The 2019 Six Nations begins next month to signal the route to the Rugby World Cup, with Ireland bidding to become the first team to win back-to-back Grand Slams in the current era and both England and Wales looking to send out statements of intent ahead of their World Cup assaults.
Ireland will be the team to beat after their incredible 2018, with Joe Schmidt’s side running away with the Six Nations title last year as well as beating the All Blacks in the autumn – not to mention boasting the World Rugby Player of the Year in Johnny Sexton.
However, with England and Wales not far off them with the bookmakers, this year’s instalment promises to be as competitive as ever – particularly given that Ireland and Wales do not meet until the final weekend of the tournament while England face the daunting task of going to Dublin on the opening weekend and Cardiff in week three.
France and Scotland cannot be discounted either, with both sides holding the potential to beat any team if they hit their stride on their day, while Italy Rugby will be looking to get back to winning ways after last season’s winless campaign.
Here’s everything you need to know about the 2019 Six Nations.
Fixtures and television details
Friday 1 February: France vs Wales – 8pm (BBC/S4C/TV3)
Saturday 2 February: Scotland vs Italy – 2:15pm (BBC/TV3)
Saturday 2 February: Ireland vs England – 4:45pm (ITV/TV3)
Saturday 9 February: Scotland vs Ireland – 2:15pm (BBC/TV3)
Saturday 9 February: Italy vs Wales – 4.45pm (ITV/S4C/TV3)
Sunday 10 February: England vs France – 3pm (ITV/TV3)
Saturday 23 February: France vs Scotland – 2:15pm (BBC/TV)
Saturday 23 February: Wales vs England – 4:45pm (BBCS4C/TV3)
Sunday 24 February: Italy vs Ireland – 3pm (ITV/TV3)
Saturday 9 March: Scotland vs Wales – 2:15pm (BBC/SC4/TV3)
Saturday 9 March: England vs Italy – 4:45pm (ITV/TV3)
Sunday 10 March: Ireland vs France – 3pm (ITV/TV3)
Saturday 16 March: Italy vs France – 12:30pm (ITV/TV3)
Saturday 16 March: Wales vs Ireland – 2:45pm (BBC/S4C/TV3)
Saturday 16 March: England vs Scotland – 5pm (ITV/TV3)
Every match will also be covered live by The Independent.
When are the squads unveiled?
All six teams have announced their squads for the opening games across the weekend of 1-3 February.