We look forward to what promises to be a superb and closely contested championship – and back at the big numbers from previous years
By Chris Miller, Feature Writer
It’s always excellent news when the men’s Six Nations rolls around – and this year we’re fully expecting to enjoy the most competitive, high-quality tournament ever.
In France and Ireland the competition has the top two teams in the world rugby rankings. France, who took the Grand Slam last year and won every game they played in 2022, seem to have found the perfect balance between flair and solidity, with the skills and speed of fly-half Romain Ntamack, winger Damian Penaud and scrum-half Antoine Dupont backed up by a formidable pack built around No8 Gregory Aldritt of European champions La Rochelle.
It was Ireland, though, who ended the year ranked first in the world and no wonder, after an impressive Six Nations campaign that brought them the Triple Crown was followed by their first ever series win in New Zealand. In the autumn, they saw off South Africa, Fiji and Australia convincingly, with centre Bundee Aki and flanker Josh van der Flier in imperious form. Andy Farrell’s men look more than capable of claiming their first championship since 2018.
His son might have something to say about it, though… New England coach Steve Borthwick has retained Owen Farrell as captain, and he leads a team desperate to make up for their disappointing showings in the previous two campaigns. With the talent England have, like mighty back row forward Maro Itoje and full-back Freddie Steward, they always have the ability to get a result.
Wales have, bizarrely, alternated between first and fifth place over the past four Six Nations but they too have the players to beat anyone, including the exciting 21-year-old winger Louis “Rees Lightning” Rees-Zammit. And Warren Gatland, who guided them to three championships, is back as head coach.
Never rule out Scotland and Italy, either. Scotland have claimed the Calcutta Cup in four of the past five years and with three home games in 2023, they’ll have a good chance, thanks in part to the deadly kicking of fly-half Finn Russell. Italy have their own ace in the form of Ange Capuozzo, who was named World Rugby Men’s 15s Breakthrough Player of the Year in 2022; few will forget his mazy last-minute run in Cardiff to set up a try that broke the Azzurri’s long losing streak. They too have the advantage of three home games.
When does the 2023 Six Nations start on TV?
You can watch all the matches on Virgin TV, with the BBC, ITV and S4C showing the entire tournament live. And you can watch them wherever you are thanks to Virgin TV Go, an app available to all Virgin TV customers at no extra cost. You can register it on up to five devices and view on two devices simultaneously, with access to more than 100 live TV channels on the go on your iPhone, iPad, Android mobile or tablet, and PC/Mac. Find out everything you need to know about it here.
Here’s how the first fixtures in this year’s men’s Six Nations are looking…
Wales v Ireland
Saturday 4 February, 1.15pm, BBC One HD (CH 101) + S4C HD (CH 104/166)
England v Scotland
Saturday 4 February, 4pm, ITV1 HD (CH 103)
Italy v France
Sunday 5 February, 2.15pm, ITV1 HD (CH 103)
Scroll down to find the full list of matches for 2023.
With so much talent on show, everything is set for an absolutely fantastic competition that will go down in history. Speaking of history, the Six Nations has been running in its current format since 2000. Let’s take a look at some of the most impressive and memorable statistics from the competition over those seasons… and click/hover on the cross icons to find out more.
When can I watch the 2023 men’s Six Nations on Virgin TV?
Ireland v France
Saturday 11 February, KO 2.15pm, ITV1 HD (CH 103)
Scotland v Wales
Saturday 11 February, KO 4.45pm, BBC One HD (CH 101) + S4C HD (CH 104/166)
England v Italy
Sunday 12 February, KO 3pm, ITV1 HD (CH103)
Italy v Ireland
Saturday 25 February, KO 2.15pm, ITV1 HD (CH 103)
Wales v England
Saturday 25 February, KO 4.45pm, BBC One HD (CH 101) + S4C HD (CH 104/166)
France v Scotland
Sunday 26 February, KO 3pm, ITV1 HD (CH103)
Italy v Wales
Saturday 11 March, KO 2.15pm, ITV1 HD (CH 103) + S4C HD (CH 104/166)
England v France
Saturday 11 March, KO 4.45pm, ITV1 HD (CH 103)
Scotland v Ireland
Sunday 12 March, KO 3pm, BBC One HD (CH 101)
Scotland v Italy
Saturday 18 March, KO 12.30pm, BBC One HD (CH 101)
France v Wales
Saturday 18 March, KO 2.45pm, ITV1 HD (CH 103) + S4C HD (CH 104/166)
Ireland v England
Saturday 18 March, KO 5pm, ITV1 HD (CH 103)
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