Radical plan for next season’s Six Nations if autumn Tests are cancelled

Home-and-away format under discussion
Scotland's Sean Maitland scores against France in the 2020 Six Nations at BT Murrayfield.Scotland's Sean Maitland scores against France in the 2020 Six Nations at BT Murrayfield.
Scotland's Sean Maitland scores against France in the 2020 Six Nations at BT Murrayfield.

Next season’s Six Nations could be expanded to a home-and-away format under proposals being considered by the competing countries, according to the president of the Italian federation.

This year’s competition has yet to be completed after it was halted by the coronavirus pandemic but the teams that play in the northern-hemisphere tournament are considering expanding the next edition if the traditional November Tests against southern hemisphere sides cannot be played.

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“One of the solutions could be to have a home and away Six Nations, but that’s one of the solutions it’s not ‘the solution’ because the main solution is that of maintaining the autumn Tests for all the countries from the Six Nations,” Italian rugby federation president Alfredo Gavazzi said in Milan yesterday as he confirmed Franco Smith had agreed a permanent deal as Azzurri coach following an interim spell.

The Scottish Rugby Union refused to be drawn on the home and away plan as it monitors the current situation and plots a phased approach to resuming elite rugby.International matches are, of course, the lifeblood of all unions and The Scotsman understands that regular conversations are being held at multiple levels to formulate contingency plans. Mark Dodson, the SRU chief executive, has revealed that the loss of the November Tests against New Zealand, Argentina and Japan would cost the union £12 million.

A doomsday scenario of the whole of next season being played out without paying fans at home internationals would take the cost to the union to more than £40m.

Scotland’s final match in last season’s Six Nations against Wales in Cardiff was called off in March on the eve of the game. The Ireland v Italy, France v Ireland and Italy v England games were also postponed.

Gavazzi added: “We have a meeting every Thursday night between all the Six Nations and we talk about those things. We are verifying the possibility of having another competition in alternative to the November Tests.

“It’s a new situation which is evolving day by day and certainly we can’t give a schedule but we are talking about alternatives to the November Tests, we are talking about the global situation, we are looking at the possibility of having other competitions.”

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