Ireland will resume their disrupted 2020 Six Nations campaign in October, and play six games in seven weeks overall, World Rugby has confirmed.

International rugby was halted by the coronavirus pandemic in March, leaving four Six Nations matches left to play but now World Rugby has approved a temporary global player release window between October 24 and the first weekend of December.

Andy Farrell's side are expected to take on Italy in Dublin on Saturday 24 October and then travel to France for the final round of games a week later when Italy will host England and Wales face Scotland.

A programme of autumn internationals has also been approved by the governing body, and Ireland will take part in an eight-team Northern Hemisphere tournament in which the Six Nations sides will be joined by Japan and Fiji.

Ireland will play 'Eight Nations' group games against Wales (home), England (a) and Fiji (h) before facing the country with the same ranking in the other group in a play-off tie.

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said in a statement: "The global Covid-19 pandemic has been unprecedented in its impact on society and sport and throughout this process, all parties have sought to deliver the best-possible outcome to support the interests of international and club rugby and the players.


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"Agreement and approval of this schedule is exciting for players and fans and an important step in supporting our unions in mitigating financial impact and optimising the sport's return from the pandemic in an equitable way.

"These matches will be greatly anticipated by all, and I would like to thank unions, the international and club competitions and players for their input and the fans for their patience as we have sought to get international rugby back up and running."

On an exceptional basis, the Rugby Championship - contested by Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa - will take place over a reduced six-week period between November 7 and the second week in December.

SANZAAR (South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina Rugby), which organises the competition, has asked New Zealand to the host matches.

World Rugby vice-chairman Bernard Laporte said: "Today represents an important day for our sport as the first steps towards recovery from the global Covid-19 pandemic.

"This has been no small effort and there have been some robust conversations, but the position approved by council today represents the best interests of the global game and I look forward to seeing the world's best players doing what they do best back on the international stage."