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Six Nations may shift dates in search for global season 

 

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Organisers of the Heineken Champions Cup hope to hold the final on October 17 and have admitted that next year’s tournament could be expanded to 24 teams on a once-off basis. Stock photo

Organisers of the Heineken Champions Cup hope to hold the final on October 17 and have admitted that next year’s tournament could be expanded to 24 teams on a once-off basis. Stock photo

Organisers of the Heineken Champions Cup hope to hold the final on October 17 and have admitted that next year’s tournament could be expanded to 24 teams on a once-off basis. Stock photo

Organisers of the Heineken Champions Cup hope to hold the final on October 17 and have admitted that the 2021 tournament could be expanded to 24 teams on a once-off basis.

And that could be the first of many changes on the horizon, after The Daily Telegraph reported the Six Nations are "open to the idea" of shifting their start date back to bring it in line with the Rugby Championship as part of a globally aligned season.

Talks between the game's powerbrokers continued this week and it looks like the July Test window could revert to October in what would be a major change to the schedule.

In the near-term, the focus is on completing the unfinished 2019/20 season and resolving European qualification for next year after France abandoned their campaign. Allowing eight teams each from the Premiership, Top 14 and PRO14 would simplify matters and would also serve as a big boost to Connacht who would almost certainly qualify. 

Finishing this year's competition remains the priority for EPCR and it looks like the quarter-finals and semi-finals could be played in late September and early October, before the final if restrictions on travel and public health allow.

If they can go ahead, Leinster would host Saracens at the Aviva Stadium and Stadium Director Martin Murphy said the Lansdowne Road venue is ready to host matches behind cosed doors.

There was more good news for Connacht yesterday who have recruited promising Leinster prop Jack Aungier for next season. It's a blow to Leinster who are also set to lose another highly rated No 3 Roman Salanoa to Munster, had planned their squad around having one of the two on board.

Irish Independent