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Wales open 2022 Six Nations defence against Ireland

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Six Nations champions Wales will kick off the defence of their title in 2022 with a trip to Dublin to play Ireland on February 5 while Scotland host England in the Calcutta Cup the same day, according to the fixtures released by the organisers on Wednesday.

The opening weekend will also see perennial wooden spoonists Italy running out against France in Paris.

There will be a return of Friday night rugby in the fourth round of matches when Wales host the French on March 11 at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.

The final round of matches on ‘Super Saturday’ on March 19 starts with Wales v Italy, followed by Ireland v Scotland and concludes with ‘Le Crunch’ as France meet England in Paris.

The 2021 championship was played entirely behind closed doors because of the coronavirus pandemic but organisers are hoping that supporters will be able to return to the stadiums next season.

“The 2021 Championship was one of the most competitive in history with eight of the 15 matches won by seven points or less,” said Six Nations CEO Ben Morel.

“This Six Nations entertained many of our long-standing fans and I believe we won plenty of new ones as well.

“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 Six Nations atmosphere into sitting rooms, pubs and rugby clubs all over the world.”

The tournament began in 1883 between the ‘Home Nations’ of the United Kingdom — England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

France first joined in 1910 with the Five Nations becoming the Six Nations in 2000 with the addition of Italy.

Fixtures:

Round 1

February 5: Ireland v Wales, Scotland v England

February 6: France v Italy

Round 2

February 12: Wales v Scotland, France v Ireland

February 13: Italy v England

Round 3

February 26: Scotland v France, England v Wales

February 27: Ireland v Italy

Round 4

March 11: Wales v France

March 12: Italy v Scotland, England v Ireland

Round 5

March 19: Wales v Italy, Ireland v Scotland, France v England

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Six Nations Rugby | Le Garrec: Runners-up spot marks fitting send-off for departing players

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2019 champions Ireland had started the day as the only side who could mathematically topple eventual winners England at the top of the ranks, and Jamie Osborne’s try put France on the back foot early on.

Alex Kendellen also went over for the men in green in a try-filled first half, but scores from Thibault Debaes, Pierre Bochaton and Paul Mallez earned Les Bleuets a slender lead at the break.

Though Kendellen notched a second at the death Louis Bielle-Biarrey’s cleverly-worked try proved enough for France, helping them leapfrog their opponents in the standings.

Scrum-half Le Garrec said: “We’re really proud of our performance against Ireland – it’s great to finish on a high and give a good impression of ourselves.

“There are a lot of important players who will be leaving us after a number of years – the likes of Matthias [Haddad] and Paul [Mallez] – and we wanted to give back to them on the pitch.

“We have lots of good players. In some matches we struggled with our structure and getting out of our half, but with the ball we are capable of creating things. I love our style of play.”

Thibault Debaes

After an opening round defeat to England three-time winners France swept aside Italy, Wales, Scotland and Ireland in successive matches, and Le Garrec’s half-back partner Debaes agreed there were plenty of positives to take from the campaign.

Debaes, 19, picked up the Player of the Match plaudits against Ireland, having controlled the second half with a scintillating kicking display while also contributing a try.

He added: “Unfortunately the second half against England lost us the Championship, but we learnt a lot throughout the series. We were put under pressure by every team, but we learned to manage games and the end of matches.

“The level was high in every match and we are very happy to finish the Championship in second place.”

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Jonah Lomu’s son reveals he ‘dreams’ of playing in the Six Nations

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The son of All Black superstar Jonah Lomu has revealed he’d prefer to play in the Six Nations should he follow in his legendary late father’s footsteps.

Dhyreille Lomu, who currently plays on the wing, was born in France during his Dad’s brief stint playing for Marseille, hence any eligibility discussions for Les Bleus wouldn’t be an issue.

Known as Frenchie at school in New Zealand, the aspiring youngster has already began to impress at a number of age-grade tournaments in New Zealand.

Despite being 12, he’s already played in older teams as his obvious talent is beginning to shine through.

Lomu’s stime in France came towards the end of the his career, which also included a stint with the Cardiff Blues in Europe.

EDITORS PICKS:

Tragically, Lomu died in November 2015.

Playing on the wing Lomu finished his international career with 63 caps and 37 tries. He is regarded as the first true global superstar of rugby and consequently had a huge impact on the game

Below, we look at five other rugby legends sons who are making waves, but currently represent different countries to their legendary Dads.

Here’s a list of rugby legends sons who are set to play in the Six Nations.

1. Lucas Brooke (England)

  • Age: 19
  • Club: London Irish
  • Position: back-row
  • Dad: Zinzan Brooke (New Zealand)

Brooke, who can play across the back-row or at hooker, grew up in England so is fully qualified to wear the red rose. The powerhouse has represented Berkshire at county level and regularly played for his school, Wellington College.

CONTINUES ON PAGE 2




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Six Nations Rugby | Preview: France aim to make history in third Test against Australia

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Les Bleus bounced back from their heart-breaking loss in the opening match of the series with a first win over the Wallabies on Australian soil in 31 years on Tuesday.

And now they will look to clinch the series back in Brisbane to record a first-ever series win on Australian soil.

It would be a remarkable achievement for Les Bleus, particularly when you consider that they travelled Down Under without the majority of their first-choice players because of a combination of injuries, rest and the absence of the Top 14 finalists.

In their absence, a number of players have staked a claim for bigger roles within Fabien Galthié’s side, and victory in the third Test would only strengthen those claims.

Team news

With three Tests in 11 days, and more importantly, a five-day turnaround, there were always going to be changes for both sides.

Yet Galthié and counterpart Dave Rennie have both shown faith in some of their key men, with France starting six players for the third Test in a row, while Australia have gone for even more continuity with eight players starting each Test of the series.

Fly-half Antoine Hastoy is the one uncapped player in the French starting XV, while centre Pierre-Louis Barassi and winger Teddy Thomas make their first appearances of the tour.

Anthony Jelonch will lead the side once again, joining Baptiste Couilloud, Arthur Vincent, Damian Penaud, Melvyn Jaminet and Gaëtan Barlot in starting every Test. After a standout display in the second Test, Cameron Woki starts once again in the back row.

There are two uncapped players on the bench, back-rower Alexandre Bécognée and centre Julien Hériteau.

For Australia, exciting scrum-half Tate McDermott gets his opportunity to start after coming off the bench in the first two matches, while Isi Naisarani is rewarded for some strong replacement showings after being named at No.8.

Ones to watch

In Gaël Fickou and Virimi Vakatawa, France already boast one of the top centre combinations in the world, but this tour has seen Arthur Vincent show just why he was thrust onto the highest scene as a 20-year-old.

The Montpellier centre shifts to inside centre for this one, but will again line up against Hunter Paisami, having largely nullified the threat of one of Australia’s main strike runners in the second Test where Vincent made 25 tackles.

He links up with Pierre-Louis Barassi, the Lyon centre who ended the season in flying form and will be looking to get the better of Wallaby newcomer Len Ikitau, who is making his first Test start.

What they said

France captain Anthony Jelonch said: “This squad is hungry for wins. So after the win in the second Test, everyone turned their attention to Saturday’s game and had the feeling that we could do something truly historic. Winning this series, that’s not happened for a long time in the southern hemisphere.

“The squad has one aim, to win this match. We will all be ready to produce a big performance this weekend, especially after what we’ve seen on social media: the support of the public, all the families following us, it warms your heart.”

Teams

Australia: 15. Tom Banks, 14. Filipo Daugunu, 13. Len Ikitau, 12. Hunter Paisami, 11. Marika Koroibete, 10. Noah Lolesio, 9. Tate McDermott, 1. James Slipper 2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 3. Allan Alaalatoa, 4. Darcy Swain, 5. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 6. Lachlan Swinton, 7. Michael Hooper (c), 8. Isi Naisarani

Replacements: 16. Jordan Uelese, 17. Angus Bell, 18. Taniela Tupou, 19. Matt Philip, 20. Rob Valetini, 21. Jake Gordon, 22. Matt To’omua, 23. Reece Hodge

France: 15. Melvyn Jaminet, 14. Damian Penaud, 13. Pierre-Louis Barassi, 12. Arthur Vincent, 11. Teddy Thomas, 10. Antoine Hastoy, 9. Baptiste Couilloud, 1. Enzo Forletta, 2. Gaëtan Barlot, 3. Sipili Falatea, 4. Pierre-Henri Azagoh, 5. Romain Taofifenua, 6. Dylan Cretin, 7. Cameron Woki, 8. Anthony Jelonch (c)

Replacements: 16. Anthony Etrillard, 17. Quentin Walcker, 18. Demba Bamba, 19. Baptiste Pesenti, 20. Alexandre Bécognée, 21. Teddy Iribaren, 22. Anthony Bouthier, 23. Julien Hériteau



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