Wednesday Lunchtime Sports Update

RUGBY

The fixtures for the 2020 and 2021 Six Nations tournaments have been announced.

Ireland will kick-off their first Championship campaign under Andy Farrell with back to back home games.

They will host Scotland and Wales, before a trip to face England in Twickenham.

The Irish team will return to the Aviva Stadium to play Italy, before a final weekend showdown with France in Paris.

The 2021 campaign will start in Cardiff.

France will visit Dublin in round 2 and England on the last day.

Leinster Senior Coach Stuart Lancaster is considering Irish citizenship.

The former England boss, who has been working with the Province since 2016, has agreed a new two year deal.

New Zealander Joe Schmidt became as Irish citizen in 2015.

Cumbria-born Lancaster has hinted he could do likewise.

None of the Welsh regions will be axed next season.

Officials in Wales have announced the Cardiff Blues, Dragons, Ospreys and Scarlets will continue to compete in the Pro 14 and European competitions.

The news comes two weeks after a proposed merger between Ospreys and Scarlets collapsed.

SOCCER

Matt Doherty is ready to line out on the wing for Ireland.

The Wolverhampton Wanderers defender could be deployed in midfield for the upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against Gibraltar and Georgia.

Manager Mick McCarthy has suggested he could fill in for the injured Callum O’Dowda.

It would also allow the in-form Dubliner to play alongside Captain Seamus Coleman.

Doherty says he is happy to adapt.

SOCCER

The Republic of Ireland Under 19s have had the ideal start to their European Championship Elite Round qualification campaign.

They beat Romania 5-nil in their first game at the mini tournament in Russia.

Southampton’s Jonathan Afolabi and Will Smallbone both scored twice.

The Republic of Ireland Women’s under-17s begin the elite phase of their Euro qualifying campaign against Norway in Edinburgh this evening.

RACING

There are 110 entries in total – including 19 British-trained entries – for this year’s Boylesports Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse on Easter Monday, April 22.

Jockey Denis O’Regan will ride Snugsborough Benny for trainer Liam Cusack in the big race and he says his intended mount has a nice weight and will have a great chance if the ground comes up in his favour.

There are three meetings in the UK today

Market Rasen, good; good to soft in places at 2pm
Haydock, soft; good to soft in places at 2.10pm
Chepstow, soft; good to soft in places at 2.20pm