International sell-out will now be played behind closed doors

4. England vs. France

Famously dubbed ‘Le Crunch’, you sense the deep-rooted dislike here goes all the way back to Agincourt, Trafalgar, Waterloo or maybe all three.

Take your pick! Ever since those famous battles France and England have traded blows and none more so than on the rugby field.

The intense dislike for one another reached new heights in the 1990s when England embarked on a run of eight wins on the bounce and the 1991 and 1992 seasons saw a low point in cross-channel relations.

“If 1991 was a closing time bar-room brawl, 1992 was the 1am dust-up in the car park,” was one newspaper’s report of the violence that unfolded.


3. Australia vs. New Zealand

A classic case of sibling rivalry which has turned into something a little more serious as the years have rolled past. For New Zealand, the opportunity to give big brother – at least in political, economic and geographical terms – a bloody nose a few times a year is one that is simply too good to be passed up.

As Steve Hansen, now the All Blacks head coach, put it in 2011: “We’ve gone to war and fought shoulder to shoulder. But they’re probably looked on as the big brother and we the little brother. And we want to belt them and they want to belt us.” Mostly the rivarly is knockabout stuff – in classic Aussie fashion, one of the country’s newspapers offered its readers a free voodoo doll of Sonny Bill Williams during the 2011 World Cup.Embed from Getty Images

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