Gallagher Premiership calendar explores midweek options
With nine fixtures outstanding in their season, Premiership Rugby have reportedly elected to go with three midweek fixtures to ensure their final is played on time.
Their season begins on August 15 and will end on October 24.
It’s hoped that the final can still be played at Twickenham, but it won’t be full. The RFU would be hoping it could be at around 41,000 capacity, based on one one metre social distancing.
Round 14: August 15/16
Round 15: August 22/23
Round 16 (midweek): August 25/26
Round 17: August 29/30
Round 18: September 4/5/6
Round 19 (midweek): September 9/10
Round 20: September 12/13
Round 21 (midweek): September 23/24
Round 22: October 3/4
Semi-finals: October 11
Final: October 24
Guinness Pro14 fixtures
The Pro14 have decided to cut their season short, including the European qualification process, ending with just two rounds of derbies before the play-offs take place.
European qualification has been decided on standings when play came to a close and it’s likely it’ll play into a one-off, 24-team Heineken Champions Cup.
The final will no longer be held in Cardiff, but a venue will be confirmed in due course. Each of the nations will face off in derbies, with Scotland, Italy and South Africa doubling up whilst the Irish and Welsh only take on two of their counterparts.
Round 14: August 22/23
Round 15: August 29/30
Semi-finals: September 5
Final: September 12
Champions Cup fixtures
Quarter finals: September 18/19/20
Semi-finals: September 25/26/27
Final: October 17
Test calendar still to fit in
There isn’t just a domestic calendar to factor in, but the impending squash of test match fixtures into the already crammed schedule.
Most sides have four internationals to play. Ireland and Italy still have to play two Six Nations fixtures, whilst the others all have to catch up with their final round fixture.
The autumn internationals will be played out in November as follows:
Week 1: November 7/8
Week 2: November 14/15
Week 3: November 21/22
Week 4: November 28/29
The final round of Guinness Six Nations fixtures is set to play out on October 31, but is yet to be confirmed. This would however, clash with the domestic calendar and thus clubs don’t have to release players.
This also leaves the pressing issue of when can Ireland play their round four game. If no Irish team get to the Champions Cup final, it could slot into October 24. If one does go all the way, it either has to clash with a European date – which the IRFU would be shooting themselves in the foot as a result – or it follows the final week of test, into December.
This would still mean players don’t have to be released for test match fixtures, but given the union ownership of sides involved, would be unlikely.
Summer tests have all been cancelled, but there has been chat of playing some of those. As we stand, there doesn’t seem much room for those, but they could be played out if domestic seasons are altered for next year.
Especially if the 24-team Champions Cup goes to eight pools of three teams, as per reports.
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