Girls’s Six Nations: Why the 2021 version may be particular
|Appointment: April 3-24|
|Blanket: All house nation matches are broadcast on BBC iPlayer, with protection of all Wales matches on BBC Cymru Wales and England’s remaining match broadcast on BBC Two.|
As with so many sports activities throughout the coronavirus pandemic, it has been an unpredictable yr for ladies’s rugby.
However there are causes to be hopeful because the Six Nations lastly start this Saturday.
Reasonably than the same old spherical robin format, groups are cut up into two teams and can play two group matches every earlier than a remaining weekend of matches to determine the standings.
There could also be much less rugby, however there are nonetheless loads of intriguing tales to observe. Listed below are 5 explanation why the 2021 version of the match could be particular.
1. The Tremendous Saturday conflict
Tremendous Saturday Showdown is a working title at this level, however the abundance of alliteration helps in describing the drama that may absolutely come from the Finals weekend.
After the group matches, both sides will face the crew that completed within the equal place within the different group to find out the rankings.
With the skilled groups England and France far forward of the remainder of the sphere lately, having these end-of-tournament fixtures that pit the closest groups in opposition to one another might work properly for the ladies’s sport.
Defending champions England and France are the favorites to achieve the ultimate and whoever the Crimson Roses participant is might be dwell on BBC Two.
There are apparent drawbacks as properly, after all. Most notably, fewer matches means much less worldwide rugby for gamers and followers and no probability for England to chase a 3rd Grand Slam.
|Pool A||Pool B|
2. Rising from the shadows of males
Normally, the Girls’s Six Nations are performed concurrently the lads’s match in February and March.
He briefly moved in April because of the coronavirus pandemic and a few imagine the change might have a constructive impression because the match continues to hunt a title sponsor.
Former Scotland worldwide Lynsey Douglas, now head of girls’s sport at trade analyst Nielsen Sports activities, hopes the brand new window will give the Girls’s Six Nations “room to breathe and develop”.
“I feel it is good that it has been the identical time as the lads, however possibly now’s the time to separate it up, so there’s this totally different alternative for the quilt and for the sponsors to assume in a different way.” Douglas instructed BBC Sport.
“We watch the eye of the followers quite a bit. Generally it is laborious to get individuals to sit down down and watch a sport – persons are pushed by time.
“Should you attempt to get individuals to observe the ladies’s video games as properly, that is a variety of rugby viewing. Having that at a distinct time is its personal attraction for the followers.”
3. The battle to be England’s tenth
English half-fly World Cup winner Katy Daley-Mclean retired from worldwide rugby on the finish of 2020 and left some actually large footwear to fill.
Sevens star Helena Rowland might be first to audition for the spot in opposition to Scotland on Saturday, however there are others who maintain the strain on the 21-year-old.
Saracens half-butterfly Zoe Harrison was purported to be on the bench and is anticipated to start out later within the match.
However the 22-year-old was excluded from England’s Matchday 23 after breaking coronavirus protocols, giving Meg Jones – arguably Kind 10 within the Premier 15s – an opportunity to make a declare.
4. The brand new coaches
Former United States assistant coach at 7 Warren Abrahams has been appointed Wales head coach in November and this Six Nations would be the first probability to see what impression it has had.
Wales completed on the backside of the desk in 2020 after dropping all of their video games and their final sport in opposition to Scotland was referred to as off.
However issues may very well be totally different this yr with captain Siwan Lillicrap claiming Abrahams introduced “one other model of rugby” forward of their opening in France.
“We wish to play an attacking sport and play what lies forward. Hopefully we are able to convey that to life this weekend,” mentioned Lillicrap.
“The women have grafted quite a bit and we have completed issues that we have by no means completed as a crew. We take into consideration issues in a different way. I am very excited to really present it.”
Scotland even have a brand new model of play underneath Bryan Easson, who took over as interim head coach in August 2020 earlier than being given the job completely later that yr.
Easson helped the aspect to a powerful 13-13 draw in opposition to France in October and hopes for related outcomes this yr.
5. The World Cup
The World Cup can now be postponed till 2022, but it surely nonetheless has a job to play on this Six Nations.
For the groups already certified – England, Wales and France – the match affords yet another probability to check attainable future stars of the sport.
And for Eire, Scotland and Italy, who’ve but to seal their locations within the World Cup, it is much more essential.
These three groups should play a European qualifying match with Spain, certainly one of which is able to routinely qualify for the World Cup.
The qualifying occasion has to this point been postponed twice with no information on when it may be performed.
The crew that finishes second will transfer on to a different match the place they may have a second probability to qualify.
Every time Eire, Italy and Scotland face off within the Six Nations, will probably be a possibility to check one another with such excessive stakes qualifying occasions.
There could also be fewer matches within the 2021 Girls’s Six Nations, however there is no scarcity of issues.
|Dated||Meet||Stay TV protection||Kick-off (BST)|
|April 3||England v Scotland||3:00 p.m.|
|France v Wales||8:00 p.m.|
|April 10||Italy v England||2:00 p.m.|
|Wales v Eire||BBC Two Wales||5:00 p.m.|
|April 17||Eire v France||5:00 p.m.|
|Scotland v Italy||14:15|
|April 24||Italy v TBC||TBA|
|England v TBC||BBC two||TBA|
|Scotland v TBC||BBC Scotland||TBA|
|All Matches Stay on BBC iPlayer|