England and France could sit out first week of Six Nations under new proposal
England's rugby chiefs are considering a proposal that would see England and France sit out the first weekend of games in the Six Nations Championship from 2020, The Times newspaper said on Wednesday.
All six teams would compete in the second week while France and England would play on the third weekend alone under plans that the Rugby Football Union (RFU) is debating.
Wales, Ireland, Scotland and Italy want the present format of five rounds played over seven weeks, a system in place since 2000, to remain unchanged.
England are reported to favour all nations agreeing to a six-week schedule with one rest weekend in the middle. If there is no consensus, then a change setting England on France on a different schedule is also being discussed.
The proposals have gone through to the RFU's Professional Game Board, The Times reported.
The RFU is looking at the changes after World Rugby approved a new global calendar from 2020, despite opposition from Scottish and Welsh governing bodies on player welfare concerns.
As part of the changes, England's summer tours are set to move to July, while the English Premiership are planning to begin the 2019-20 season in September, as usual, but end in June.