Covid's possible effect on Six Nations

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The Six Nations is to start in a month, and Exeter coach Rob Baxter said it would be better to play the Six Nations in one country rather than cancelling it or playing it in empty stadiums.

 

As it stands, Wales will have to play games behind closed doors because of protocols introduced by the Welsh Government from Boxing Day.

 

Scotland has restrictions in place also, but only until January 17, at this stage. They are only allowed to have 500 fans at events.

 

Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon said she wanted all of Scotland to cheer on the team at Murrayfield, but she wouldn't be doing anyone any good by raising false hopes before the event.

 

The Government would analyse details before making a firm decision, she said.

 

Ireland is allowed a maximum of 5000 supporters at outdoor sports events. England allows capacity crowds so long as spectators can prove their full vaccination status or a negative lateral flow test.

 

Baxter said one of the attractions of the Six Nations was the different conditions games were played in and the way that impacted the competition.

 

"That said, we can't all sit here and pretend the world is in an ideal place at the moment.

 

"For the national bodies, their responsibility goes beyond the professional sport, it goes right down to grassroots rugby. So if playing the tournament provides a level of income that cancelling it or no crowds doesn't create then we've got to look at the next best scenario," he said.

 

"If the next best scenario is playing it in one country, where you can have sell-out crowds, you can raise some revenue and you can keep that income stream going for all the bodies, then it's got to be better than cancelling it," he said.

 

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