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Page last updated at 18:10 GMT, Friday, 6 February 2009
2009 Six Nations
7 Feb-21 March

BBC coverage | 606 | Official site

England v Italy
Date: Saturday, 7 February Kick-off: 1500 GMT Venue: Twickenham
Ireland v France
Date: Saturday, 7 February Kick-off: 1700 GMT Venue: Croke Park
Scotland v Wales
Date: Sunday, 8 February Kick-off: 1500 GMT Venue: Murrayfield

Coverage: BBC One, BBC HD (Twickenham and Murrayfield games), BBC Red Button, Radio 5 Live and BBC Sport website

The Six Nations captains line up
Wales captain Ryan Jones defends his side's crown against Scotland

Europe's showpiece rugby union event, the 2009 RBS Six Nations, will begin in earnest on Saturday when England take on Italy at Twickenham at 1500 GMT.

Ireland, with new coach Declan Kidney at the helm, will face France at Croke Park in Dublin at 1700 GMT.

Champions Wales will begin the defence of their crown when they face Scotland at Murrayfield in Edinburgh on Sunday.

Wales are aiming to become only the sixth team in history to complete back-to-back Grand Slam victories.

While the adverse weather conditions have affected large parts of the sporting weekend, the venues of the three Six Nations matches have so far not suffered any significant problems.

Carl Hicks, BBC Sport

England's opening match will be their 250th at Twickenham as they look to continue their 100% record from 14 Tests against Italy.

Flanker Steffon Armitage will make his international debut alongside brother Delon as the pair become only the ninth set of siblings to play in the same England team.

But England have been forced into two late changes, with Harry Ellis taking over at scrum-half from Danny Care, who wrenched an ankle walking on some ice, and Jamie Noon coming in at outside centre for Mike Tindall, who injured his back in the gym.

Ireland have been boosted by the news that Rob Kearney has passed a fitness test and will take his place at full-back against France.

But Wales will be without Gavin Henson at Murrayfield because of a calf strain, so Tom Shanklin will start at centre against Scotland.

All matches are live on BBC ONE, the red button and online, with radio coverage from BBC Radio 5 Live and text commentaries on the BBC Sport website.

The matches at Twickenham and Murrayfield are also available on BBC HD.

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see also
Review - 2008 Six Nations season
02 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
England v Italy
06 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
Ireland v France (Sat)
06 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
Scotland v Wales (Sun)
06 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
Hadden expects tight Six Nations
06 Feb 09 |  Scottish
Axed Cipriani starts for Saxons
04 Feb 09 |  English

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