Scotland’s Stuart McInally would relish new eight-team autumn tournament

Scotland forward Stuart McInally is excited by the prospect of a new-look international rugby tournament in the autumn.

It is understood that plans for an eight-team competition in November and December are well advanced.

Scotland would host Japan and France and travel to Italy and then play off against the equivalent ranked team in the other group, which will contain England, Wales, Ireland and Fiji.

The plans – as well as an October 31 date for Scotland’s final Guinness Six Nations clash in Wales – are expected to be confirmed this week.

Scotland had been due to host New Zealand, Argentina and Japan in November before the coronavirus pandemic threw sporting schedules up in the air and McInally is intrigued by the provisional one-off event.

“I think it looks really exciting,” said the Edinburgh player, who captained Scotland during their November series last year.

“We often get the chance to play teams from around the globe around autumn time so it’s good to welcome Japan and Fiji. It’s just something different and different is often quite exciting.

“It’s going to be busy, there will be a lot of games in a short space of time, I’m sure it will be good to be involved in that.”

Scotland Rugby World Cup Squad Announcement – Linlithgow Palace
Scotland Rugby World Cup Squad Announcement – Linlithgow Palace

With World Rugby working with unions to introduce a more structured and competitive international calendar, the tournament could be a taster of things to come.

McInally said: “I’ve always really enjoyed playing in the autumn Tests and the chance to play teams like New Zealand, Australia, teams you normally never get the chance to play unless you are lucky enough to tour there.

“But at the same time, if there is a competitive side to a tournament, that’s also really exciting. If this does carry forward it looks a really positive set-up.

“But my own experience of the autumn is playing these incredible teams from around the world in one-off games and that’s also really exciting and I know it’s exciting for the fans as well. Whatever they do, I am sure it will be great to watch.”