The 2021 Six Nations kicks-off on Saturday when Italy host France at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico. A few hours later attention will switch to Twickenham as England welcome Scotland, with Ireland making the short trip across the Irish Sea to play Wales in Cardiff on Sunday.
Here’s a handy guide to when all six teams will announce their matchday squads ahead of the first round of fixtures.
ENGLAND – Thursday, 11am (GMT)
England will be the first team to name their matchday 23 this week, and Eddie Jones has a couple of selection issues to contend with. Props Kyle Sinckler and Mako Vunipola are both unavailable while Sam Underhill, Joe Marler and Joe Launchbury all withdrew from the original 28-man squad named by Jones. On a more positive note, the uncapped Paolo Odogwu is a hugely exciting addition.
FRANCE – Thursday, 11.30am
France will name their team to play Italy shortly after England reveal their hand for the Wales game and like Jones, Les Bleus boss Fabien Galthié will be without the services of some big hitters. Having already lost Gregory Alldritt and Romain Ntamack, centre Virimi Vakatawa became the latest player to pull out after suffering a knee injury.
SCOTLAND – Thursday, noon
Scotland will release their selection for the Calcutta Cup an hour after England’s team announcement. The big concern facing Gregor Townsend is at hooker, with Fraser Brown and Stuart McInally both unavailable due to neck injuries.
ITALY – Thursday, TBC
The Azzurri will name their team to play France on Thursday afternoon, but have yet to confirm a time. Franco Smith will be looking to get the best out of a relatively inexperienced group. Only four players in the squad boast more than 30 caps worth of experience. Matteo Minozzi’s decision to sit out the tournament is also a major blow.
IRELAND – Friday, noon
Andy Farrell will name his Ireland team to play Wales at 12pm on Friday and at the moment his squad look in decent shape. The sight of Tadhg Furlong back playing for Leinster last weekend was a welcome boost after almost a year out of action. Johnny Sexton is hoping to be fit after suffering a hamstring strain in Leinster’s recent Pro14 defeat of Munster, while James Lowe is also in contention following a groin injury which has kept him sidelined since November.
WALES – Friday, noon
Wales are due to name their team at the same time as Ireland, and like Farrell, Wayne Pivac is expecting to have the majority of his frontliners fit and available for selection, with captain Alun Wyn Jones expected to win his 144th cap after recovering from a knee issue. At the other end of the scale 19-year-old Louis Rees-Zammit will be hoping to force his way into the team while Dan Lydiate is also back in the mix to win a first cap since 2018.
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