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Rugby News

Friday 31st July 2020

Six Nations 2020 to be completed in October

The men's and women's Six Nations will be completed in October after World Rugby approved a new temporary international window.

The remaining rounds of both tournaments will be played on 24 and 31 October.

That will be followed by a rest weekend on 7-8 November before four consecutive rounds of international matches.

In the southern hemisphere, the 2020 Rugby Championship will be played from 7 November to 12 December.

Sanzaar (South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina Rugby), which organises the competition, has asked New Zealand to host all of the tournament matches.

The tournament was suspended in March because of Covid-19 with four matches in the men's competition to be completed and six in the women's competition.

England are top of the standings in the men's competition with 13 points, ahead of France on points difference. All teams have one left game to play apart from Ireland, who have two.

Ireland will take on Italy on 24 October, the same day as the Premiership final.

England then plan to play the Barbarians the following day.

The final round of 2020 men's matches will then all take place on 31 October, with Wales hosting Scotland, England playing Italy in Rome and Ireland facing France.

Wales will have to host their home fixtures away from the Principality Stadium after chief executive Martyn Phillips confirmed there will be no more international matches at the ground this year because it is being used as a temporary hospital during the coronavirus pandemic.

This year's autumn Tests are then expected to be replaced by an eight-team tournament in which the Six Nations sides will be joined by Japan and Fiji.


Eddie Jones signs new deal through to 2023 World Cup

Eddie Jones has agreed a contract extension to coach England through to the Rugby World Cup in France in 2023.

The 60-year-old's current contract was due to expire in August 2021, but he had been set for a new deal since leading England to the World Cup final last year.

Jones has a 78% win ratio since taking the role at the end of 2015.

Jones was appointed in December 2015, replacing Stuart Lancaster after a disappointing home World Cup that autumn.

He led England to a record-equalling unbeaten run, which included a Grand Slam in 2016 and a Six Nations title the year after.

The team's form slumped in 2018, but Jones arrested the slide before the World Cup in Japan.

There, superb victories over Australia in the quarter-finals and New Zealand in the semi-finals established Jones' men as favourites to beat South Africa in the final, but an inspired Springboks performance condemned an under-par England to a 32-12 defeat.

Concerns over the impact of that loss in the final were exacerbated when England were beaten by France in Paris in their 2020 Six Nations opener, but they rallied with victories against Scotland, Ireland and Wales to seal the Triple Crown before the Championship was curtailed because of the coronavirus pandemic.


England rugby stars join head shave challenge

A group of England rugby players have shaved their heads as part of an online charity campaign.

Henry Slade, Ellis Genge and Luke Cowan-Dickie joined the "Covhead challenge" to raise funds for the NHS during the coronavirus outbreak.

The campaign, started by William Bull, has raised more than £1,000 in the first 24 hours since its launch.


Springboks win World Cup for record-equalling third time
England 12-32 South Africa

South Africa broke English hearts with a ruthless display of power rugby to seize their third Rugby World Cup in devastating fashion.

Twenty two points from the boot of nerveless fly-half Handre Pollard and second-half tries from wingers Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe ground England into the Yokohama dirt on a horrible night for Eddie Jones's men.

England had trailed 12-6 at the interval after taking a hammering in the scrum and making a series of handling errors.

And despite four penalties from captain Owen Farrell they never looked like closing that gap as the Springboks produced an outstanding display to match those of 1995 in Johannesburg and 2007 in Paris.

Those were iconic moments for a nation besotted with rugby and when Siya Kolisi lifted the William Webb Ellis trophy aloft as the first black man to captain the Springboks they will have the final part of a triptych that will endure forever in the country's collective memory.

For England it was a chastening end to a campaign that had promised to end the 16-year wait for the World Cup glory.

They were out-muscled, out-run and out-thought by a team transformed by the leadership of skipper Kolisi and the coaching of Rassie Erasmus.

Never before has a team beaten in the group stages gone on to win the trophy, but this is a triumph to match that of the teams of Francois Pienaar and John Smit with a wider story that perhaps surpasses both.


2023 Rugby World Cup: South Africa recommended to host tournament

South Africa has been recommended to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup ahead of Ireland and France, the tournament's organising board has announced.

The World Rugby Council will meet on 15 November in London for a final vote.

South Africa, who won the 1995 cup as hosts after returning to international sport, were endorsed after reviews of each host candidate evaluation.