The ‘Eight Nations’ autumn rugby schedule can finally be revealed with the emergency tournament opening on the ominous date of Friday November 13 when Ireland face Wales in Dublin.
That match at the Aviva Stadium will kick-off a bumper schedule of Tests involving the Six Nations teams, plus Georgia and Fiji.
The tournament – dubbed the ‘Eight Nations’ before today’s confirmation – will be named the ‘Autumn Nations Cup’.
England will begin their 'Eight Nations' tournament with a match against minnows Georgia
As Sportsmail revealed in July the tournament will be split into two pools. England, Wales, Ireland and Georgia are in Pool A, and France, Scotland, Italy and Fiji are in Pool B.
Japan were meant to play instead of Georgia, but pulled out due to difficulties travelling to Europe during the coronavirus pandemic.
England will host three Tests at Twickenham – providing a timely financial boost for the RFU – with home games against Georgia, Ireland and a ‘finals weekend’ placing match.
Once the Pool stage is complete the top seeds will face off on December 5 and 6 to complete the tournament, as will those placed second, third and fourth.
Ireland’s home matches will be played at the Aviva Stadium – against Wales, Georgia and a finals game – and Scotland will face France and Fiji at home as well as host Georgia for their placing match.
Sportsmail understands the tournament will go ahead even if fans are not back in stadiums
Wales’ home venue is yet to be confirmed. If fans are allowed in grounds it is likely their games are to be played in London at a football stadium, as their home stadiums are too small to make them viable.
France and Italy are also yet to confirm their venues for the match, but Sportsmail understands the tournament will go ahead even if fans are banned from grounds as the nations need to satisfy broadcast and sponsorship contracts.
Ben Morel, CEO Six Nations Rugby commented, ‘We are absolutely delighted to formally announce details of the Autumn Nations Cup. A significant amount of time and effort has gone into delivering this new tournament format in testing circumstances and the spirit of collaboration amongst key stakeholders has been outstanding.sonos sonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black read more