Six Nations 2020: Fixtures, title permutations and catch-up as tournament returns

The longest Six Nations in history will finally reach its conclusion this month, 273 days after the tournament began on 1 February.

Both the men's and women's 2020 competitions were postponed in March because of the Covid-19 outbreak, with four teams still chasing the title in the men's tournament and England dominating the women's championship.

So where did we leave off? And who can still win the northern hemisphere crowns?

What are the fixtures in the men's championship?

Ireland will host Italy at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday - the only outstanding round-four fixture.

The last round of the competition, involving all six teams, will take place a week later on 31 October.

All matches will take place without fans in the grounds.

24 October

Ireland v Italy - Aviva Stadium (15:30 BST) - live on ITV and Radio 5 Live Sports Extra

31 October

Wales v Scotland - Parc y Scarlets (14:15 GMT) - live on BBC One and Radio 5 Live Sports Extra

Italy v England - Stadio Olimpico (16:45 GMT) - live on ITV and Radio 5 Live

France v Ireland - Stade de France (20:00 GMT) - live on BBC Two and Radio 5 Live

Who can win the title?

The 2020 men's Six Nations table as it stands - 1. England 2. France 3. Scotland 4. Ireland 5. Wales 6. Italy

England narrowly lead the way in the standings with 13 points, with France just behind on points difference.

However, if Ireland secure bonus-point wins over Italy in Dublin and then against France at the Stade de France, they would be crowned champions regardless of the result England achieve in their rescheduled match.

France could also still win the title if they claim a bonus-point victory over Ireland and England fail to match that result against Italy.

Scotland still have an outside chance, but they would need Ireland to be beaten by Italy, and then France and England to lose without bonus points on the final day.

What happened previously?

It all began on 1 February as defending champions Wales kicked off with a comfortable 42-0 home win over Italy. Ireland began with a narrow 19-12 victory over Scotland at the Aviva, while England were beaten 24-17 in Paris.

Wales' bid for another Grand Slam was ended in round two with a 24-14 defeat in Dublin, as England got their campaign back on track with a 13-6 win in Scotland to regain the Calcutta Cup. France continued their winning start, cruising past Italy 35-22.

Scotland bounced back with a 17-0 win in Italy on matchday three, before France won in Cardiff (27-23) for the first time in a decade. England backed up their impressive performance in Edinburgh with a 24-12 win over Ireland at Twickenham.

A disrupted matchday four saw England beat Wales 33-30 at Twickenham to claim a first Triple Crown in four years despite the visitors' late fightback, while Scotland ended France's hopes of a Grand Slam with a 28-17 victory in Edinburgh.

What has happened since?

It's been an unpredictable period for sport across the world since the outbreak of Covid-19. Here is a look at some of the key events that have led to the return of the championship:

  • 17 April - World Rugby chief Bill Beaumont says no more rugby internationals this year is a distinct possibility.
  • 5 May - The Rugby Football Union (RFU) would need a government bailout if England do not play until summer 2021.
  • 15 May - England's tour to Japan is called off as World Rugby cancels all July Tests.
  • 5 June - The Premiership confirms the league will recommence on 14 August with the remaining nine rounds taking place before the play-offs and final.
  • 5 August - Six Nations dates are confirmed for men's and women's remaining fixtures.
  • 14 August - Harlequins beat Sale Sharks in the first Premiership match for 159 days.
  • 11 October - New Zealand draw with Australia in the first international since March, in front of 31,000 fans.
  • 23 October - England's match against the Barbarians at Twickenham, due to take place on Sunday, is called off after 12 Barbarians players were stood down for breaking Covid rules.
  • 23 October - Scotland warm up for Wales in the Six Nations by thumping Georgia 48-7 at Murrayfield.

What about the women's tournament?

The 2020 women's Six Nations table as it stands - 1. England 2. France 3. Ireland 4. Italy 5. Scotland 6. Wales

England lead the way in the women's Six Nations with four wins from four - they are eight points ahead of France, who have a game in hand, but Simon Middleton's team can clinch back-to-back Grand Slams if they beat Italy away.

Six matches remain, starting with Italy's trip to Ireland.

24 October

Ireland v Italy - Energia Park (18:30) - live streaming on BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website

25 October

Scotland v France - Scotstoun Stadium (14:20) - live streaming on BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website

1 November

France v Ireland - Stadium Lille Metropole (13:30) - live streaming on BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website

Wales v Scotland - Cardiff City Stadium (16:15) - live streaming on BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website

Italy v England - Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi (17:00) - live on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, with highlights on BBC One from 23:30

6 December

Italy v Scotland - Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi (17:20) - live streaming on BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website

What about the autumn internationals?

With coronavirus restrictions preventing the likes of New Zealand, Australia and Japan from travelling, a new tournament has been set up to replace the traditional autumn internationals.

The Autumn Nations Cup, an eight-team competition involving the Six Nations sides plus Fiji and Georgia, will be played over four weekends, starting on 13 November.

England's women will play two internationals against France in November, the second of which takes place at Twickenham before the men's match against Ireland, while Scotland and Ireland women will seek to book their places at the 2021 World Cup via a qualifying tournament in December.

Autumn Nations Cup fixtures (all times GMT):

Round one

Group A: Ireland v Wales, 13 November, 19:00

Group B: Italy v Scotland, 14 November, 12:45

Group A: England v Georgia, 14 November, 15:00

Group B: France v Fiji, 15 November, 15:15

Round two

Group B: Italy v Fiji, 21 November, 12:45

Group A: England v Ireland, 21 November, 15:00

Group A: Wales v Georgia, 21 November, 17:15

Group B: Scotland v France, 22 November, 15:15

Round three

Group B: Scotland v Fiji, 28 November, 13:45

Group A: Wales v England, 28 November, 16:00

Group B: France v Italy, 28 November, 20:10

Group A: Ireland v Georgia, 29 November, 14:00

Finals weekend

Georgia v TBC, 5 December, 12:00

Ireland v TBC, 5 December, 14:15

Wales v TBC, 5 December, 16:45

England v TBC, 6 December, 14:00

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