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Wales to begin Six Nations defence in Ireland

Wayne Pivac's Wales clinched the 2021 championship after Scotland won their rearranged fixture with France.

Guinness Six Nations champions Wales will start the defence of their title away to Ireland after the fixtures for the 2022 campaign were confirmed.

The tournament will run from February 5 until March 19, with 'Le Crunch' – France v England – lined up to conclude proceedings on a Championship Super Saturday.

England and Scotland will again meet in an opening-round clash, this time at Murrayfield, while France host Italy a day later on February 6.

Six Nations chief executive Ben Morel is hopeful the next edition of the tournament will take place with fans in attendance after the 2021 campaign had to be played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus restrictions.

"We look forward to next year's Championship with hopefully a return to normality when we can welcome fans back in stadia and bring that unrivalled Guinness Six Nations atmosphere into sitting rooms, pubs and rugby clubs all over the world," Morel said.

Wayne Pivac's Wales were on course for a Grand Slam before they lost out in France to a last-minute try and the pair will do battle on a Friday night at the Principality Stadium on March 11 to kick-start round four.

It will be one of three home fixtures for Wales, who also host Scotland before they finish in Cardiff against Italy on March 19.

Two matches will be played at Twickenham in the 2022 Six Nations, with England set to entertain Wales and Ireland in back-to-back round three and four games before they travel to Paris for a Super Saturday finale.

Scotland, who finished fourth after a dramatic win in France, also have two home fixtures while Ireland – third in 2021 – will welcome Wales, Italy and Scotland to the Aviva Stadium in next year's championship.

Morel added: "The drama of Super Saturday with France's last-minute win against Wales, meant that the winner of the Championship was only revealed after the final match was played.

"It was an amazing effort from many people to make the Championship happen, not least the players and staff from the unions, the broadcasters, media and our partners.

"That effort paid off in the shape of record TV audiences and the most engaged Championship we've ever seen. It was truly a special achievement. This Guinness Six Nations entertained many of our long-standing fans and I believe we won plenty of new ones as well."

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England and Wales players after the Six Nations match on February 27, 2021
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Saturday's key events

· After silvers in both the men's and women's events, Team GB will be fancied to get on the podium again in the mixed relay (11.30pm-1am)

· Touted as Michael Phelps's successor, Caeleb Dressel already has two gold medals from these Games and he will be going for a third in the men's 50m butterfly final (2.30am)
· It is Katie Ledecky vs. Ariarne Titmus III in the women's 800m freestyle final, with Ledecky entering as firm favourite (2.46am)
· Great Britain will be heavily fancied to add another gold medal to their swimming haul, having produced by far the fastest qualifying time for the mixed 4x100m medley relay final (3.43am)

· Dina Asher-Smith is one of three British women in the 100m semi-finals (3.01am-3.20am), and will hope to challenge for a medal in what is likely to be a star-studded final (1.50pm)
· The inaugural Olympic 4x400m mixed relay event concludes with Great Britain one of the eight finalists going for gold (1.35pm)

· Team GB's dreams of an unlikely gold are still alive in the women's event as they face France in their semi-final (3.30am). The winners will face either New Zealand or Fiji in the gold medal match later in the day (10am)

· Gold medals are up for grabs in the windsurfer - RS:X finals. Emma Wilson participates for Team GB in the women's final (6.33am), while Tom Squires is in action in the men's (7.33am)

· Following his shock semi-final defeat, ending his hopes of a Golden Slam in 2021, Novak Djokovic battles for bronze against Pablo Carreno Busta (7am)
· The women's singles event reaches its conclusion with the gold medal match between Belinda Bencic and Marketa Vondrousova

> Today's schedule in full
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