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October 31 finale confirmed for Six Nations

Organisers announced on Wednesday the schedule for the remaining fixtures in this year’s coronavirus-disrupted Six Nations.

Ireland host Italy in Dublin on October 24 before the following Saturday includes all three round five games to decide the title winners.

Andy Farrell’s Irish side have an outside chance of lifting the crown but travel to a rejuvenated France, who are also in with a opportunity.

Table-toppping England, who are ahead of les Bleus on points difference, go to Italy and Wales face Scotland but a location for the meeting is yet to confirmed as Cardiff’s Principality Stadium is a standby COVID-19 hospital.

“In rescheduling these matches, the health and safety of players, associated staff and supporters has been at the forefront of our thinking,” a Six Nations statement said.

“We remain in close contact with all relevant authorities across the respective jurisdictions to ensure these matches take place in a safe environment and we will announce further details of health and safety protocols and guidance on spectator attendance in due course,” it added.

The tournament also announced plans for an eight-team competition to replace the cancelled traditional November Tests.

According to reports, 2019 Rugby World Cup hosts Japan as well as Fiji are set to join the Six Nations in two pools of four sides before a play-off round in December.

The autumn international window has been extended from three weeks to more than a month but French Top 14 clubs are at loggerheads with the country’s federation about the decision.

“We are currently finalising match schedules, operational details including venues as well as commercial arrangements. Further announcements relating to this competition are expected to be made later this month,” the Six Nations statement said.

The Women’s Six Nations will also be concluded this autumn but the under-20 tournament has been cancelled.

Unbeaten holders England can clinch the trophy with victory over Italy on the weekend of October 31.

Schedule for re-arranged men’s Six Nations matches which were postponed earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic (Kick-offs in GMT):

October 24 

Ireland v Italy (TBC) – Lansdowne Road, Dublin

October 31

Wales v Scotland  (1415) – venue to be decided as Principality Stadium in Cardiff unavailable due to being standby coronavirus facility

Italy v England (1645)- Stadio Olimpico, Rome

France v Ireland  (2000) – Stade de France, Paris

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