Wales head into the 2022 Guinness Six Nations looking to defend the title they won last year while also aiming to go one better.
Wayne Pivac’s side were on the verge of completing their second Grand Slam in two years before France snatched victory at the death in Paris to deny them a clean sweep.
However, the Championship winners were on the other side of a dramatic late finish in their last game of the Autumn Nations Series when Rhys Priestland’s 83rd-minute penalty earned them a 29-28 victory over Australia in November.
After defeats to New Zealand and world champions South Africa, Wales bounced back with a win over Fiji and after getting the edge over the Wallabies to round off their Autumn, they head into this year’s Guinness Six Nations with renewed confidence.
2022 Guinness Six Nations fixtures
They begin their defence with a tricky test away at the Aviva Stadium against Andy Farrell’s Ireland who went unbeaten through their Autumn Nations Series campaign.
Ireland saw off Japan and Argentina but laid down a clear marker with a famous 29-20 over the All Blacks, handing Ian Foster’s men just their fourth defeat since the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Wales have not won in Dublin since the Grand Slam year of 2012 and will have to do without talismanic captain Alun Wyn Jones who is set to miss the Championship with a shoulder injury.
The following week Wales return to Cardiff where they will host Scotland at the Principality Stadium.
Gregor Townsend’s side won 14-10 at the same venue in 2020 but Wales will be looking to avenge that defeat and after last year’s encounter at BT Murrayfield saw the sides separated by just a point, fans can expect another blockbuster.
After their opening two games, Wales can take stock in the first fallow week as they prepare for a trip to Twickenham to face England.
The story of the 2021 Guinness Six Nations
Wales have not won away in England in the Guinness Six Nations since Scott Williams’ decisive try saw them come away with a 19-12 victory in 2012.
However, they did of course beat their hosts in the group stage of the 2015 Rugby World Cup so will be confident of upsetting Eddie Jones’ side, who they defeated 40-24 at home last year.
Then after the second rest week, revenge will be firmly on the agenda as Les Bleus arrive in the Welsh capital for a rematch of that dramatic encounter at the Stade de France 12 months ago.
Wales looked to have secured the Grand Slam when they were ahead with the clock in the red, but France held their nerve and Brice Dulin’s score in the corner earned them a spectacular 32-30 win.
If Wales needed any added incentive then the fact they lost at home to France for the first time in a decade the last time Fabien Galthie’s men came to town – going down 27-23 in 2020 – should provide plenty of motivation as they seek to set the record straight on March 11.
Wales wrap up their campaign at home to Italy in the opening game of Super Saturday, safe in the knowledge the Azzurri have never won in Cardiff – their best effort an 18-18 draw back in 2006.
But Kieran Crowley’s men picked up an important win against Uruguay in the Autumn Nations Series and with a new young captain in Michele Lamaro things are certainly moving in the right direction and they should not be underestimated.