England’s likely Autumn Nations Cup final showdown against France could be played in front of 2,000 fans scattered around Twickenham
- The Government confirmed fans will be allowed into stadiums from December 2
- England are on course to face France in Autumn Nations Cup final four days later
- Easing of restrictions has opened up possibility of a modest crowd attending
- RFU await guidance on which tier Richmond-upon-Thames will be placed in
England may be able to play in front of 2,000 fans scattered around the vast stands at Twickenham on December 6 — subject to Government clarification.
Eddie Jones’s side are on course to face France in the Autumn Nations Cup final and the easing of lockdown restrictions opens up the possibility of a modest crowd attending the event.
However, the RFU await guidance on which tier Richmond-upon-Thames — the borough in which the national stadium is located — will be placed in, and it is unlikely to be Tier 1.
England will be desperate to play in front of their fans at Twickenham again on December 6
If it is Tier 2, that would pave the way for 2,000 spectators to be allowed into the 82,000-capacity stadium, subject to confirmation that people can use public transport to move between tiers.
The RFU are keen to welcome fans if it is feasible, but the union must decide if the match-day costs for stewards and security staff would prove prohibitive for such small numbers.
There is no prospect of the game being moved to an alternative venue in a Tier 1 zone. Twickenham will host the fixture come what may.
The Autumn Nations Cup final on December 6 could be played in front of 2,000 fans
Meanwhile, Premiership clubs are waiting to find out in which tier their area will be after lockdown ends on December 2. They are desperate to have crowds back — amid mounting financial losses — but each club will have a viability threshold.
For example, it is understood that Exeter, in an area of relatively low Covid rates, could not justify the cost of bringing in 2,000 fans per game, but permission for 4,000 would guard against making a match-day loss.
The Devon club have consulted safety experts, have plans in place, and if clearance comes from the Government they would hope to have 4,000 spectators at Sandy Park for the visit of Glasgow in the Heineken European Champions Cup on December 13.