With a jam-packed day of rugby on Saturday, one of the most competitive Six Nations competitions in recent memory gets underway.
Wales is motivated by the heroic head coach Warren Gatland’s return and will play host to Ireland first in a live game on BBC One.
Then, when Scotland visits Twickenham, Steve Borthwick manages England for the first time.
On Sunday, an improved Italy will play home to the reigning Grand Slam winners France to wrap out the weekend.
Everything you need to know about the 2023 Six Nations is provided here, including information on each game and a cheat sheet to help you get ready for the weekend.
the state of each team’s preparation for the Six Nations
What is the forecast for the Wales vs. Ireland match?
In order to “speak about rugby” in light of the sexism and misogyny charges now swirling around the Welsh Rugby Union, Warren Gatland picked his team to play Ireland ahead of schedule.
Gatland, who took over as head coach in December following an unsuccessful 11-year tenure before and a disappointing 2022 for Wales, has stated that he wants to win the Six Nations and not only use the competition as a way to get ready for the World Cup in France in September.
That is evident in the seasoned team he chose, which features Alun Wyn Jones, 37, in the second row and Ken Owens, 36, Wales’ oldest captain and starting hooker.
Leigh Halfpenny, a fullback who was injured, was replaced on Thursday by Liam Williams, while Joe Hawkins, a center making his Six Nations debut, brings some youth.
With Gatland, Wales won four Six Nations championships, including three Grand Slams, yet Ireland are the team to beat.
The team of Andy Farrell is now ranked first in the world and is hoping to challenge France, the reigning Grand Slam champions, for the championship this year.
Ireland, though, has a history of reaching their peak performance just before a World Cup; in 2019, they fell in the quarterfinals despite entering the competition as the top team in the world.
Ireland’s previous Six Nations victory there occurred in 2013, according to Farrell, who notes that Cardiff “has not been a terrific hunting ground.”
Tadhg Furlong, a top prop for Ireland, is injured. Finlay Bealham takes over for Furlong, while Josh van der Flier, the World Rugby men’s player of the year, moves to flanker and Johnny Sexton, the captain, is healthy enough to start at fly-half.
How to watch and follow the 2023 Six Nations players
Who will prevail in the match between England and Scotland?
Gregor Townsend, the head coach of Scotland, may be entering his final Six Nations as his contract expires after the World Cup, while Steve Borthwick is leading England in his debut Six Nations as head coach.
The paths taken by the teams to get to Twickenham vary as well. A few England supporters who booed when their side lost to South Africa to finish a disastrous 2022 eagerly await Borthwick’s ability to change things around.
The two teams compete for the famous Calcutta Cup in this match, and Scotland comes into it having won at Twickenham for the first time since 1983 on their previous trip to London.
The contest is “the biggest game of our championship,” according to Townsend.
England are the favorites despite Scotland winning their last two Six Nations games, but scrum-half “I have no idea what is going to happen,” declares Danny Care.
Ollie Hassell-Collins, an English winger, will make his national team debut, while Joe Marchant will start in place of Manu Tuilagi at center.
When inside center Henry Slade sustained an injury, it was initially thought that captain Owen Farrell would start at fly-half. Instead, the Saracens back will take Slade’s position and continue his relationship with 23-year-old Harlequins 10 Marcus Smith.
Luke Crosbie, a back row player with three caps for Scotland, gets the start in place of the more seasoned Hamish Watson, with Finn Russell starting at fly-half and Stuart Hogg making his injured comeback at full-back.
What will happen between France and Italy?
After defeating Wales last year, Italy won their first game in the Six Nations championship since 2015.
They also defeated Australia in the fall, but facing France, the world’s second-ranked team and the defending Grand Slam champions, is hardly the best way to start the year 2023.
Ugo Monye, a former England wing, claimed on the Rugby Union Daily podcast that when Italy won, “the Six Nations became complete again.” There have been debates about whether Italy should continue to compete in the tournament.
Ange Capuozzo, a standout back, could help Italy make greater waves this year.
However, a much more famous French squad, captained by scrum-half Antoine Dupont, will go to Rome in an effort to become the first men’s team to successfully defend a Grand Slam.
Rugby fantasy is played by Six Nations coaches.
How do I keep up with the Six Nations?
Ireland, the top-ranked team in the world, will play Wales in the opening match on Saturday in Cardiff. You can listen to that on BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra starting at 13:15 GMT, as well as on BBC One and iPlayer.
Later that day, England will play host to Scotland. That game will begin at 16:45 GMT on ITV and BBC Radio 5 Live.
Italy will host France in Rome on Sunday at 15:00 GMT. ITV and BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra will broadcast the game.
The Six Nations Rugby Special, hosted by Ugo Monye, will begin airing on BBC Two and iPlayer from 18:15 GMT on Sunday and will feature highlights and analysis of the weekend’s games.
All games will receive live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and mobile app, while BBC Radio 5 Live will offer commentary and analysis on the Rugby Union Daily podcast.