The RBS Six Nations Rugby Tournament kicks off this weekend with coverage of matches across both the major channels.
The 2016 Championship marks the start of a six-year deal between ITV and the BBC that will see the matches shared between both broadcasters on television and online.
ITV will show seven matches throughout the six weeks of the tournament, including key games such as England v Ireland and England v Wales, both from Twickenham, as well as Ireland v Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
In addition to ITV’s coverage on the main channel, there will be extensive online coverage via the ITV Hub and ITV’s dedicated 6 Nations website.
Many of ITV’s pundits return following their involvement in the channel’s successful exclusive coverage of Rugby World Cup 2015.
Leading the broadcaster’s team will be presenter Mark Pougatch, joined by Jonny Wilkinson, Lawrence Dallaglio and Jason Robinson, members of England’s victorious Rugby World Cup 2003 team, along with their coach Sir Clive Woodward, former Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll, former Wales captain Gareth Thomas, former Scotland coach Sir Ian McGeechan, England Women World Cup winner Maggie Alphonsi, former England international Ugo Monye, and former Italian captain Marco Bortolami.
The BBC’s line-up includes an experienced presenting team led by John Inverdale and Gabby Logan with expert analysis from some of the biggest names in the great championship’s history, including Jeremy Guscott, Matt Dawson, Jonathan Davies, Keith Wood and Gavin Hastings. The BBC will have exclusive TV coverage of four of the first six games from the tournament, including the Calcutta Cup game between Scotland and England from Murrayfield.
There will also be live coverage of the closing match between France and England, along with all of Scotland, Wales and France’s remaining home games. A new Sunday night highlights programme, Six Nations Rugby Special, will have the best of the action from all of the weekend’s games.
The first match kicks off this Saturday on BBC One and John Inverdale is at Murrayfield to preview the opening round of the 2016 Six Nations Championship before handing to Gabby Logan in Paris, as France vs Italy kicks off the tournament.
France have not lifted the trophy since 2010, something new head coach Guy Noves will be aiming to rectify. A disappointing performance in the World Cup, and the retirement of captain Thierry Dusautoir among others, mean it will be a new-look Les Bleus for the 2016 campaign. Italy, meanwhile, will be hoping to catch their hosts cold, and land a repeat of the 23-18 opening game win over France in Rome three years ago. In the second match of the day John Inverdale hosts live coverage as Scotland and England kick off their Six Nations campaigns at Murrayfield.
Scotland are looking to bounce back after ending up with the Wooden Spoon last year, and will have a point to prove on their home ground, having been whitewashed 20-0 the last time they hosted England.