The Phuket News Novosti Phuket Khao Phuket

Login | Create Account | Search


Rugby shake-up goes on with new Autumn Nations Cup

Rugby shake-up goes on with new Autumn Nations Cup

RUGBY: The inaugural Autumn Nations Cup starts with Ireland facing Wales in Dublin on Friday (Nov 13) as rugby union continues to deal with the fall-out from the coronavirus pandemic.

Rugby
By AFP

Wednesday 11 November 2020, 06:57PM


Johnny Sexton (right) leads an Ireland team eager to learn from the mistakes they made against France in the Six Nations. Photo: AFP.

Johnny Sexton (right) leads an Ireland team eager to learn from the mistakes they made against France in the Six Nations. Photo: AFP.

An eight-team event will feature Europe’s leading six nations as well as Fiji and Georgia, who came in after Japan withdrew because of travel restrictions.

Teams will be split into two groups of four, with England, Wales, Ireland and Georgia forming one pool and Scotland, France, Italy and Fiji the other.

They will each play three group matches before the tournament ends on the weekend of December 5-6 with a final between the pool winners, while the other nations face a team in the same position in the other group to determine the minor placings.

The ‘COVID’ Cup

The Autumn Nations Cup is a product of COVID-19.

It replaces the end of year schedule that usually sees southern hemisphere giants New Zealand, South Africa and Australia, none of whom are venturing across the Equator this time on health grounds, tour Europe.

Although Autumn Nations Cup matches are set to be played behind closed doors because of the virus, they will generate much-needed broadcast income.

England’s Rugby Football Union, one of the game’s wealthiest governing bodies, recently announced an annual loss of pound GBP10.8 million (B434mn), with officials braced for more financial bad news in the next 12 months as a result of the pandemic.

Recently-crowned Six Nations champions England and a revived France will be favourites to reach the final.

French chances, however, may be hampered by a compromise deal struck in response to an expanded fixture list between the country’s leading clubs and the French Rugby Federation which means Les Bleus’ players can only feature in one Nations Cup match if they played against Wales and Ireland last month.

Innovate v Consolidate

In the build-up to the 2023 World Cup in France, teams may try to develop their squad depth in the next few weeks.

England coach Eddie Jones has even spoken about playing nine forwards in his side’s tournament opener against Georgia at Twickenham on Saturday, rather than the usual eight, in a bid to counter the physical Lelos’ pack.

“Tradition says you have eight forwards and seven backs,” said Jones. “When Barcelona beat Man United in the Champions League in 2009, they played the false nine.

“There’s no reason why you can’t do that in rugby and play a false 10 or a false winger.”

But such experimentation is a luxury that Wales, on a run of five successive defeats under coach Wayne Pivac, may not be able to afford away to Ireland.

Monday saw Wales dispense with the services of defence coach Byron Hayward, who like Pivac joined after former boss Warren Gatland stood down following last year’s World Cup.

“It was my decision,” insisted Pivac of the move to ditch Hayward.

Opportunity for Fiji, Georgia

A perennial complaint of teams such as Fiji and Georgia is that, because they are not involved in a major annual tournament, they are deprived of matches against leading nations in between World Cups.

At 11th and 12th respectively in the world rankings, they are both better placed than perennial Six Nations strugglers Italy (14th) which makes the Azzurri’s match against Fiji on November 21 a much-anticipated clash.

Performance, rather than results, may be the best way to gauge Fiji and Georgia’s efforts, with the Georgians hammered 48-7 by Scotland last month.

“When we finish this tournament, if we know we are a better team than before the start then we have had a successful Autumn Nations Cup,” said Georgia captain Merab Sharikadze.

“I am pretty sure we will. We are very motivated.”

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

CAPTCHA

Be the first to comment.

 

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
Hotel operators hopeful for recovery to start in H2 2021

Interesting that the graph snow the occupancy rate dropping dramaticlly before 2019......(Read More)


Phuket marks 18 new COVID cases for second successive day

Covid-19 cases are reaching the red line of 90 weekly cases to begin sandbox closing. ...(Read More)


Another Phuket rule change: Negative COVID test results must be issued in past 72 hours

I left Phuket over 2 weeks ago to Chiangmai. I am a resident in Phuket and I have a work permit. I a...(Read More)


Philippines suspends Thailand travel

Any country that used Xinovac CRAP is NOW dealing with Delta WUHAN Virus, including the Philippines....(Read More)


Phuket Sandbox driving employment opportunities in private boat charter industry

My sources are on the ground. I know exactly what is going on. If you'd followed my comments you...(Read More)


As COVID plagues Thailand, PETA calls for all live-animal markets to be closed

๑Xi DK was supporting you so why do put him down. I think the problem is that you have been eatin...(Read More)


Body of man who fell at Sarasin Bridge after entry denial found

'Authorities' wouldn't let the man onto the island where he now lives and works, but man...(Read More)


As COVID plagues Thailand, PETA calls for all live-animal markets to be closed

There is no question about it. For once and for ever, LIVE stock markets should be world wide termin...(Read More)


Woman dies after receiving mixed vaccines

Dr Chawetsan of DCC can throw the research/study outcome of that ChiangRai Hospital in dustbin. Was ...(Read More)


Religious holidays bring two alcohol ban days, three-day weekend

@Sir Burr, not completely! In Rawai/Naiharn the Mayor suggested the bars to bypass the law and decla...(Read More)