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Page last updated at 18:05 GMT, Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Six Nations to end experiment of Friday night matches

Wales hosted France in a Friday night game in 2010
Wales and France have played in the previous Six Nations Friday night games

Wales's game with England next week will be the last Friday night match in the Six Nations for the foreseeable future.

Championship chief executive John Feehan has confirmed the experiment will be scrapped for 2012 and 2013.

The Six Nations will still end with three games on Saturday but on every other weekend there will be two games on the Saturday and one on the Sunday.

The introduction of Friday night Six Nations games has proved controversial.

Wales play England at the Millennium Stadium on 4 February in the first Friday night opener of a Six Nations Championship in its 128-year history.

With stadia at full capacity, television is the best way to increase the number of people watching matches. We feel that the fixture schedules for the next two years will deliver on this

Six Nations chief executive John Feehan

The match is also the first time that two home union sides will meet on a Friday night as France and Wales have competed in the previous fixtures.

France met Wales at the Stade de France in 2009 in the first Friday night game in the Championship's history - a 21-16 home victory - before the corresponding fixture in Cardiff in 2010, which France won 26-20.

The Six Nations' Friday night trial has not been popular with supporters or players but the matches enjoyed bumper television viewing figures.

Rail companies warned of potential disruption and some train services into Cardiff look set to be disrupted when England visit Wales as rail union RMT has confirmed it will strike on 4 February after talks with Arriva Trains Wales over pay broke down.

Despite the end of the Friday night experiment, Feehan is confident it will not affect TV audiences.

"With stadia at full capacity, television is the best way to increase the number of people watching matches," he said.

"We feel that the fixture schedules for the next two years will deliver on this."


Six Nations fixtures for 2012 and 2013:

2012

4 February
France v Italy (1430 GMT)
Scotland v England (1700 GMT)

5 February
Ireland v Wales (1500 GMT)

11 February
Italy v England (1600 GMT)
France v Ireland (2000 GMT)

12 February
Wales v Scotland (1500 GMT)

25 February
Ireland v Italy (1330 GMT)
England v Wales (1600 GMT)

26 February
Scotland v France (1500 GMT)

10 March
Wales v Italy (1430 GMT)
Ireland v Scotland (1700 GMT)

11 March
France v England (1500 GMT)

17 March
Italy v Scotland (1230 GMT)
Wales v France (1445 GMT)
England v Ireland (1700 GMT)

2013

2 February
Wales v Ireland (1330 GMT)
England v Scotland (1600 GMT)

3 February
Italy v France (1500 GMT)

9 February
Scotland v Italy (1430 GMT)
France v Wales (1700 GMT)

10 February
Ireland v England (1500 GMT)

23 February
Italy v Wales (1430 GMT), England v France (1700 GMT)

24 February
Scotland v Ireland (1400 GMT)

9 March
Scotland v Wales (1430 GMT), Ireland v France (1700 GMT)

10 March
England v Italy (1500 GMT)

16 March
Italy v Ireland (1430 GMT), Wales v England (1700 GMT), France v Scotland (2000 GMT)



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see also
Rail strike on Six Nations opener
26 Jan 11 |  Wales
Johnson backs Hartley to respond
26 Jan 11 |  Rugby Union
Faletau suffers Wales injury blow
25 Jan 11 |  Welsh
Williams 'sharp' for Six Nations
26 Jan 11 |  Welsh
Gatland questions Hartley value
25 Jan 11 |  Welsh
Williams omitted from Wales squad
23 Jan 11 |  Welsh
England call up Dowson and Wood
24 Jan 11 |  Rugby Union
Pickering defends Friday opener
14 Apr 10 |  Welsh
Wales 20-26 France
26 Feb 10 |  Rugby Union
France 21-16 Wales
27 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
Rugby's Friday night project
26 Feb 09 |  Wales


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