Autumn Nations Cup: England to face Georgia after eight-team tournament confirmed
The tournament will see 16 matches played between November 13 and December 6
Last Updated: 10/09/20 3:47pm
England will play Georgia for the first time outside of a Rugby World Cup after the latter was confirmed as the final team in an eight-nation competition to be held later this year.
Along with Fiji, who are set to play in the competition, Japan had initially been expected to join the usual Six Nations teams for the tournament, which has been created as a replacement for the Autumn Internationals that have been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, government restrictions will prevent Japan from competing, allowing Georgia to take up the competition's eighth and final place.
England will begin their campaign against Georgia at Twickenham on November 14, while their Group A rivals - Ireland and Wales - will kick off the tournament in Dublin a day earlier.
Group B will be contested by Scotland, France, Italy and Fiji, with the tournament concluding with each team facing off against the side ranked in the same position in the opposite pool.
The tournament has been arranged by Six Nations Rugby, in cooperation with its constituent unions and federations.
"We are absolutely delighted to formally announce details of the Autumn Nations Cup," Six Nations Rugby chief executive Ben Morel said.
"A significant amount of time and effort has gone into delivering this new tournament format in testing circumstances and the spirit of collaboration amongst key stakeholders has been outstanding.
"While the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic made the traditional Autumn Test window unfeasible, we remained determined to deliver a unique and compelling tournament proposition which would ensure world class rugby for our fans globally, and competitive matches for players, unions and federations.
"We cannot wait for the tournament to get underway in November and fans can look forward to some outstanding matches featuring some of the greatest players in the world. We are especially pleased to be joined by Fiji and Georgia and expect them both to be tremendous additions to the competition."
England will kick off their autumn schedule against the Barbarians, live on Sky Sports on October 25, before completing their 2020 Six Nations campaign against Italy in Rome the following weekend.
Eddie Jones's side will play three of their four Autumn Nations Cup matches at Twickenham, with the venue for their match against Wales yet to be confirmed.
While England, Ireland and Scotland will play their 'home' matches at their usual stadiums, Wales, France and Italy have yet to confirm where their 'home' fixtures will be played.
"We have a new competition format this autumn and are expecting four quality Tests which will be a good challenge for us," Jones said.
"It will be great to get back to Twickenham. We have incredible fans and value their support - we want to play tough, vibrant rugby and make them proud."
Despite the announcement of the tournament coming a day after the British government altered plans to allow fans to return to stadiums for pilot events, Rugby Football Union chief executive Bill Sweeney says he is hopeful England supporters will be able to attend the matches at Twickenham.
"While it has not been possible to go ahead with our four originally scheduled Quilter Internationals, we have worked hard with the Six Nations and other unions to make sure we can deliver an exciting updated schedule given all the challenges Covid-19 has placed on international travel," Sweeney said.
"We remain cautiously optimistic about the return of fans to the stadium for the Quilter Internationals and look forward to hearing from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the detail following yesterday's government update. We will provide more information in due course."