Rugby league Six Nations structure to feature two three-team groups

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The England side which takes part in next year’s Six Nations tournament, the planning for which was revealed by League Express last month, will compete in a three-team group with Italy and Ireland, as more details about the tournament’s framework can be unfolded.

Rather than a six-team round robin stage like in rugby union’s Six Nations, the Rugby League alternative will instead comprise two three-team groups. From those two groups, the winners will then meet in a final to determine the champions.

England’s group games will see them host the Italians as well as making a much-anticipated trip to Ireland to face Mark Aston’s Wolfhounds. That game, it appears, would probably be held in Dublin.

The other group will see Scotland host France before they travel to Wales to face John Kear’s side, with the other game a home match for the French against Wales.

The tournament will take place next autumn, around the same time as England’s Test series against New Zealand, which the Rugby Football League confirmed details of last month, with the BBC last week confirming that they will broadcast the Test series.

That means it is likely to be an England Knights side which competes in the tournament, although Egan said last month he would be disappointed if the full England side did not compete.

“Super League clubs won’t release the likes of Kyle Amor to play against England B, so if we’re paying England, we want it to be the real deal,” he said.

Following their narrow defeat in Saturday’s World Cup Final to Australia, England’s next scheduled fixture is now set for mid-season next year – though the opposition and location is yet to be determined.

Talks, League Express understands, had taken place about even moving the game to a neutral location such as the United States of America, with Denver mooted as a potential location for a match against New Zealand.

However, it is understood that if a potential opposition was to be from the southern hemisphere, the logistics of NRL sides releasing players to travel that far means a game in Denver looks increasingly unlikely. That has left the RFL looking at alternative venues and locations for the game.