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Six Nations: Team-by-team guide, key players, title odds

Owen Farrell, Johnny Sexton, Alun Wyn Jones and Stuart Hogg, captains of England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland respectively, are all multiple British and Irish Lions tourists
Guinness Six Nations 2020
Dates: 1 February-14 March
Coverage: Watch live coverage on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, Connected TVs and online; listen to match commentaries, shows and podcasts on BBC Radio 5 Live, Sports Extra and BBC Sounds; follow text coverage on the BBC Sport website and mobile app; further coverage available in Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Full coverage details.

Four new head coaches, a raft of uncapped up-and-comers and a rivalry that stretches back more than 135 years.

The history, drama, thrills and spills of the Six Nations return this weekend to start the latest chapter in the world’s oldest international rugby tournament.

In the wake of the Rugby World Cup, there are plenty of new characters, on the pitch and on the touchlines, to spice up the storylines.

Here is what you need to know about the 2020 tournament.


Pivac won the Pro12 title with Scarlets in 2017

Thanks to the call of the British and Irish Lions, there have been a couple of caretakers, but it is 13 years since someone other than Warren Gatland was Wales head coach as they went into a Six Nations campaign,

Wayne Pivac has the intimidating task of following a man who delivered three Grand Slams, the latest lifted 12 months ago.

The New Zealander could have done without an injury that rules out centre Jonathan Davies, the ‘captain’ of the claustrophobically tight defence that characterised Gatland’s reign.

Shaun Edwards, who masterminded that part of the game from the touchline, is also absent, having taken his inside knowledge to Six Nations rivals France.

But there are some welcome faces back on the scene. Scrum-half Rhys Webb is available after bringing a hasty end to his Toulon stint, while Taulupe Faletau, arguably the tournament’s best number eight on top form, is hoping he is at the end of a two-year run of injuries.

Neither were part of a World Cup campaign that promised much but couldn’t break new ground. Wales were squeezed out in the semi-finals by eventual champions South Africa, matching their best run at the tournament back in 2011.

Rees-Zammit (right) was one of five uncapped players in Pivac’s 38-man squad

One to watch: Louis Rees-Zammit: The 19-year-old wing has been one of this season’s sensations, scoring 10 tries in 14 games for Gloucester. As the saying goes: If they are good enough…

Curveball: Coach Pivac is looking to box clever by convincing more Welsh-qualified, but English-based, players to commit to the cause. The recruitment of Saracens former England Under-20 centre Nick Tompkins and Wasps lock Will Rowlands shows he is having some success.

Title odds: 11-2


Jonny May has 27 tries in 52 Test appearances for England

In the wake of the Rugby World Cup final defeat by South Africa in November, Eddie Jones entered, in his words, a “grieving process”.