Whilst 2020 has been turned on its head with Covid-19, putting a stop to our normal way of doing things - unexpected challenges like this sometimes lead us into new innovations that improve our way of life.
Now, whilst a rugby tournament is not exactly a new 'innovation' - a welcome competitive edge has been brought to the Rugby calendar during the traditional Autumn International schedule. *Enter stage right* - Autumn Nations Cup 2020.
So When is this Cup and Why?
The Autumn Nations Cup is scheduled to be held in November and December 2020 in place of the usual Autumn internationals series typically held in the same period each year, as many teams are avoiding extended travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eight teams will participate – the teams involved in the Six Nations Championship (England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales) plus Georgia and Fiji – divided into two groups of four.
What is the format?
Each team will play the others in its group once to determine the final group standings; the teams in first place in each group will then play each other, as will the teams in second, third and fourth, to determine the overall standings. The tournament will open with a match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on 13 November 2020, and the final matches will be hosted by the teams from Group A on the weekend of 5/6 December 2020 (Georgia's "home" match will be played at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh, Scotland).
When are the fixtures (all times stated in GMT)
13 November: Group A: Ireland v Wales (Aviva Stadium) 19:00
14 November: Group B: Italy v Scotland (Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence) 12:45
14 November: Group A: England v Georgia (Twickenham) 15:00
15 November: Group B: France v Fiji (Stade de la Rabine, Vannes) 15:15
21 November: Group B: Italy v Fiji (Stadio del Conero, Ancona) 12:45
21 November: Group A: England v Ireland (Twickenham) 15:00
21 November: Group A: Wales v Georgia (Parc y Scarlets) 17:15
22 November: Group B: Scotland v France (Murrayfield) 15:00
28 November: Group B: Scotland v Fiji (Murrayfield) 13:45
28 November: Group A: Wales v England (Parc y Scarlets) 16:00
28 November: Group B: France v Italy (Stade de France) 20:00
29 November: Group A: Ireland v Georgia (Aviva Stadium) 14:00
5 December: Georgia v TBC (Murrayfield) 12:00
5 December: Ireland v TBC (Aviva Stadium) 14:15
5 December: Wales v TBC (Parc y Scarlets) 16:45
6 December: England v TBC (Twickenham) 14:00