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Six Nations: Wales to start title defence against Ireland, England face Scotland in opening round

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Wales travel to face Ireland in their opening match of 2022 Six Nations; Scotland host England on opening weekend, while France take on Italy in Paris; the tournament will run from February 5 until March 19; Six Nations chief executive hopeful tournament will take place with fans

Wales will begin their Six Nations title defence against Ireland on February 5

Wales will begin their Six Nations title defence against Ireland on February 5

Six Nations champions Wales will start the defence of their title away to Ireland after the fixtures for the 2022 campaign were confirmed.

The tournament will run from February 5 until March 19, with ‘Le Crunch’ – France vs England – lined up to conclude proceedings on a Championship Super Saturday.

England and Scotland will again meet in an opening-round clash, this time at Murrayfield, while France host Italy a day later on February 6.

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Six Nations chief executive Ben Morel is hopeful the next edition of the tournament will take place with fans in attendance after the 2021 campaign had to be played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus restrictions.

“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 Guinness Six Nations atmosphere into sitting rooms, pubs and rugby clubs all over the world,” Morel said.

 Wales are the defending champions, having narrowly missed out on the Grand Slam in this year's tournament Wales are the defending champions, having narrowly missed out on the Grand Slam in this year’s tournament

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Wayne Pivac’s Wales were on course for a Grand Slam before they lost out in France to a last-minute try and the pair will do battle on a Friday night at the Principality Stadium on March 11 to kick-start round four.

It will be one of three home fixtures for Wales, who also host Scotland before they finish in Cardiff against Italy on March 19.

Two matches will be played at Twickenham in the 2022 Six Nations, with England set to entertain Wales and Ireland in back-to-back round three and four games before they travel to Paris for a Super Saturday finale.

England face Scotland in their opening match of next year's competition England face Scotland in their opening match of next year’s competition

Scotland, who finished fourth after a dramatic win in France, also have two home fixtures while Ireland – third in 2021 – will welcome Wales, Italy and Scotland to the Aviva Stadium in next year’s championship.

Morel added: “The drama of Super Saturday with France’s last-minute win against Wales, meant that the winner of the Championship was only revealed after the final match was played.

“It was an amazing effort from many people to make the Championship happen, not least the players and staff from the unions, the broadcasters, media and our partners.

“That effort paid off in the shape of record TV audiences and the most engaged Championship we’ve ever seen. It was truly a special achievement. This Guinness Six Nations entertained many of our long-standing fans and I believe we won plenty of new ones as well.”

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