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The 2019 edition of the European Six Nations Championship will begin Friday, February 1 when Wales visit France for a 2 p.m. match in the Stade de France, Paris.

Ireland aim to retain their 2018 title, a Grand Slam, undefeated season against the other five teams.  That tournament victory, and their win in Dublin over the All Blacks last November, have secured the Irish a firm second place in the World Rugby rankings.

The initial test for Ireland will be the first contest against England at home on Saturday, February 2. England, winner of the Six Nations’ title in 2017, fell on hard times in 2018, nowhere more noticeable than in the event where the Red Roses went 2-3 and dropped to fifth place. England not only lost to Ireland last year but also to Scotland and to France. Finally, England also were defeated in the anticipated match with the All Blacks at Twickenham during New Zealand’s November tour.

2018 Results    Points

Ireland 5 -0      26

Wales 3-2        15

Scotland 3-2    13

France 2-3       11

England 2-3     10

Italy 0-5           1

Foremost for the team managers in this 2019 tournament will be winnowing down the squads to select the most competitive teams for the RWC that begins in September. The countries will have five and a half months after the end of the Six Nations in March to allow injured players a chance to recover for September’s event in Japan.

The RWC draw will have two pools where two Six Nations competitors will meet: Ireland against Scotland, and France versus England.

Wales’ performance in this year’s Six Nations could be a precursor of how they will perform in Japan in September. The Welsh are in the same pool as Australia, the RWC 2015 runner up. Wales won 9-6 against the Wallabies in Cardiff last November.

Stadiums and Capacity

England: Twickenham – 82,000

France : Stade de France – 81,300

Ireland : Aviva – 51,700

Italy: Stadio Olimpico – 73,300

Scotland – Murrayfield – 67,100

Wales: Millennium – 74,500