Six Nations organisers are in the dark as to whether the French Government will allow the championship to go ahead as planned.

The tournament kicks off on Saturday week with France having already been given the green light to travel to Italy for their opening game.

But nine days before the curtain rises on what Eddie Jones yesterday termed the “the world’s greatest tournament”, bosses are still awaiting a decision from the French on Les Bleus’ other games.

The French government's concerns over the spread of the UK strain of Covid-19 has already led to the cancellation of two rounds of the European Cup club competition and visitors to the country from outside the European Union must serve a one-week quarantine.

Six Nations boss Ben Morel insists he remains confident they will “get the right authorisation”, but admitted: “We are waiting for the final confirmation.”

England launch defence of their title in nine days time against a backdrop of uncertainty
England launch defence of their title in nine days time against a backdrop of uncertainty

He added: “Generally elite sport benefits from widespread exemptions because they have stringent protocols.

“What we are awaiting is the detail on the exemption and we need to understand: is the exemption for the players, for the operational staff, for both?

“We have provided all our protocols, we have been considered as extremely robust and we are seeking clarification on the specific rules about quarantine exemptions, which would look at entry from the UK, whether it is re-entry for the French teams or entry for the other unions.

“That is what we are dealing with.”

Tom Curry scores for England in their championship-clinching win over Italy in October
Tom Curry scores for England in their championship-clinching win over Italy in October

Chief executive Morel admits discussions were held about playing the tournament in one location but the conclusion was that the “magic” of playing it across Europe’s major capital cities must be maintained.

He also gave assurances that if any match is called off due to Covid that the “primary focus” will be to reschedule at the earliest opportunity rather than cancel.