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This year’s Six Nations fixtures are underway and the rugby loving populations of England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales have all got their weekends booked up until mid-March! There is always fascination throughout the six countries when the six nations rugby schedule is published. Flights are booked, tickets are purchased and plans are made for the end of winter and the start of spring. Let’s take a closer look at the six nations fixtures for this year.
The tournament got underway on Saturday 11th February with Wales hosting Ireland in Cardiff and will conclude on 18th March when Ireland host England at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. There are only two rest weekends for six nations fans with no fixtures. The rugby supporting fraternity have already had to find alternative entertainment on the weekend of 18/19th February and will do so again over 4/5th March.
Before Italy joined the Six Nations in 2000, an individual team would enjoy a rest weekend but that is now a thing of the previous century with all teams having no fixture on set weekends.
The fixture kick off times vary from game to game but none begin before midday or after 16:00 CET on a Sunday. Rugby fans will have no complaints with three top quality games to feast their eyes on across each weekend. The competition will climax in mid-March with three games – in Edinburgh, Paris and Dublin – all on one Saturday afternoon.
Use the following fixture list as your go-to resource throughout the tournament. Rugby fans use the fixture list to make predictions on future results and, in some cases, work out when their country will be crowned the 2023 Six Nations Champions. With passionate crowds, home advantage counts for a huge amount in the Six Nations.
Wales 10-34 Ireland
England 23-29 Scotland
Italy 24-29 France
Ireland 32-19 France
Scotland 35-7 Wales
England 31-14 Italy
18/19th February – Rest Weekend
Italy 20-34 Ireland
Wales 10-20 England
France 32-21 Scotland
4/5th March – Rest Weekend
Italy 17-29 Wales
England 10 -53 France
Scotland 7-22 Ireland
18th March, Edinburgh. Scotland v Italy – 12:30
18th March, Paris. France v Wales – 14:45
18th March, Dublin. Ireland v England – 17:00
The format of the Six Nations has not been altered since its inception. All teams play each other once in what is known as a ‘round-robin’ format. With home advantage counting so much in this tournament, it alternates every year – i.e England hosted Scotland at Twickenham in Round 1 of this year’s competition but travelled to Edinburgh last year and will do so again in 2024.
The round-robin format also means that teams alternate between having three home fixtures and two away fixtures one year, and two home fixtures and three away fixtures the following year.
There has always been debate about how the format could be changed to make for a fairer tournament. The addition of a new team would at least mean that the sides could revert to an equal number of home and away fixtures, last seen in the 1999 Five Nations. The other option would be for the six teams to play each other home and away, but that would mean extending the tournament from 15 games to 30 matches. Even if the rest weekends were taken out of the six nations rugby schedule, 10 weekends would need to be taken up in what is already a crowded rugby calendar.
It has been an up and down tournament for England under their new head coach Steve Borthwick. They were beaten at home to Scotland in Round 1 but then bounced back with victories in Cardiff and against Italy in Twickenham. However, doubt still remained if England were a genuine challenger for the Six Nations and these were realised as they suffered their heaviest home defeat to France in Round 4.
The holders go into the final weekend of fixtures with a chance of retaining their title but in truth their chances are very slim. They produced an inspired display at Twickenham and scored seven tries but now require England to recover from that defeat within a week, go to Dublin and defeat the world number one ranked side! France are expected to dish out another big win in their final match of the tournament, at home to Wales.
In spite of not having a particularly good record in Cardiff, Ireland got off to a winning start in this year’s tournament with a convincing 34-10 victory at the Millenium Stadium in Round 1. They have followed up that win with victories at home against holders France, away to Italy in Rome and away to Scotland in Edinburgh. The Grand Slam is still on and Ireland will be excellent value for it after producing dominant display after dominant display across the comeptition. Caelon Doris is very much in the running for the Six Nations Player of the Championship award.
There was plenty of disappointment in Rome in Round 4 after Italy dominated possession but could not turn it into a victory against Wooden Spoon rivals Wales. This was particularly painful for the hosts who had beaten Wales in Cardiff in the 2022 Six Nations. Italy end this campaign with a trip to Edinburgh against a very strong but punctured Scotland who have lost their last two matches. Expect an open game but it would be a huge shock if Italy picked up a win.
A campaign which promised so much, and still floated the prospect of a Grand Slam before Round 3, has lost some of its direction after successive defeats to France and Ireland. The defeat to the Irish confirmed that Scotland would not be winning their first Six Nations title (they won the final Five Nations in 1999). Italy are their final opponents and an expected victory would mean an impressive, if slightly disappointing by the end, tournament for the Scots.
The good news for Welsh rugby fans is they are now very unlikely to take the unwanted Wooden Spoon title after returning from Italy with a 29-17 victory. However, the fact that the only source of happiness for the team is a win in Rome, highlights the tough job that head coach Warren Gatland has to turn this team into contenders for the World Cup later in the year.
Don’t miss any of the action as the 2023 Six Nations concludes this coming weekend. Plenty of experts expect Ireland to overwhelm England in Dublin and lift the Six Nations trophy for the first time since 2018. All will be revealed next Saturday when all six teams play for the final time.
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