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IRFU hopeful U-20s and women will complete Six Nations

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Ireland U-20s head coach and Leinster Academy manager Noel McNamara. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Ireland U-20s head coach and Leinster Academy manager Noel McNamara. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Ireland U-20s head coach and Leinster Academy manager Noel McNamara. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

The IRFU remain hopeful that this season's U-20 and Women's Six Nations championships will be completed later this year in conjunction with the men's games.

Fears had grown that both tournaments could be scrapped, and while there have been positive sounds in terms of the men's games being rescheduled in October, updates on the U-20s and women's games have been few and far between.

However, the IRFU are eager for both tournaments to be completed, if at all possible.

Andy Farrell's Ireland are expected to play Italy at the Aviva Stadium on October 24 and France in Paris on October 31. 

It is hoped that as soon as these fixtures are confirmed later this month, the U-20s and women's games can also be rescheduled.

The Ireland U-20s were flying high in the Six Nations, having won three out of three games, which had them on course for a second successive Grand Slam at that level.

This summer's U-20s World Cup, which was due to be held in northern Italy, has already been cancelled.

Many of this year's squad are set to enter the provincial Academy programmes, with some players already being tipped to make a breakthrough into PRO14 squads.

Tricky

If that were to happen, it would potentially make it tricky for certain players to be released to the Ireland U-20s in late October, at a time when the provinces will be shorn of their heavy hitters, who will be with Farrell's Ireland.

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Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster are due to welcome back their Academy players on Monday, which is seen as another major step forward in the return to rugby.

"We are still hopeful that those (Six Nations) games will be played," Ireland U-20s head coach and Leinster Academy manager Noel McNamara said.

"There are tentative talks about that potentially happening towards the end of October. Once that is confirmed, it will be great to get the group back together."

The Ireland women also have two Six Nations games against Italy and France still to be played. Adam Griggs' side were sitting in third place of the table, with two wins from three, before the pandemic.

Ireland desperately need the games ahead of their 2021 World Cup qualifying tournament, which has been postponed from its planned September date.

Ireland are awaiting confirmation of a new date as they hope that their postponed Six Nations games can be played in late October.


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