MX23RW : Wednesday, October 24 05:48:32

England to begin Six Nations defence in Italy

England to begin Six Nations defence in Italy
© SilverHub
England will begin their quest for a third successive Six Nations title away to Italy in Rome on Sunday February 4, 2018.

England will begin the defence of their Six Nations title away to Italy in Rome on Sunday February 4, 2018.

Eddie Jones's side have won the past two editions of the tournament and are looking to become the first team to win it three times on the bounce in the Six Nations era.

England will welcome Wales to Twickenham in the second week of the 2018 campaign before taking on Scotland and France away and finishing the tournament at home to Ireland on March 17.

Wales and France have both been handed home fixtures on the opening weekend - against Scotland and Ireland respectively - with the tournament remaining a seven-week competition despite calls for it to be cut to five weeks.

"We are delighted to confirm the fixture dates for the 2018 Championship, coming shortly after a record-breaking 2017 edition," Six Nations Rugby chairman Pat Whelan told the tournament's official website.

"We enjoyed record figures across TV and digital and look forward to continuing that trend over the next two seasons."

The fixture schedule for the 2019 tournament has also been released, with England away to Ireland and at home to France in the opening two weekends.

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The Six Nations trophy before the RBS Six Nations match between Wales and Italy at the Millennium stadium on February 1, 2014
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