The Fiji Times

Six Nations’ response

- ■ RUGBY PASS John O’Connor.

FIJI might only play in a new series of matches involving Six Nations teams and will not become part of the main championsh­ip, the BBC has reported, despite the Fiji Rugby Union (FRU) saying it is on the verge of joining the annual competitio­n.

FRU chief John O’Connor said in a statement that Fiji rugby had opportunit­ies “which we could only dream of in the past. We are on the verge of joining the Six Nations rugby competitio­n and have Super Rugby New Zealand and Australia knocking on our doors.”

However, the BBC said a Six Nations representa­tive had confirmed the Pacific Islanders might only be involved in a new series involving England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Italy and France at the end of 2020.

This year’s delayed Six Nations

is set to resume in October following the COVID-19 shutdown, the four remaining matches to be played on October 24 and 31.

That will then be followed by a new set of internatio­nal matches involving the northern hemisphere teams – along with Fiji and one other country – to be played in Europe from November 14 to December 5 after World Rugby recommende­d a revised Test match calendar.

This window extends for a further weekend in the southern hemisphere to include the staging of the Rugby Championsh­ip in a single country (most likely New Zealand).

However, the revised schedule could yet prove problemati­c as the governing bodies representi­ng the leagues in England and France, Premiershi­p Rugby and Ligue Nationale du Rugby, have already outlined dissatisfa­ction with the extended Test calendar and could refuse to release players to play for their countries.

Aside from affecting England and France, any lack of compliance is something that would also impact heavily on Fiji, for instance, as well as the Springboks who have multiple players playing in those leagues.

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