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Six Nations guide 2009
Six Nations captains (from left) Brian O'Driscoll (Ireland), Steve Borthwick (England), Lionel Nallet (France), Ryan Jones (Wales), Sergio Parisse (Italy), Mike Blair (Scotland)

The world's most successful rugby tournament is about to resume in earnest as the 2009 Six Nations gets under way on 7 February.

Now in its 10th season since the old Five Nations became Six, Wales will be defending the title they won with a Grand Slam last year, their second in four years.

So will Warren Gatland's side be celebrating again come Saturday, 21 March, the final day of this year's championship?

Can England recover from a sobering autumn? Will Ireland regain their old spark? Can Scotland convert promise into real progress? Or will Italy - who joined the party in 2000 - confound expectations?

In this wonderfully unpredictable event, nothing is certain. Bryn Palmer guides you through the central characters and assesses the prospects for each country.

Let us know your own thoughts by joining the discussion on 606.

see also
RBS agrees 20m Six Nations deal
28 Jan 09 |  Rugby Union

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