England will attempt to claim a rare victory in Dublin when they face all-conquering champions Ireland, while in-form Wales can expect a brutal battle with France when the Six Nations starts on Friday.
Ireland beat England to secure a third Grand slam last year and are favourites to retain their title as they prepare to take on Eddie Jones’ men at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.
Wales make the trip to Paris with nine consecutive wins under their belt, but must address their poor away form in the competition.
Scotland should get their campaign under way with a comfortable win Italy at Murrayfield, where the Azzurri claimed their last Six Nations win three years ago.
With the help of Opta, we take a statistical look at the opening round of matches.
2019 – The 2019 #GuinnessSixNations kicks off tomorrow night, with @IrishRugby aiming to become the first side since @FFRugby in 1997-98 to complete a Five/Six Nations Grand Slam in consecutive years, can they do it? Championship. pic.twitter.com/iQ7J39NZVH
— OptaJonny (@OptaJonny) January 31, 2019
France v Wales
Wales will be looking to rack up a 50th win against Les Bleus and have won six of the last seven meetings between the two nations.
France have came out on top in four of their last five games at home, though, not conceding more than 18 points in any of those matches.
Wales have struggled on their travels in the Six Nations, losing four in a row away from home and Warren Gatland will be expecting that run to come to a halt in his final year as head coach.
Morgan Parra is 27 points shy of becoming just the second France player to score 200 points in the competition, matching a feat only Dimitri Yachvili (217) has achieved.
— Welsh Rugby Union (@WelshRugbyUnion) January 30, 2019
Scotland v Italy
Italy have lost 17 consecutive Six Nations contests since stunning Scotland 22-19 at Murrayfield in 2015.
Scotland have shown they are capable of turning on the style in recent years and they are just three tries shy of 500 at Murrayfield.
Italy legend Sergio Parisse is set to make a record 66th appearance in the Six Nations, surpassing Ireland great Brian O’Driscoll’s tally.
Captain Greig Laidlaw needs 16 points to overtake Gavin Hastings (667) as Scotland’s second-highest top points scorer behind Chris Paterson (809).
— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) January 31, 2019
Ireland v England
The holders have won their last 12 home games in all competitions, their longest ever such run. They have also put together seven consecutive home victories in the Six Nations.
England were dethroned with a whimper last year, losing three matches in a row, and they have won just twice in their last nine visits to Dublin.
Ireland will be looking to become the first team in since Italy joined the tournament to win back-to-back Grand Slams.
Jacob Stockdale scored a record seven tries in the Six Nations last year and will be aiming to become the ninth player to score in five consecutive matches in the competition.
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) January 31, 2019
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