Caelan doris scaled

7 games lined up for Ireland

Ireland’s Caelan Doris attempting a pass after being tackled by Jonny May of England during the game at Twickenham on Feb. 23. INPHO/JAMES CROMBIE

When rugby resumes the Irish team will have seven internationals before Christmas. We have drawn in a group containing Wales, England and Fiji in a new tournament to be held over four consecutive weeks from Nov. 14. It’s a one-off tournament being held this year to generate revenue for the various Ruby Unions who suffered during the coronavirus and will replace the Autumn internationals. Ireland will play Wales and Fiji at the Aviva and Eoin Farrell’s team are then away to his native England at Twickenham. Scotland, France, Italy and Japan will be in the other pool and the winners of the respective pools will meet on Dec. 5 while the second, third and fourth placed sides also play off against each other. Whoever Ireland face on that final weekend, the game will be played in the Aviva Stadium. It remains to be seen if the Irish Government will by then permit one-meter social distancing at sports events, in which case the Aviva could accommodate an attendance of around 18,000. The English Rugby Union chief executive Bill Sweeney has expressed the hope that up to 40,000 fans to be able to attend the Twickenham matches, pending UK Government approval. Before that new tournament begins the two outstanding games from the 2020 Six Nations will be played; Ireland play Italy at the Aviva on Oct. 24 and away to France on Oct. 31.

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-- Sean Creedon