The Six Nations Council today announced the schedule of matches for the 2010 RBS 6 Nations Championship, which will kick-off in Dublin on Saturday, 6 February, when Ireland meet Italy. The Championship will conclude in Paris on Saturday, 20 March, when France meet England.
After the success of the Friday night fixture in 2009 - which produced the biggest TV audience of any French game in France and the second highest average TV audience of all 15 games in the 2009 Championship - the Council have decided to host another Friday match, to be played in Cardiff on Friday, 26 February.
Since 2003, the Championship has been entirely broadcast on terrestrial TV and the audience figures have increased dramatically in all of the participating six Nations from 94 million in 2003 up to 125 million in 2009.
The 2010 tournament will celebrate both the centenary of the first championship between the five original members and the 10th anniversary of Italy joining the competition.
The 2009 RBS 6 Nations Championship title was in the balance until the last match in Cardiff and it was a nail-biting spectacle which saw Ireland crowned Grand Slam winners for the first time in 61 years.
RBS 6 Nations Championship 2010 Fixture Schedule
(ALL TIMES GMT)
Week 1 Saturday 6th February
14:30 - Ireland v Italy
17:00 - England v Wales
Sunday 7th February
15:00 - Scotland v France
Week 2 Saturday 13th February
14:00 - Wales v Scotland
16:30 (17:30 local) - France v Ireland
Sunday 14th February
14.30 (15:30 local) - Italy v England
Week 3 20/21 February - Rest Weekend
Week 4 Friday 26th February
20:00 - Wales v France
Saturday 27th February
13:30 (14:30 local) - Italy v Scotland
16:00 - England v Ireland
Week 5 6/7 March - Rest Weekend
Week 6 Saturday 13th March
14:30 - Ireland v Wales
17:00 - Scotland v England
Sunday 14th March
14:30 (15.30 local) - France v Italy
Week 7 Saturday 20th March
14:30 - Wales v Italy
17:00 - Ireland v Scotland
19:45 (20:45 local) - France v England
The Welsh Rugby Union is forming a new Youth Board with a brief to help keep more young people involved in the game during their late teenage years and beyond. The first task of the fifteen strong Board will be to analyse and consider the issues which lead to a number of youngsters drifting away from the sport between the ages of 16 and 21. To apply visit www.wru.wales/youthboard
The Foster's Challenge Cup will involve the 12 Principality Premiership sides and will run during European and British & Irish Cup weeks, providing vital fixtures for the participating clubs and an opportunity for upcoming players to step up to semi-professional rugby and make a claim for starting places within the Premiership squads.
Eighty schools and colleges in Wales now have a full time rugby officer as part of the WRU's school club hub scheme. All of the school club hub officers recently gathered at the National Centre of Excellence for various workshops.
With Liam Williams forced out of the World Cup through injury, lock Luke Charteris and Skills Coach Neil Jenkins say they have to put yesterday's defeat behind them as Wales now look ahead to another physical encounter against South Africa in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup.
WRU Consultant Head of Physical Performance Paul Stridgeon praises the Physical Performance department for their work and dedication as he addresses the media ahead of Wales' Pool A clash against Australia
Twelve young people have been selected to follow a one year WRU Coach Core apprenticeship programme. Coach Core was set up by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry as part of the Olympics legacy in 2012 and the Duke of Cambridge was on hand to meet the apprentices on their first day in the job. The programme has been funded by the Hunter Foundation.
The WRU has launched a campaign to create a long term legacy for Welsh club rugby by highlighting the advantages of volunteering. Rhian Edwards, a volunteer at Seven Sisters, has enjoyed many benefits of her volunteering at a grassroots rugby club including being part of the Rugby World Cup volunteer workforce after being nominated by the WRU - and the WRU is asking for more people to develop their 'Welsh rugby roots'.