All you need to know about the Autumn Nations Cup

Elliot Daly celebrates scoring a try with George Ford 7/3/2020
Eight teams, four weeks, two groups and one winner.

Eight teams, four weeks, two groups and one winner.

This weekend will see the Autumn Nations Cup kick off as the Guinness Six Nations teams are joined by Fiji and Georgia for the new and innovative international tournament.

With the 2020 Championship only just in the rearview mirror, the inaugural competition will provide the eight nations an opportunity to conclude a turbulent 2020 season on a high.

And there is no shortage of storylines to keep your eyes peeled for.

Can England add another trophy to their cabinet? Will Scotland maintain their momentum? How will Ireland and Wales bounce back? Can the French resurgence produce silverware?

All those questions and many more will be answered in the coming weeks as rugby fans are treated to a rugby extravaganza to keep them warm as we head into winter.

What’s the format?

The format for the Autumn Nations Cup will be two pools of four – Group A will include England, Ireland, Wales and Georgia with Group B comprising of France, Scotland, Italy and Fiji.

The action gets underway over the weekend of 13th/14th/15th November, kicking off with the much-anticipated reunion between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on Friday.

Following the curtain-raiser, Saturday will see England get their campaign up and running against Georgia while Italy welcome Scotland before France entertain Fiji on Sunday.

The Autumn Nations Cup will conclude on the weekend of the 5th and 6th December with a special final round of matches, which will be based on the pool rankings coming into the final weekend.

Each team will face off against the team ranked in their same position in the opposite pool, a format which promises some intriguing and unexpected clashes.

Group A runners and riders

Where else to start than with the 2020 Guinness Six Nations champions?

England clinched their first Championship title since 2017 following an enthralling Super Saturday as they edged out France by the slimmest of margins, winning on points difference.

Eddie Jones’ men overcame Italy 34-5 thanks to a Ben Youngs brace on the No.9’s 100th cap, with Les Bleus’ win over Ireland in Paris not enough to leapfrog the Red Rose at the summit.

But Owen Farrell and Co. have had little time to celebrate their success, with England already setting their sights on more silverware as they bid for the Autumn Nations Cup crown.

Standing in their way is a group containing their two Championship rivals in Ireland and Wales, while Georgia will also provide a stern test of their title credentials on the opening weekend.

England defeated both Ireland and Wales en route to winning the Triple Crown earlier this year but both teams will be out for revenge when they resume their rivalries in Round 2 and 3, respectively.

The winner of tournament’s opening match between Ireland and Wales could prove decisive if either side are to finish top of Group A and earn a shot at the inaugural title.

Georgia are more than capable of springing a surprise, though, and an opportunity to test themselves against some of the best sides in the world is all the motivation they need.

The Group B contenders

France concluded the 2020 Guinness Six Nations in style as Fabien Galthie’s exciting, young crop of players ran in five tries against Ireland to win 35-27 at the Stade de France.

While they were left to rue their defeat to Scotland, as well as conceding a losing bonus-point to England, their second-place finish showed Les Bleus are heading in the right direction.

With Player of the Championship Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack orchestrating their attack, France will be strong contenders to finish top of a fascinating-looking Group B.

But a meeting with the explosive, unpredictable Fiji will not be an easy first examination, especially with one of the world’s best players in Semi Radradra in their side.

Gregor Townsend’s Scotland will then welcome Les Bleus back to BT Murrayfield, the scene of their Grand Slam-ending 28-17 defeat, for another blockbuster contest.

Should France successfully navigate Fiji and Scotland – who are on a three-game winning streak – they will then welcome Franco Smith’s young Azzurri side to Paris for their Group B finale.

Italy proved a tough nut for England to crack on Super Saturday and with 20-year-old fly-half Paolo Garbisi, they possess a talent who could pose problems for Dupont and Ntamack.

Ultimately, when all is said and done, Group B looks set to provide plenty of fireworks.

Where can you watch it?

Supporters in the UK can ensure they don’t miss a single minute of the drama thanks to a deal with Amazon Prime Video and Channel 4 which will see all 16 games shown live.

Amazon Prime Video is taking its first steps into the rugby market by covering the tournament, with the streaming giant showing 14 of the 16 games across the four weekends.

Meanwhile Welsh language channel S4C has the rights to show Wales’ matches while RTE is the place to watch Ireland games for fans based in the Republic of Ireland.

Premier Sports also has the rights to show the remaining 12 games of the inaugural tournament not including Andy Farrell’s men in the Republic of Ireland.

Autumn Nations Cup Fixtures 2020

Group A

Ireland, Wales, England, Georgia

Group B

France, Fiji, Scotland, Italy

Round One

Friday 13 Nov, Ireland v Wales, 7pm, Aviva Stadium

Saturday 14 Nov, Italy v Scotland, 12.45pm, Stadio Artemio Franchi

Saturday 14 Nov, England v Georgia, 3pm, Twickenham

Sunday 15 Nov, France v Fiji, 3pm, Stade de la Rabine

Round Two

Saturday 21 Nov, Italy v Fiji, 12.45pm, Stadio del Conero

Saturday 21 Nov, England v Ireland, 3pm, Twickenham

Saturday 21 Nov, Wales v Georgia, 5.15pm, Parc y Scarlets

Sunday 22 Nov, Scotland v France, 3.15pm, BT Murrayfield

Round Three

Saturday 28 Nov, Scotland v Fiji, 1.45pm, BT Murrayfield

Saturday 28 Nov, Wales v England, 4pm, Parc y Scarlets

Saturday 28 Nov, France v Italy, 8.10pm, Stade de France

Sunday 29 Nov, Ireland v Georgia, 2pm, Aviva Stadium

Finals Weekend

Saturday 5 Dec, Georgia v TBD, midday, BT Murrayfield

Saturday 5 Dec, Ireland v TBD, 2.15pm, Aviva Stadium

Saturday 5 Dec, Wales v TBD, 4.45pm, Parc y Scarlets

Sunday 6 Dec, England v TBD, 2pm, Twickenham