2020 Rugby Roundup

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, we draw closer to the end of 2020 by taking a look at all the different Rugby highlights the past 12 challenging months has given us.

With the hopeful promise of mass vaccination just over the horizon, here’s to wishing everyone a safe and healthy holiday season, and better days ahead in 2021.

January:

  • Saracens relegated from Premiership due to repeated salary-cap breaches.
  • 2020 Six Nations launched with new sponsorship, the championship named “Guinness Six Nations”.
  • France beat England in Paris, 24-17.
  • Super Rugby starts, Chiefs and Brumbies win first games.

February:

  • Hong Kong and Singapore Sevens postponed due to coronavirus outbreak
  • RFU denies rumors, World Cup winning coach Rassie Erasmus to head for England after 2021
  • Pro 14 matches in Italy postponed due to coronavirus, England vs Italy Guinness Six Nations game also postponed.

March:

  • England vs Wales Six Nation encounter marred by Marler “fondling” incident on Welsh captain Alun Wyn-Jones; England win 33-30, Marler banned for ten weeks.
  • Super Rugby cancelled as coronavirus spreads, Top 14 follow suit in France.
  • Guinness Pro14 suspended indefinitely, along with European Cups and Gallagher Premiership

April:

  • Raelene Castle steps down as Australia Rugby CEO, Eddie Jones extends contract with England Rugby.
  • World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont and Vice Chairman Agustin Pichot go head-to-head for the top job at World Rugby with Sir Bill eventually gaining re-election in May.

May:

  • July Internationals postponed as World Rugby launches “Return to Play” Guidelines.
  • Sam Cane named All Blacks captain.
  • Speculation and rumors abound on Springboks joining Six Nations.
  • Beauden Barrett sets fitness record on “Broncos drill” at his first training session with Auckland Blues.

June:

  • Super Rugby Aotearoa commences over ten weeks with five NZ-based Super Rugby teams taking part.
  • Dan Carter signs as injury cover for Auckland Blues, eventually however, never to take the field in Super Rugby Aotearoa for his new team.
  • New Zealand named Men’s and Women’s Rugby Sevens Champions as coronavirus forces season to be cancelled.

July:

  • Super Rugby AU begins with the four Super Rugby franchises joined by Western Force.
  • Kanaloa Hawaii Rugby awarded license to compete in USA’s Major League Rugby competition
  • British and Irish Lions Tour to South Africa confirmed for 2021

August:

  • Stade Francais players found with lung lesions, highly anticipated pre-season match against Toulon cancelled.
  • New Zealand brings back “North vs South” match, the first since its hiatus in 1995 besides one charity encounter back in 2012.
  • Crusaders win Super Rugby Aotearoa competition, some controversy over players disrespect of Maori carved winner’s trophy.

September:

  • 8-team Autumn Nations Cup format finalized as Australia and New Zealand name squads for Rugby Championship 2020 which will include Argentina but ultimately, not South Africa.
  • The first four rounds of the HSBC World Sevens Series scheduled for Dubai, Cape town, Hamilton and Sydney cancelled due to Covid-19, hopeful players and teams focus on preparing for Tokyo Olympics.

October:

  • Bristol wins European Challenge Cup, Exeter wins Heineken Championship Cup and Gallagher Premiership.
  • New Zealand draws against Australia in first Bledisloe Cup match, secure win in second and third encounter as new All Black Caleb Clarke wows global Rugby fans everywhere. Bledisloe Cup stays in New Zealand another year.
  • England vs Barbarians called off due to players disregard of coronavirus health protocols
  • Guinness Six Nations return to play, England win championship on points difference as Ireland defeats France 35-27 in Paris.

November:

  • Australia defeat New Zealand in Brisbane 24-22, winning Game 4 of their encounter this year.
  • Springboks commit to stay in Rugby Championship 2021
  • Historic moment as Argentina defeat New Zealand for the first time ever in the Tri-Nations Championship.
  • Eight team, Autumn Nations Cup commences.
  • Flamboyant former French winger Christophe Dominici dies at the age of 48.
  • All Blacks pay tribute to Argentinian football legend Maradona in pre-game haka, go on to defeat Los Pumas 38-0. New Zealand eventually crowned Rugby Championship winners as Australia draw against Argentina in the final match.

December:

  • Fiji matches against Italy and France scrapped due to coronavirus.
  • England beat France in dramatic extra time to lift Autumn Nations Cup.
  • Pool draw for RWC France 2023 sees France and New Zealand in opening match as Wales, Australia and Fiji drawn in same pool for third consecutive time.

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