Cape Town - England
will start the defence of their Six Nations title away to Italy, it was
announced on Tuesday after organisers published the fixtures for both the
2018 and 2019 Championships.
Eddie Jones' men begin their 2018 campaign in Rome on February 4
against an Italy side who, although they finished bottom and without a
win, briefly caused England problems with their 'no-ruck' ploy at
Twickenham during this season's Six Nations.
England are then at home to Wales before travelling to Edinburgh for a
Calcutta Cup clash against Scotland and playing France away before
concluding their Championship at home to Ireland on March 17 - the
middle game of 'Super Saturday' when all six teams are in action.
Ireland, who denied England back-to-back Grand Slams this year, begin
their Six Nations away to France on February 3 with Wales at home to
Scotland on the same day.
The Championship has remained a seven-week competition, with rest
weeks after the second and third rounds, despite the likes of England's
2003 World Cup-winning coach Clive Woodward calling for it to be
shortened into a five-week event to better replicate what happens at
rugby union's major global tournament.
France will continue to fly the flag for Friday night rugby, which
has been criticised for making life more difficult for away supporters
in particular, by hosting Italy in 2018 and Wales in 2019.
The 2019 fixture list also has England away to Ireland on the opening
weekend - a potentially key game in deciding the title-winners.
Friday night rugby remains a part of the competition in both seasons, with France hosting Italy in 2018 and Wales in 2019.
The final round of matches on March 16, 2019 sees Italy at home to
France, Wales welcoming Ireland to Cardiff and England taking on
Scotland at Twickenham.
"We are delighted to confirm the fixture dates for the 2018
Championship, coming shortly after a record-breaking 2017 edition," Six
Nations Rugby chairperson Pat Whelan said in a statement.
"We enjoyed record figures across TV and digital and look forward to continuing that trend over the next two seasons."
Wales v Scotland, Saturday - 14:15
France v Ireland, Saturday - 16:45
Italy v England, Sunday - 15:00
Ireland v Italy, Saturday - 14:15
England v Wales, Saturday - 16:45
Scotland v France, Sunday - 15:00
France v Italy, Friday - 20:00
Ireland v Wales, Saturday - 14:15
Scotland v England, Saturday - 16:45
Ireland v Scotland, Saturday - 14:15
France v England, Saturday - 16:45
Wales v Italy, Sunday - 15:00
Italy v Scotland, Saturday - 12:30
England v Ireland, Saturday - 14:45
Wales v France, Saturday - 17:00
France v Wales, Friday - 20:00
Scotland v Italy, Saturday - 14:15
Ireland v England, Saturday - 16:45
Scotland v Ireland, Saturday - 14:15
Italy v Wales, Saturday - 16:45
England v France, Sunday - 15:00
France v Scotland, Saturday - 14:15
Wales v England, Saturday - 16:45
Italy v Ireland, Sunday - 15:00
Scotland v Wales, Saturday - 14:15
England v Italy, Saturday - 16:45
Ireland v France, Sunday - 15:00
Italy v France, Saturday - 12:30
Wales v Ireland, Saturday - 14:45
England v Scotland, Saturday - 17:00