Gerry Thornley on pitfalls of a home and away Six Nations; Premier League return edges closer

The Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Hurricans train in New Zealand ahead of their return to action. Photo: Elias Rodriguez/Inpho

Hurricans train in New Zealand ahead of their return to action. Photo: Elias Rodriguez/Inpho

After last week’s address by IRFU chief executive Philip Browne the message is very clear – rugby needs to be played this year to avoid huge financial problems. One of the potential solutions to increasing the number of matches and maximising TV and advertising revenue – with no matchday income available – is to play a home and away Six Nations. However, Gerry Thornley writes in his column this morning that such an idea could be the ruination of the tournament. “The Six Nations need only look at the Rugby Championship as a cautionary tale or, even more so, the once almighty Super Rugby. While expansions and reaching into new territory are commendable, both have suffered for the constant tampering,” he writes. Meanwhile, 10-year Aviva Stadium ticket holders are seeking clarity over their payments during the likely prolonged stretch of time when fans won’t be allowed at matches. A third and final payment of €8,7000 is due by June 1st and the IRFU said they will be correspnding with ticket holders soon.

Moving on to soccer and the return of the Premier League looks to be inching closer with yet another vote set to take place this week. Today the clubs will be able to examine the rules for a return to contact training with a vote on the matter set to take place tomorrow. One area of uncertainty that remains over the protocols is the rules it will set on quarantine, specifically regarding players who have not failed a test but have come into contact, while training, with someone who has. Meanwhile, with the Football League also looking to make a return there are reports that crowd noises may be piped into grounds to create some sort of atmosphere.

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