Rugby Union: Sunday action for Six Nations

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The Independent Online
THE FIRST of the Six Nations tournaments next year will continue to stage some matches on a Sunday despite fears that there could be off- field disruption.

This season saw the Five Nations break with tradition and hold matches on Sundays, primarily for reasons of television coverage, and that will continue next year, with Italy joining in to make it a Six Nations' Championship. Next year the two Sunday matches will be France against Ireland at Stade de France, on 19 March, and the Calcutta Cup match between Scotland and England at Murrayfield, on 2 April.

The Scottish Rugby Union's chief executive, Bill Watson, said television commitments meant that the Calcutta Cup match had to be played on a Sunday. He said: "We appreciate some problems were encountered when this fixture was played on a Sunday in 1998. The SRU's preference for matches to be played on a Saturday is well-known, but Scotland is a partner to the TV agreement with BBC, which permits Sunday matches and is a deal which benefits all of Scottish rugby.

"To ensure that the fixture and the rugby weekend are highly successful we have been in contact with Edinburgh council and will be seeking dialogue with other relevant bodies in the tourist, transport and hospitality industries."

Italy's debut in the first Six Nations tournament will be marked by the defending Five Nations champions, Scotland, travelling to the Flaminio Stadium in Rome for the opening match on 5 February.

Allan Hosie, the Six Nations Chairman, said: "After the drama and excitement of the last Five Nations competition, where the championship was decided in injury time in the last match on the final weekend, we can look forward with keen anticipation to the first Six Nations' Championship."

2000 SIX NATIONS' CHAMPIONSHIP FIXTURES: 5 Feb: Italy v Scotland (1400GMT); England v Ireland (1430); Wales v France (1600). 19 Feb: France v England (tba); Wales v Italy (1400); Ireland v Scotland (1600). 4 March: Scotland v France (1400); England v Wales (1430); Ireland v Italy (1600). 18 March: Italy v England (1400); Wales v Scotland (1600). 19 March: France v Ireland (tba). 1 April: France v Italy (tba); Ireland v Wales (tba). 2 April: Scotland v England (1400).

n Tim Horan, at 29 Australia's most capped centre, is being targeted by Bristol's coach, Bob Dwyer. Bristol's chief executive, Nick de Scossa, said: "We know that Tim wants to come and I am just waiting for him to sign on the dotted line."

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