The Women’s Six Nations tournament could be pushed back to an April and May window, according to the PA news agency.

Ordinarily, the competition would take place between February and March, but the COVID-19 crisis is posing a challenge to organisers, along with overlap with the men’s Six Nations. The men’s tournament is pencilled in for 6 February and organisers hope the competition will still go ahead despite a potential travel ban coming into force in France.

French Rugby Federation (FRF) President Bernard Laporte told French radio station RMC: “It’s a puzzle, but I think we shouldn’t be alarmed about the Six Nations tournament.

“The tournament will be played with a health protocol decided by the government. Everything went well in the autumn and it will be the same for the upcoming Six Nations tournament. I’m not that worried.”

England are the only professional team competing in the women’s tournament, with other teams, including France, considered semi-professional. This has created difficulty in setting up bubbles and testing for players, many of which hold full-time jobs away from the sport.

It has been proposed that the Six Nations could double up as World Cup qualifiers if the tournament is postponed until later this year.

A Six Nations spokesperson commented: “We are working hard to hold the tournament as scheduled in each country, with COVID protocols further reinforced from the October to November period that saw the successful conclusion of the Six Nations 2020 and the Autumn Nations Cup.”

Talks will continue between the Six Nations, unions and the French government, with organisers expected to make an announcement later this week.