Women’s Six Nations postponed due to pandemic

The Six Nations held talks with Paris on Tuesday and discussions will be ongoing as organisers attempt to convince the government that sufficient coronavirus protocols are in place.

In 2020, three Women's Six Nations fixtures were cancelled because of coronavirus and England were the only home nation to play all five of their 2020 fixtures, with Scotland playing three and Wales and Ireland playing four.

But tournament organisers say that plans for the men's tournament, which is due to kick off on February 6th, "remain as scheduled".

No new dates have yet been decided, but it is hoped that the Women's and U-20s Six Nations will take place in "later this spring or early summer".

This year's women's championship is seen as key preparation for teams ahead of the women's World Cup, which is due to begin on September 18 in New Zealand, with Covid-19 pandemic having cut short match action for worldwide teams. It's understood the Six Nations may consider a permanent unique window for the Women's competition in the future.

"It's definitely possible to change the window - that's something we are looking into - so we are thinking it through and that would probably be post the Women's World Cup in 2021 and looking at 2022", Morel said at last year's Six Nations launch.

Ireland Women were due to feature in a key qualifying competition last month but that was postponed due to Covid-19.

That was the last match Adam Griggs' team played, and although the squad held a training camp at the IRFU's High Performance Centre last weekend, their preparations must now be further put on hold.

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Confirmation has not yet been made as to when exactly Ireland can attempt to book their World Cup place after last year's qualifying tournament, which includes Scotland, Italy and Russian Federation or Spain, was postponed.

Early indications are that the Women's Six Nations could take place in April and May.

"It was also important that the decision was made in a timely manner to allow players and management to plan accordingly".

Meanwhile, the U20 championship could be played this summer, given that the World Rugby U20 Championship is not due to take place as would normally be the case in that window.

It has been an extremely challenging time for underage rugby in Ireland since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, with young players around the country deprived of the chance to play regularly and continue their development.

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