DUBLIN (AP)Six Nations champion France will begin its title defense at the 2023 tournament by playing Italy in Rome before facing Ireland the following weekend in Dublin.
The schedule was announced Wednesday and again features the Calcutta Cup in the first round with Scotland visiting Twickenham looking for a third straight victory over England.
The competition kicks off on Feb. 4 with Wales hosting Ireland, which took the Triple Crown this year.
France won the Six Nations for first time in 12 years after beating England 25-13 to complete the Grand Slam in March and, like the tournament’s other top teams, will have an eye next year on the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
France hosts Scotland in the third round before traveling to England and finishing at home against Wales on March 18.
In Round 4, Wales travels to Rome seeking revenge for losing to the Italians this year in what was Italy’s first Six Nations victory in seven tournaments.
The other ”Super Saturday” final games are Scotland hosting Italy, while England plays in Dublin for what figures to be a lively matchup on St. Patrick’s Day weekend.
There are no Friday night games on next year’s schedule.
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