England, Wales, Ireland in group for Autumn Cup

Rugby

England have been drawn in the same group with Wales, Ireland and Georgia for the new Autumn Cup which consists of eight teams, organisers announced on Thursday.

Eddie Jones’ men will participate in Group A and will meet Georgia in their first match at Twickenham on Nov. 14. Group B features France, Scotland, Italy and Fiji.

Georgia replaced Japan for the tournament which will be held in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

After the original November internationals were cancelled because of travel restrictions impacting the southern hemisphere nations, an “alternative Six Nations,” with Fiji and Japan added, was devised. Japan too then had to withdraw because of COVID-19 travel complications, with Georgia stepping in.

The competition will conclude on the weekend of the Dec 5-6 with a final round of matches where each team will face off against the team ranked in their same position in the opposite pool.

Wales’ home games are expected to be held at London venues as the Principality Stadium is still unavailable after being used as a COVID-19 hospital.

“We have a new competition format this autumn and are expecting four quality Tests which will be a good challenge for us,” England coach Jones said in a statement.

“It will be great to get back to Twickenham. We have incredible fans and value their support — we want to play tough, vibrant rugby and make them proud.”

The rearranged Six Nations matches will be played beforehand with England travelling to Italy on Oct. 31. Wales host Scotland and France will meet Ireland on the same day.

Ireland will face Italy in the first of the rescheduled games on Oct. 24.

Meanwhile, England Women will meet France in a double header in November.

The first match will be played on Nov. 14 while the second game will take place before the men’s clash against Ireland at Twickenham a week later.

England will look to clinch back-to-back Grand Slams when they face Italy in their final Six Nations clash.

Information from Reuters has been included in this report.

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