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Wales line up France fixture in six-match 2020 programme

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Published in Rugby
Friday, 31 July 2020 11:45

Wales are in line to play France in a warm-up match on 24 October as the first of six Tests in late 2020.

It would be followed on 31 October by the 2020 Six Nations finale against Scotland, which was postponed in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Wales are set to be in an eight-nation tournament - replacing the cancelled autumn Tests - and have been drawn in a group with England, Ireland and Fiji.

Wayne Pivac's side would complete their six-Test programme on 5 December.

The Stade de France in Paris is a proposed venue for the France match, but the fixture has not been confirmed officially by the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) or French Rugby Federation (FFR).

The fixture will also depend on government travelling rules because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The situation has been complicated by French clubs being unhappy about releasing players for a 24 October fixture with legal action being considered against World Rugby.

The game's governing body recommended a new temporary international window between 24 October and 5 December for northern hemisphere sides and 7 November to 12 December for southern hemisphere competition.

The dates have now been formally approved by the World Rugby Council with a temporary change to the release of international players also authorised under Regulation 9.

The 2020 Six Nations tournament will be completed at the end of October with Wales' game with Scotland, Ireland's trip to France, and England's match in Italy scheduled for 31 October after being postponed in March.

The other outstanding tie - Ireland v Italy - will be played the week before. After winning their opening match against Italy, Wales lost against Ireland, France and England, while Fabien Galthie's side still have a chance of winning the title.

The eight-team competition replaces the traditional autumn internationals, in which Wales were scheduled to face South Africa, New Zealand, Argentina and Fiji.

The Six Nations sides will be involved and are to be joined by Fiji and Japan.

It is set to begin on 14 November, with the tournament to be staged on four consecutive weekends until 5 December, with each team facing their equivalent in the other pool on the final weekend, with the venue to be decided.

Wales are in line to visit to Ireland on the opening weekend before two "home" matches against Fiji and England on consecutive weekends on 21 and 28 November before the December finale.

Official confirmation of the schedule and the venues is expected in August. The location for Wales matches are still to be decided with the Principality Stadium definitely out of action until the end of the year because it is currently a field hospital.

It will depend on whether crowds will be available with Wales contemplating moving games to London if fans are allowed in.

Twickenham, West Ham's London Stadium and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium are among the options but games would be staged in Wales if they were behind closed doors.

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