The 2017 RBS Six Nations tournament will kick off on Saturday, February 4, as champions England renew their rivalry with France at Twickenham Stadium.
Scotland will take on Ireland, while Italy host Wales in Rome on Sunday. Here's a look at the schedule for Round 1, complete with TV and live-stream info.
|Six Nations Schedule|
|Saturday, Feb. 4||2:25 p.m. GMT||Scotland||Ireland||BBC|
|Saturday, Feb. 4||4:50 p.m. GMT||England||France||ITV|
|Sunday, Feb. 5||4 p.m. GMT||Italy||Wales||ITV|
England will attempt to become only the sixth team to defend the Grand Slam, beginning at home against France. Coach Eddie Jones and his troops are favourites for the title, with Ireland expected to be their toughest competition.
As shared by BBC Sport's Tom Fordyce, Jones expects a fierce challenge from Les Bleus in Round 1, though:
Eddie Jones (grinning): "There have been 20 wars between England and France. That's a lot of wars. And there'll be another one on Saturday."2017-2-2 13:20:56
France held their own against New Zealand and Australia in the autumn Tests but ended up losing both matches by a combined seven points. The team appears in better form than last year but are always a bit of a question mark ahead of the Six Nations, and their under-the-radar status this year might help them.
Pundits and fans are already talking about the Ireland-England clash in Dublin on March 18 as a title-decider, but Les Bleus have been looking forward to Saturday's match more than any―the chance to avenge last year's loss in Paris.
Wesley Fofana won't be active, which is a major blow for France, but England have major absentees of their own. Chris Robshaw won't feature, and Mako and Billy Vunipola have both been sidelined for some time already.
Kicking may prove the key in this one―France always tend to do well from the tee, and Owen Farrell's spotty form could spell trouble.
Ireland flashed their remarkable talent with wins over Australia and New Zealand in November, and after last year's injury-hit campaign, coach Joe Schmidt and his players will be out to reclaim their standing as Europe's top team.
Today FM's Ross Lindsay shared these comments from the coach, who seemed confident in his team's ability to beat Scotland:
Ross Lindsay @Ross_A_Lindsay
Joe Schmidt is quietly confident heading into @IrishRugby @SixNationsRugby opener, but it will be no 'cake walk'. https://t.co/uHqoZLfsTk2017-2-2 16:12:05
On paper, Scotland are one of the weaker teams in this year's Six Nations, but a trip to Murrayfield is never easy. Johnny Sexton's fitness is an issue, and with Jared Payne sidelined, there are some question marks regarding the depth in the centre of the pitch.
Scotland will say goodbye to coach Vern Cotter after the tournament, so expect the team to battle hard for results as well.
Italy enter the Six Nations with high hopes after their shock win over South Africa in November, and their home match against Wales should be one of their best chances of grabbing a win this year.