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England captain Sarah Hunter not concerned about new Six Nations format

England captain Sarah Hunter not concerned about new Six Nations format
© Reuters
The 2021 tournament, revamped due to the coronavirus pandemic, begins on Saturday.

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

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.

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.

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Today's Olympic highlights header

Wednesday's key events


ROWING
· Team GB have dominated the men's coxless fours in recent Olympics, winning on each of the last five occasions, but this year they face some stiff competition. They are one of four rowing medal contenders for Great Britain today (2.10am)

SWIMMING
· Katie Ledecky and Ariarne Titmus face off again in the women's 200m freestyle final, with the latter having already come out on top in the 400m event (2.41am)
· Team GB's Abbie Wood is among the medal contenders in the women's 200m individual medley final, while teammate Alicia Wilson will also take part. USA's Kate Douglass was the fastest qualifier, while world and Olympic record holder Katinka Hosszu is also involved (3.45am)
· Katie Ledecky could make it two golds in one morning as she goes into the 1500m freestyle final as heavy favourite, having broken the Olympic record in qualifying (3.54am)
· Team GB were by far the fastest qualifiers for the men's 4x200m freestyle relay final and will therefore be favourites for another gold in the pool (4.26am)

RUGBY SEVENS
· Team GB take on New Zealand in the first men's semi-final, having been beaten by reigning champions Fiji but then come from behind to overcome USA on day two (3am)
· The sevens gold medal match takes place at Tokyo Stadium, with the winner of Great Britain vs. New Zealand taking on either Argentina or Fiji (10am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Joe Fraser and James Hall compete for Team GB in the men's all-around final (3.15am-6.10am)

CYCLING
· Anna Shackley will take part in the women's road time trial (from 3.30am)
· Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart have medal ambitions for Great Britain in the men's road time trial, although both will need to recover from the crash they suffered on Saturday (6am)

DIVING
· Jack Laugher bids to retain his men's 3m synchro diving title alongside new partner Daniel Goodfellow (7am)

EQUESTRIAN
· Charlotte Dujardin will look to add to her already legendary status with a third successive Olympic individual dressage title (9.30am-1.25pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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