Six Nations 2021: Everything you need to know

Wales have won the 2021 Triple Crown after beating Ireland, Scotland and England. Credit: PA

The 2021 Six Nations is underway with a different look and feel to usual as a result of the Covid pandemic.

How has coronavirus impacted the competition?

As with almost all sporting events in Europe, there will be no spectators allowed in to watch matches.

It was only confirmed this week that France will take part after sports minister Roxana Maracineanu announced the easing of quarantine rules for participating teams.

The French government was seeking clarity from tournament organisers before agreeing that sides arriving into Paris from non-EU destinations, or Les Bleus facing England at Twickenham on March 13, would not be subject to quarantine restrictions.

The Six Nations had drawn up contingency plans in the event the green light was not given, but the competition will now proceed as planned due to the introduction of tightened coronavirus safety measures.

Italy coach Franco Smith in a mask at an empty Aviva Stadium. Credit: PA

Wales wing Josh Adams has received a two-game for breaking Covid protocols. He has also been released from head coach Wayne Pivac’s training camp.

Adams attended a gathering with his immediate family present on Sunday – the day after the full Wales squad were released from camp ahead of their Six Nations opener – and they linked back up at their bio-secure training base on Tuesday.

“He has embarrassed himself, he has had to leave the team and he will do his penance at home,” Wales coach Wayne Pivac said.

Cameron Redpath will play for Scotland. Credit: PA

Who are the coaches?

Australian Eddie Jones has overseen three title successes in five seasons as England coach, and current form guides once again point to them occupying pole position. 

After only one victory in last year's tournament - against whipping boys Italy - Wales coach Wayne Pivac will be looking for improvement in his second Six Nations in charge.

Andy Farrell is another who took the reins after the 2019 World Cup.

Former Ireland and Lions captain Paul O’Connell has been brought into the coaching setup after the team struggled in physical contests last year.

South African Franco Smith is the man leading Italy. The former Benetton Rugby and Toyota Cheetahs coach will be aiming for a first Six Nations win since 2016 but that looks beyond them.

Fabien Galthié is France's coach and has reason for optimism that they could win the competition for the first time since 2011 thanks to the flair on offer to his side. Ex-Wales assistant coach Sean Edwards is also part of the coaching set-up.

Are there any controversies to watch out for?

In England's opening game they will come up against Scotland debutant Cameron Redpath, who was born in France and brought up in England.

The centre represented the Red Rose up to the Under-20s and was even called up by Eddie Jones for a tour of South Africa in 2018 but he has now pledged his allegiance to the country of his father's birth. Dad Bryan earned 60 caps for Scotland in his time.

Where can I watch the action?

Six Nations coverage is shared between ITV and BBC. You can watch all of England, Ireland and Italy's Guinness Six Nations home matches live on ITV and the ITV Hub.

As well as coverage of the Six Nations on free-to-air television you can also follow the best of the action on ITV Rugby's Twitter, Facebook and Instagram channels.

When will the matches take place?

Round 1

Italy 10 - 50 France, Saturday 6 February, Stadio Olimpico ITVEngland 6 - Scotland 11, Saturday 6 February, Twickenham ITVWales 21 - Ireland 16, Sunday 7 February, Principality Stadium BBC

Round 2

England 41 v Italy 18, Saturday 13 February, Twickenham ITVScotland 24 v Wales 25, Saturday 13 February, BT Murrayfield ITVIreland 13 v France 15, Sunday 14 February, Aviva Stadium ITV

Round 3

Italy 10 v Ireland 48, Saturday 27 February, Stadio Olimpico ITVWales 40 v England 24, Saturday 27 February, Principality Stadium BBCSunday 28 February, France v Scotland - Cancelled

Henry Slade goes over for a try against Italy. Credit: PA

Round 4

Italy 7 v Wales 48, Saturday 13 March, Stadio Olimpico ITVEngland 23 v France 20, Saturday 13 March, Twickenham ITVScotland 24 v Ireland 27, Sunday 14 March, BT Murrayfield, BBC

Round 5

Scotland 52 v Italy 10, Saturday 20 March, BT Murrayfield, BBCIreland 32 v England 18, Saturday 20 March, Aviva Stadium, ITVFrance 32 v Wales 30, Saturday 20 March, Stade de France BBC


France v Scotland, Friday 26 March (20:00), Stade de France BBC

When will the Women's Six Nations take place?

The Women’s Six Nations has been rescheduled for April and will take the shape of a condensed three-week format that culminates in a grand final to decide the 2021 champions.

The competition traditionally runs alongside the men’s event but was postponed last month due to problems arising from the coronavirus pandemic.