6 Nations set to move to later date

Future Six Nations could start two weeks later in the season to help reshape the global calendar, according to tournament chief executive John Feehan.

Rugby bosses around the world are still thrashing out the international schedule to run after the 2019 World Cup, and now Six Nations chiefs have admitted they would be relaxed about their competition starting later.

This year’s Six Nations kicks off on the first weekend of February, but from 2020 the tournament could start two weeks later within the same month. “If the start date is pushed back to start in the middle of February, that’s okay, it’s no big deal there,” said Six Nations chief executive Feehan.

“If for whatever reason it makes sense for the Six Nations to start two weeks later than it does now, that’s fine. It’s no big deal.

“It’s fair to say that on balance, when it’s been looked at and particularly player welfare and all that kind of thing, you can’t bring it down below seven weeks because the guys can’t perform at that level five weeks on the trot.

“It’s particularly unfair on the smaller nations, England and France might have the resources to do that but others don’t.

“The reality is we need to keep the integrity of the tournament right and so we need to have the rest weeks to do that.”

The Six Nations trialled losing and try bonus points for the first time last season, and now Feehan has confirmed they are here to stay.

“Overall, we’re very happy with bonus points; I wouldn’t want to overstate it but on balance it’s had a positive net effect,” said Feehan.

Meanwhile Gregor Townsend lifted the lid on his meeting with Pep Guardiola as he put the finishing touches on Scotland’s bid for NatWest 6 Nations glory.

Scotland head coach Townsend spent a day with Manchester City in December to run the rule over the coaching style of the Premier League’s top boss.

Now he hopes to implement some of Guardiola’s philosophy when the Scots open their campaign against Wales at the Principality Stadium next Saturday.

“The biggest thing about meeting Pep was seeing a coach so passionate about the details of coaching,” said Townsend.

“It’s about how to bring the best out of players, not tactics and the bigger picture, more about the details of how he gets his game over.

“He was so excited about the whole thing.”


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