Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


End of year International Rugby takes shape

Matt Scott battles through Japanese tacklers - pic © Al Ross/Novantae Photography
Matt Scott battles through Japanese tacklers - pic © Al Ross/Novantae Photography

The World Rugby Executive Committee this week recommended a revised temporary 2020 international calendar to accommodate rescheduled fixtures postponed by the global COVID-19 pandemic as well as a general lack of international rugby.

The new temporary international window should occur between 24 October and 5 December, along with a temporary change to the Regulation 9 windows governing player release, to be approved at a virtual meeting of the World Rugby Council on 30 July. Subject to approval, the full schedule of matches will be announced by the respective union and international competition owners in due course.

In the northern hemisphere, this window will accommodate the postponed men’s and women’s Six Nations matches at the end of October, a rest weekend on 7 November followed by a programme of international matches involving the Six Nations and invited teams (rumoured to be Japan and Fiji) hosted in Europe from 14 November through to 5 December.

The rescheduling of the domestic, European and international calendars will accommodate the ability for the professional clubs to have access to their star southern hemisphere international players for the completion of the postponed and rescheduled 2019/20 seasons at a time in which they would have ordinarily been on Rugby Championship international duty in August and September.

The current Regulation 9 windows will return to normal after 13 December.

UPDATE (30/7): The temporary windows approved by the World Rugby Council for player release are:

  • Temporary global player release window for 2020: 24 October – first weekend of December (Six Nations/Autumn Tests)
  • Temporary Rugby Championship window for 2020: 7 November – second weekend of December

The temporary global window will accommodate the completion of the 2020 men’s and women’s Six Nations Championships on 24 and 31 October, a rest weekend on 7 November and four consecutive rounds of international matches.

With COVID-19 restrictions continuing to impact transcontinental travel and entry requirements, on an exceptional basis The Rugby Championship 2020 will take place over a reduced six-week period between 7 November and the second week in December with SANZAAR having asked New Zealand to host. Special measures will need to be implemented to deal with any government-required isolation period prior to the start of the competition.

27 Responses

  1. Dare we hope, could Scotland get some momentum – Wales at Twickenham not Principality, France and Japan at Murrayfield, Italy away… let’s get Russell back, Huw Jones firing at outside centre and become optimistic again.

    1. I don’t think Jones defense will be good enough to seal a place in gregors squad in the long run.

      Quite hoping Mark Bennett or Hutchison can step up to fill this gap.

      1. There are worse defenders in this side than Huw Jones however I agree , he is unlikely to be in ‘Gregors squad’. He is not thriving in Scotland.

      2. As Ben F says there are worse defenders but like Hogg, that seems to be the popular myth that’s built up around Jones.
        His attacking ceiling is so much higher than others that if he gets anywhere near that then, for me, he is on the team sheet.

        Harris isn’t everyone’s cup of tea & I was inclined to give him the (slight) benefit of the doubt especially after the Cardiff baptism/debacle.
        But if reputations stick then seeing him stripped of the ball & outpaced for a try by Japan in the WC game blew his supposed selection for defensive solidity out the water for me. Over the course of a handful of caps now, his attack is nowhere near his rivals either.
        Squad/bench…at best behind even Steyn probably in the 22/23 jersey I reckon.

      3. Think I’ve said before but I reckon Jones’s confidence was shattered in Wales Nov 2018 when his 2 defensive lapses (not entirely his fault & they were against 2 of the world’s best backs) cost Scotland the game. IMO a fit, confident Jones is a must for Scotland. Townsend had a decidedly shaky start to his career & the World Cup was difficult to watch. Now….. either he has learned or he’s lucky that Sutherland & Haining have added much needed grunt to the proceedings (likely a combination of both) but the likelihood of more front foot ball should benefit Jones. I like the physicality of Steyn as a 13 option too)

  2. Scotland have a golden opportunity to beat Wales at Twickenham and top their group in the revamped AI tournament and face the winners of the other group (probably England). France, Japan at Murrayfield and Italy in Rome. I’d be disappointed if we didn’t win all three although France will be tough with Edwards in the coaching team and (presumably) 15 men on the pitch for the whole game this time. Russell back in the fold and big Duhan and Graham on the wings please.

    1. How do they decide where each play-off is played, once pool finishing is determined ?

      1. Rob Robertson in Scottish Daily Mail days Murrayfield is hosting a play-off game. Also, Scotland arranging a warm up test against Georgia before we play wales in the outstanding 6N game.

        Good opportunity to put Japan behind us with a win over them but who knows how empty stadiums will effect teams and home advantage. Think there could be some surprises given the turmoil all the squads will have been through.

  3. Would be good to be the new 8 nations champions. We could buy a huge trophy, put our name on it and then immediately retire it for ever in the trophy cabinet at Murrayfield.

    1. I can see us losing to Wales at Twickenham, and losing to Japan and France at home (They are by no means guaranteed) I would back us to win but not overly optimistic of finishing top. Italy can always cause bother aswell. Kind of feel we have gotten the crap pool to be honest ? we are playing the lower ranked nations – less likely to bring in good crowds (Covid pending), no upside for our ranking, No lions Credit for beating our pool opponents.

    1. Just realistic, this Scotland side is far from the finished article. No need to get personal just because you have a differing opinion.

  4. From what I can read , this is a great innovation and a meaningful autumn series. What is more, we have lots of home games agsinst exciting teams that throw the ball around. We dont know what France will show, but it may well be the one that prefers spring sunshine to the dreich gray days of the scottish autumn. What is not to like about this ! All it needs is spectators and it will be perfect.

  5. I’m with Eli a bit on this one, having played both France and Georgia twice last summer this is going to be a forth match against France, a third vs Georgia (and I heard we’re also trying to line them up as a warm up so a forth against them in a year. another game against Japan whats that 5 times in the last 4 years. and another game against Italy. If our players are to break into the lions we need to be beating England Ireland and Wales not Georgia, Japan and Italy. In a year when we were suppose to play South Africa twice and the All Blacks twice I find it hard to get too excited about the new schedule.

    1. It will be good for Toony’s win ratio though. South Africa and the All Blacks, was only going to open up the wound.

      1. Forgot to say, we have actually lost to Fiji and Japan with Toony in charge. They deserve our respect.

  6. Any successful team needs to get on a bit of a roll. This is a chance for that.

    Looking forward to it IF our best players are in the team.

  7. Any idea if the vote is “en bloc” or will individual points be voted on?

    If the former applies there is little chance of global agreement. The arrogance of New Zealand RFU and French and English clubs putting pressure on their own unions will see to that…

    I can see each hemisphere’s comps going ahead but with only limited player release (e.g. no release for quarantine period, so losing 2 weeks if this is needed) and a lot of squabbling over venues.

  8. Just thinking: with the amount of games potentially being played in such a short time + the lack of full conditioning.. a lot of squad rotation is going to be required. Including for international duties.
    I propose 2 squads.

    Squad 1 – Kebble, Brown, Fagerson, Gray, Gray, Ritchie, Crosbie, Haining, Horne, Hastings, Steyn, Johnson, Harris, Maitland, Kinghorn. Stewart, Bhatti, Berghan, Toolis, Du Preez, SHC, VDV, Bennett

    Squad 2 – Sutherland, McInally, Nel, Cummings, Gilchrist, Thomson, Watson, Bradbury, Price, Russell, Duhan VDM , Scott, Jones, Graham, Hogg. Turner, Dell, Mcallum, Skinner, Fagerson, Pyrgos, Weir, Hutchison.

    Good chance to test combos, end of year 1 is the time to test players/rotations. Not WC year!

    I would even suggest a live game between those two sides for the public before the international games. similar to what Wales did a few years back.

    1. It would be great if Redpath opts for Scotland but I’ve heard no rumours he’s changed his mind so he’s more likely to play for England before the end of the year than us.

  9. Not that exciting fixtures, meh.

    Stuart Hogg and Richie Gray hang your heads in shame. Associated with a club using an offensive branding, thought we had moved out of the dark times. No more Scotland call-ups until they leave Exeter please. The All Blacks need to take a long hard look at themselves too, they are even all forced to wear black boots. Where is the freedom to choose.

    1. Excactly Bee, imaging having a different viewpoint to others in 2020 and thinking they wont be shutdown for it, clearly the people that made the decision to keep the logo aswell as the players staying at the club are all deeply racist. Next thing we will see is sponsors leaving them. It’s unacceptable in this day and age to offend people.

  10. Gatlands chiefs lost again. Shocker. I am not seeing many good signs of attacking intent and the players look restricted.

You might also like these:

Craig is joined by Jonny and Rory to look back at the disappointing end to Edinburgh's season and Glasgow's march towards the semi finals.
Gregor Townsend has named a largely experimental squad for the summer tour of the Americas. It's not a question of who misses out, but rather who is actually going, writes Rory.
Iain is joined by Jonny and John to discuss the penultimate round of URC fixtures as well as the recent Scottish Rugby Writers' Awards
Craig is joined by John on the injured reserve list to have a wee look at the URC action from the weekend.

Scottish Rugby News and Opinion