Wales open 2022 Six Nations defence against Ireland
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Paris (AFP) –
Six Nations champions Wales will kick off the defence of their title in 2022 with a trip to Dublin to play Ireland on February 5 while Scotland host England in the Calcutta Cup the same day, according to the fixtures released by the organisers on Wednesday.
The opening weekend will also see perennial wooden spoonists Italy running out against France in Paris.
There will be a return of Friday night rugby in the fourth round of matches when Wales host the French on March 11 at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.
The final round of matches on 'Super Saturday' on March 19 starts with Wales v Italy, followed by Ireland v Scotland and concludes with 'Le Crunch' as France meet England in Paris.
The 2021 championship was played entirely behind closed doors because of the coronavirus pandemic but organisers are hoping that supporters will be able to return to the stadiums next season.
"The 2021 Championship was one of the most competitive in history with eight of the 15 matches won by seven points or less," said Six Nations CEO Ben Morel.
"This Six Nations entertained many of our long-standing fans and I believe we won plenty of new ones as well.
"We look forward to next year's Championship with hopefully a return to normality when we can welcome fans back in stadia and bring that unrivalled Six Nations atmosphere into sitting rooms, pubs and rugby clubs all over the world."
The tournament began in 1883 between the 'Home Nations' of the United Kingdom -- England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.
France first joined in 1910 with the Five Nations becoming the Six Nations in 2000 with the addition of Italy.
February 5: Ireland v Wales, Scotland v England
February 6: France v Italy
February 12: Wales v Scotland, France v Ireland
February 13: Italy v England
February 26: Scotland v France, England v Wales
February 27: Ireland v Italy
March 11: Wales v France
March 12: Italy v Scotland, England v Ireland
March 19: Wales v Italy, Ireland v Scotland, France v England
© 2021 AFP