The Ireland Rugby team will take part in a new Autumn Nations Cup including games against Wales and England this November and December. Ireland’s home games in the tournament will be played as the Guinness Series 2020, maintaining the brand’s position at this time of the year.
The tournament has been created by Six nations Rugby to fill the gap that would otherwise have existed in the absence of the planned Guinness Autumn Series. The major Southern Hemisphere teams will not be travelling due to restrictions caused by the pandemic.
The series of games will be a unique eight-team competition, involving the Six Nations as well as the rugby unions of Georgia and Fiji.
With this years Guinness Six Nations still to be played out with Ireland facing Italy and France, those teams have been kept apart in the pool stage. Georgia and Fiji have been added to the line up to present an evenly balanced event.
Broadcast schedules have yet to be confirmed though RTÉ and Channel 4 are still in contract for the Series and will likely continue for the home Ireland games.
These will include matches at the Aviva Stadium against Wales and Georgia, as well as a Final match against the team that comes in the same position as Ireland in the other pool on the finals weekend on December 5th.
The game against England appears most likely to be part of a new TV deal with Amazon Prime with the Sky Sports contract with the English RFU having concluded last year.
The format for the Autumn Nations Cup will be two pools of four – Group A will include England, Ireland, Wales and Georgia with Group B comprising of France, Scotland, Italy and Fiji.
The Guinness PRO14 will continue throughout while the Heineken Champions Cup will commence the weekend after the Autumn Cup concludes.
“We are absolutely delighted to formally announce details of the Autumn Nations Cup,” said Six Nations Rugby CEO Ben Morel.
“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.”
“While the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic made the traditional Autumn Test window unfeasible, we remained determined to deliver a unique and compelling tournament proposition which would ensure world-class rugby for our fans globally, and competitive matches for players, unions and federations.”
“We cannot wait for the tournament to get underway in November and fans can look forward to some outstanding matches featuring some of the greatest players in the world. We are especially pleased to be joined by Fiji and Georgia and expect them both to be tremendous additions to the competition.”