England to face Scotland and Wales host Ireland in 2023 Six Nations openers – The Guardian

England to face Scotland and Wales host Ireland in 2023 Six Nations openers – The Guardian

If the 2023 men’s Six Nations fixtures look familiar it is because the organisers seem to be allergic to change. The list of games for the championship next year is all but identical to the 2021 schedule, save for a couple of tweaked kick-off times, and is almost precisely the same as the 2022 French-dominated tournament that concluded last month.
For the third consecutive year England will play Scotland and Wales will meet Ireland on the opening weekend, the only notable tweak being the reversal of the final two rounds of games. Rather than England ending up in Paris again they are due to head to Dublin for their last tournament outing before the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.
It means three of England’s first four games will be at Twickenham, with not even a Friday night kick-off in Cardiff to overcome. For the second time in three years there will be no Friday night rugby whatsoever, with Six Nations organisers more focused on creating another thrilling denouement to the world’s oldest tournament.
The concluding Ireland v England fixture will also be England’s final Six Nations game with Eddie Jones as their head coach, one of many compelling storylines that Ben Morel, the Six Nations chief executive, hopes will ensure another dramatic finale.
“The 2022 championship ended in one of the most exciting Super Saturdays in history,” Morel said. “Once again fans had to wait until the final game was played to know who this year’s champions would be and the rugby action did not disappoint.”
The Women’s Six Nations, meanwhile, continues to capture the public imagination with 14,648 tickets already sold for the Red Roses’ game against Ireland in Leicester on Sunday. The existing world record for a women’s fixture is 17,740 and the England v Wales game at Kingsholm attracted almost 15,000 fans.
Domestically Northampton’s Dan Biggar has been suspended for three weeks following his red card for a dangerous tackle on Gloucester’s Chris Harris and will miss his side’s next two Premiership games, against Bath and Harlequins. Biggar’s suspension was halved from the entry point of six weeks because of his guilty pleas and previous clean disciplinary record and if he completes a World Rugby coaching module he will be free to play again from 2 May.
Bristol’s Semi Radradra, however, is to undergo more knee surgery and will miss the rest of his club’s campaign. The Fijian had major surgery on his other knee last year after being injured in the semi-finals of the Olympic sevens event in Tokyo. Another Bears’ centre, Antoine Fritsch, will be moving to Munster at the end of the season on a three-year deal. The French-born Frisch, 25, is Irish qualified via a maternal grandmother from Dublin.
Munster and Leinster will play their European Champions Cup quarter-finals on the same day, Saturday 7 May. Munster will face Toulouse at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium because of a clash with an Ed Sheeran concert at Thomond Park after which Leinster will meet the English league leaders Leicester at Welford Road, kicking off at 5.30pm.


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