Chloe Rollie (Jedburgh) and Hawick pair Lana Skeldon and (former captain) Lisa Thomson could well figure again as the Scots host France first before travelling to play Wales a week later.
The third and final scheduled fixture will see the ladies travel to Italy to conclude their campaign in a match which was cancelled with the team in Italy as the Covid-19 situation in the host country worsened.
This fixture is also expected to double up as a repechage tie as part of the qualification process for next year’s Rugby World Cup.
A full fixture list with times and venues will be announced in due course.
A truncated 2020 Women’s Six Nations, during which Scotland faced Ireland and England – the latter a fixture itself postponed for a day because of weather – saw the Scotland squad left with the majority of fixtures unfulfilled on account of the Covid-19 global pandemic.
Head of Women and Girls Rugby at Scottish Rugby, Gemma Fay, said: “It was a very frustrating and concerning period for us earlier in the year, with postponed and delayed matches and general uncertainty about what the impact of Covid-19 would be.
“I’d like to give credit to our players and staff in how they have responded to these recent challenging times and I know it will hold us in good stead in the months to come.
“We now have a much clearer picture and with dates now confirmed for our outstanding matches we will shortly begin our training programme with the squad to have them ready for late October.”
“Our goal is to reach the 2021 World Cup tournament in New Zealand in a year’s time and all three of these games will represent an opportunity to keep developing as a squad.”
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