Captains and coaches alike will descend on London’s Tobacco Dock on Wednesday for the official launch of the 2020 Guinness Six Nations, with Rugby’s Greatest Championship now less than a fortnight away.
This year will be the 21st edition of the Championship as a six-team affair and the 126th overall, but while it is a competition steeped in tradition, there are several notable new faces ready to take up important reins.
With a number of high-profile retirements since Wales were crowned Grand Slam champions in 2019, new captains will lead out Italy, Ireland, Scotland and France, with Luca Bigi, Johnny Sexton, Stuart Hogg and Charles Ollivon the men in question.
And it is a similar story in the coaching department, as Wayne Pivac with Wales, Franco Smith with Italy, Fabien Galthié with France and Andy Farrell with Ireland are all set to take charge of their first Championships.
In the Women’s Six Nations, while we are still awaiting several squad announcements – including that of reigning Grand Slam champions England – already confirmed are Philip Doyle and Chris Horsman’s positions as head coaches of Scotland and Wales respectively, and Elisa Giordano’s deputising for the injured Manuela Furlan as Italy captain.
The men’s competition gets underway on the weekend of February 1-2, with Wales hosting Italy, Scotland heading to Ireland and France welcoming England.
Meanwhile in the women’s edition, Scotland go to Ireland, Italy to Wales and last year’s top two, England and France, clash in Pau to cap off the opening round.