The fixtures for the 2023 championship have been announced
What are the 2023 Six Nations fixtures?
The 2023 Six Nations have been released, meaning fans can start planning their trips and circling their calendars.
The tournament will offer key preparation ahead of the Rugby World Cup the subsequent autumn, in addition to providing the latest chapters to multiple rivalries.
The competition begins on Saturday 4 February in a similar fashion to the start of the 2022 iteration. Wales and Ireland open proceedings with their encounter at the Principality Stadium, before England host Scotland later that afternoon.
Defending Grand Slam champions France begin their campaign the following day against Italy in Rome.
Round two is also the same as in 2022 with Ireland and France, comfortably the two best teams in that tournament, meeting in Dublin on Saturday 11 February.
And round three once again mirrors the previous championship, as Wales play bitter foes England at home on Saturday 25 February, while Ireland travel to Italy on the same day and Scotland go to France on the Sunday.
Round four is perhaps the most intriguing. It begins in Rome as Italy face Wales hoping to repeat this year’s stunning victory in Cardiff.
As soon as that match concludes, attention will switch to England’s match with France at Twickenham – the only regular Six Nations venue where les Bleus are yet to win during head coach Fabien Galthie’s reign.
The final round involves the usual ‘Super Saturday’, with all three games slated for 18 March. Scotland host Italy at the earlier time of 12.30pm, before France take on Wales and England travel to Ireland to conclude the tournament.
As usual, the tournament will be played over seven weekends, with a rest weekend scheduled either side of round three.
There are no Friday night games, with each round having two matches on Saturday and one on Sunday besides the Super Saturday finale.
Italy, who played in the less-coveted Sunday 3pm slot three times in 2022, have perhaps been rewarded for their win in Wales with three Saturday games for 2023.
However, they will not play at all in the widely-recognised primetime slot of late Saturday afternoon.
That time remains the reserve of England, who occupy it on four out of five weekends, two more than any other side.
As well as the usual settling of scores, the 2023 Six Nations offers each side crucial preparation time ahead of the World Cup the following autumn.
Besides warm-up matches in the summer, which are naturally played at reduced intensity with the actual tournament so close, the Six Nations will be the final Internationals before the global showpiece in France.
As such, Europe’s top-tier annual tournament will be the final chance to refine skills, systems and combinations in an atmosphere anything close to the subsequent World Cup.
Players can prove that they can handle the immense pressure of elite international rugby during the Six Nations, meaning the competition may also determine World Cup selection.
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