The Six Nations is here again. Now in its 11th series, the biggest event in the European Rugby Union calendar is about to kick off in all its colourful and bruising glory. This year will be another intriguing affair with its fair share of euphoria and heartbreak. It all starts on Saturday 6th of February when the holders, Ireland, take on Italy.
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This year, all the games will be covered by the BBC and as well as the usual afternoon kick offs, there will be another evening game. Last year the late kick-off proved a real success. So in a repeat encounter, Wales will host France at 20.00 on the 26th February.
France are favourites to land the title this year but don't be too surprised at an upset. They haven't fulfilled their promise for some years. Expect the usual eccentric team selections and moments of brilliance and despair.
Italy are still looking to find their feet in the tournament and are short odds to pick up the wooden spoon. They will be desperate to make their mark this year.
Ireland had to wait 23 years to win the tournament again and will be eager to maintain their form from last year. They will take some stopping.
Wales 2008 champions, went close in 2009 and are performing much more consistently these days so will fancy their chances again.
England on the other hand have been struggling to find any consistency for some years. They may hope to gain some momentum from having the 100th anniversary of test rugby at Twickenham on February 6th. Expect a fair deal of chest beating and 'swing low.'
Scotland have a decent crop of players but will want to be more than just a banana skin for other fancied teams. Will this be their year at last? Fancy watching rugby in 3D? Forty Odeon and Cineworld cinemas in England are to screen live 3D coverage. Both England's official centenary match against Wales on the 6th of February and the Ireland fixture on the 27th will be shown in three dimensions.