England women to kick-off Six Nations campaign at Doncaster

England captain Sarah Hunter insists the reduced format of the delayed Women’s Six Nations will not take any gloss off the tournament.

England's Sarah Hunter: Title priority.

The Six Nations, revamped due to the coronavirus pandemic, begins on Saturday and will be played across four weekends in April.

Rather than play each team, countries will be split into two pools and play two group games – one home and one away – before a finals Saturday on April 24.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

That means there will be no grand slam on offer for holders England, who begin their campaign against Scotland at Castle Park, Doncaster, on Saturday.

But Hunter said: “It’s not something I’ve thought about. You get so focused on a game.

“First it’s Scotland, and then it’s about how we prepare over the next few weeks to get ourselves to that final game. Ultimately, it’s about winning a Six Nations.

“What you classify it as is not down to us as players and it won’t change our mindset about what we want to do or how we want to do it. We’ll leave that down to the organisers.”

France face Wales on the same day in an evening kick-off at Stade de la Rabine in Vannes.

Round two takes place on Saturday, April 10, when England play Italy in Padova while Wales take on Ireland at Cardiff Arms Park.

The pool stage concludes the following week with France travelling to Ireland before Scotland host Italy.

Eye-tracking technology will be trialled to assist with the detection of concussions in the sport, World Rugby has announced.

In competitions trialling the technology, it will be used in-match alongside the sport’s existing head injury assessment (HIA) process and also as part of the return-to-play steps.

Studies have found that eye movement, or oculomotor function, is altered at the time a concussion is suffered, or shortly after, and the technology being trialled should pick up any changes in that function.

Two technology providers – EyeGuide and NeuroFlex – will be involved in the trials, with details of the competitions they will be used in yet to be confirmed.

The news comes at a time when the treatment of head injuries in rugby and in all sports is under scrutiny, and when a legal action on behalf of nine former players suffering from early onset dementia has been launched against World Rugby, the Rugby Football Union and the Welsh Rugby Union.