England supporters must wait to discover whether they will be allowed to travel to Rome for the Six Nations’ rescheduled Super Saturday which organisers on Wednesday confirmed will take place on October 31.
Eddie Jones’ team are in pole position to win the Six Nations title, leading France on points difference although Ireland do have a game in hand. In normal circumstances, thousands of England supporters would travel to Rome but at present the Italian government has yet to allow fans to return to sporting stadiums because of coronavirus restrictions.
The remainder of the Serie A season, which concluded last weekend, was played behind closed doors but football clubs are lobbying the government to allow stadiums to be opened at 40 per cent capacity when the next campaign kicks off on September 19. Other sports such as rugby are likely to follow from football’s lead.
Even if the stadiums are open, it is unclear whether the Italian government would permit thousands of England supporters to travel. Despite being one of the worst affected countries at the start of the pandemic in March, Italy has thus far avoided a second wave recording just 190 new cases and five deaths on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the UK recorded 892 new cases and 65 deaths.
After the tournament was suspended in March, Six Nations organisers say they are “hugely excited” to bring the Championship to a conclusion. Ireland play their game in hand against Italy on October 24, although the Irish Rugby Football Union says that it is “increasingly unlikely a capacity crowd” will be present.
Wales against Scotland has yet to be assigned a venue. With the Principality Stadium unavailable, the Welsh Rugby Union is still exploring the use of stadiums both in Wales and England. Six Nations organisers insist the decision on whether crowds will be permitted rests with national governments.
“In rescheduling these matches, the health and safety of players, associated staff and supporters has been at the forefront of our thinking,” a Six Nations statement read. “We remain in close contact with all relevant authorities across the respective jurisdictions to ensure these matches take place in a safe environment and we will announce further details of health and safety protocols and guidance on spectator attendance in due course.”
The Six Nations Under-20 Championship has been cancelled with no winner declared.
Meanwhile, the latest round of Premiership Covid-19 testing has produced just two positives from a pool 917 individuals tested with the league scheduled to resume next week.