The unions of England, Wales, Ireland, France, Italy and Scotland are holding talks this week, with one of the many potential scenarios under discussion a full 15-match, eight-week tournament to be held in October and November.

The report said plans for the tournament were being drawn up amid concerns that the COVID-19 pandemic would prevent New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina from touring Europe in November.

Six Nations
Wales' Six Nations clash with Scotland postponed
13/03/2020 AT 13:11

"Some people will no doubt throw their hands up in the air and accuse us of devaluing the tournament, but what do they expect us to do?" The Rugby Paper quoted an official as saying.

"In such exceptional circumstances we would be failing in our duty to the game as a whole if we didn't have a contingency plan."

England's fly-half George Ford (C) runs through the Ireland defence

Image credit: Getty Images

Rugby, like virtually all sport around the world, has been hit hard by the new coronavirus outbreak. This year's Six Nations saw four matches postponed.

The sport's governing body World Rugby has already created a relief fund of around $100 million to assist unions as they grapple with the financial impact of the pandemic.

The report added that an unprecedented second Six Nations event this year had the potential to generate more than 100 million pounds ($123.31 million) in ticket sales.

Six Nations
England's Marler must avoid being embarrassment to the team - Woodward
09/03/2020 AT 10:15
Six Nations
Scotland crush France's Grand Slam dream after Haouas sees red
08/03/2020 AT 17:32