British & Irish Lions 2021

Wales v Scotland left standing as coronavirus savages Six Nations

2020-03-13 07:57
Alun Wyn Jones
Alun Wyn Jones (AP)

The scheduled "Super Saturday" finale of the 2020 Six Nations Championship will now see just the match between Wales and Scotland going ahead after the coronavirus pandemic ripped up sporting schedules around the world.

Register your interest for the British & Irish Lions tickets in South Africa 2021

This weekend's fixtures between France and Ireland in Paris and Italy and England in Rome have been postponed as a precaution against the spread of Covid-19, with last week's match between Ireland and Italy in Dublin going the same way.

No new dates have yet been announced for the delayed games, with officials now having to find gaps in rugby union's already congested schedule.

It may be the Championship cannot now be completed until October at the earliest.

That could mean teams such as England having to play Tests on five successive weekends given their November programme, a prospect that raises player-welfare concerns.

But with Formula One's season-opening Australian Grand Prix scrapped, basketball's NBA halted indefinitely, Spain's La Liga and the ATP tennis tour put on hold and rugby union's own cross-border Pro14 club competition suspended, Six Nations chiefs will be glad that at least one game is still 'on' this Saturday.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday a ban on major UK public events, including sports fixtures, was being "considered".

Significantly, however, no such ban has yet been put in place.

The British government's chief scientific advisor, Patrick Vallance, defended the policy, which could see a crowd of over 70 000 at Cardiff's Principality Stadium, when many smaller gatherings are being postponed or cancelled outright.

"On average, one person infects two or three others," Vallance said.

"You therefore have a very low probability of infecting a large number of people in a stadium and a rather higher probability of infecting people very close to you.

"And that means that most of the transmission actually tends to take place with friends and colleagues and those in close environments - and not in the big environments."

Jones landmark

Meanwhile, Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones is set to equal the world record for most international appearances on Saturday.

Jones' 148th Test, a tally that includes nine internationals for the British and Irish Lions, will see the 34-year-old lock draw level with retired former New Zealand captain Richie McCaw, the All Blacks' World Cup-winning skipper in 2011 and 2015.

"Alun Wyn is one of the most iconic figures in the game, he is our leader and I am delighted for him as he continues to set the bar across the game," said Wales coach Wayne Pivac.

This has been a tricky first season at the helm for Pivac, who succeeded Warren Gatland after his fellow New Zealander took Wales to the semi-finals of last year's World Cup.

Defeat on Saturday would mean Wales had lost four successive Championship matches for the first time since 2007.

Pivac has responded to last week's 33-30 reverse against England at Twickenham by making four changes to his side, with experienced scrumhalf Rhys Webb, lock Cory Hill, uncapped prop WillGriff John and fellow front-rower Wyn Jones all coming into the starting XV.

By contrast Scotland coach Gregor Townsend, under pressure after not playing Finn Russell this tournament following the highly-publicised breakdown of his relationship with the gifted fly-half, will arrive in the Welsh capital following his side's back-to-back wins over Italy and France, with last week's 28-17 home success at Murrayfield denying 'Les Bleus' a Grand Slam.

Victory would mean Scotland had won three consecutive Championship matches for the first time since the 1996 Five Nations, as well as securing their first win in Cardiff for 18 years, when Townsend was their fly-half in a 27-22 success.

"We set out this season to improve our consistency over a run of five tough games, something we have done well so far," said Townsend, who has changed a winning side by making three alterations to his pack.

Kick-off is at 16:15 (SA time) on Saturday.

Teams:

Wales

15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 George North, 13 Nick Tompkins, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Liam Williams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Josh Navidi, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Ross Moriarty, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 4 Cory Hill, 3 WillGriff John, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Wyn Jones

Substitutes: 16. Ryan Elias, 17 Rhys Carre, 18 Leon Brown, 19 Will Rowlands, 20 Taulupe Faletau, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Jarrod Evans, 23 Johnny McNicholl

Scotland

15 Stuart Hogg (captain), 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Blair Kinghorn, 10 Adam Hastings, 9 Ali Price, 8 Magnus Bradbury, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Jamie Ritchie, 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4 Sam Skinner, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Stuart McInally, 1 Rory Sutherland

Substitutes: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Allan Dell, 18 WP Nel, 19 Scott Cummings, 20 Matt Fagerson, 21 George Horne, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 Kyle Steyn

Read more on:    wales  |  scotland  |  six nations  |  alun wyn jones  |  rugby

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Vote

How excited are you about the 2021 British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

The 2019/20 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.