Six Nations

2:30pm Sunday 26 February on BBC TWO

John Inverdale presents live coverage of Scotland v France from Edinburgh, joined by expert analysts Jeremy Guscott and Andy Nicol in the studio.

The two nations met in Paris in the first round of Six Nations matches last year, when reigning champions France grabbed a stylish 34-21 win over a spirited Scotland. Les Bleus were aiming for a second straight Grand Slam at the time, but were undone by away losses to England and, more surprisingly, Italy.

Despite turmoil and their underwhelming group stage displays, they bounced back at the World Cup – losing the final by just a point to hosts New Zealand.

For Scotland, a new era must be embarked upon: talismanic Chris Paterson, their record cap and points holder, retired from international rugby in December.

Match commentary comes from Andrew Cotter and Jonathan Davies.

3:30pm Saturday 25 February on BBC ONE

John Inverdale presents live coverage of England v Wales from Twickenham.

England are the reigning Six Nations champions, but come into the match with a completely revamped squad after a tumultuous 2011 World Cup. Though Wales came fourth in the final Six Nations standings last year, that did not reflect their true strength. Reaching the semi-finals of the World Cup in New Zealand was a more accurate barometer of the guile and power they possess.

When they met last year in the opening match, wing Chris Ashton scored two tries to secure a hard-fought win for England in a compelling clash in Cardiff.

Joining John in the studio will be Jeremy Guscott and Jonathan Davies, while match commentary comes from Eddie Butler and Brian Moore.

1:00pm Saturday 25 February on BBC ONE

Gabby Logan presents live coverage of Ireland v Italy from Dublin, the third match of the tournament for each country.

When they met last year, Ronan O’Gara’s late drop-goal denied Italy their first-ever Six Nations victory over Ireland. Two Mirco Bergamasco penalties had helped the hosts to a 6-3 interval score and though Brian O’Driscoll’s try helped Ireland move 10-6 ahead, Luke McLean’s 75th-minute reply gave Italy a shock lead – before O’Gara’s intervention two minutes later. Though Italy once again finished bottom of the pile after five matches, they are a growing force.

Joining Gabby in the studio will be former Ireland captain Keith Wood, while match commentary comes from Andrew Cotter and Philip Matthews.

2:30pm Sunday 5 February on BBC ONE

John Inverdale is joined by Jonathan Davies, Keith Wood and Jeremy Guscott for coverage of Ireland and Wales’s opening match of the 2012 Six Nations.

Going into last year’s match between the two sides Ireland had lost only once in Cardiff since 1983, but Wales ground out a gritty 19-13 victory that briefly gave them hope of a winning the championship. It was not to be, though, as both sides finished with identical records of three wins and two defeats. Later in the year Wales came within a whisker of reaching the World Cup final, so their young side will have high hopes of winning this year’s championship.

Ireland are without their talismanic captain Brian O’Driscoll so a lot may rest on the experienced shoulders of Ronan O’Gara and Paul O’Connell.

Commentary comes from Eddie Butler and Phillip Matthews.

4:35pm Saturday 4 February on BBC ONE

John Inverdale is joined by Jeremy Guscott and Andy Nicol for the Calcutta Cup clash between Scotland and England at Murrayfield.

Defending champions England come into the 2012 Six Nations off the back of a chastening six months in which they suffered embarrassment both on and off the pitch.

A dismal World Cup campaign saw their players make the front page of the papers as much as the back pages due to string of unsavoury incidents in New Zealand. It ultimately led to Martin Johnson losing his job as head coach, and temporary incumbent Stuart Lancaster has picked a hugely revamped squad for the Six Nations.

Scotland also had a miserable World Cup, exiting at the group stage for the first time in the tournament’s history. Their performances in last year’s Six Nations were not much better and they only avoided the wooden spoon with a victory over Italy in the last round of matches.

Commentary comes from Andrew Cotter and Brian Moore.

1:30pm Saturday 4 February on BBC ONE

John Inverdale and guests are at Murrayfield for the start of the 2012 Six Nations. They will look ahead to what is set to be a fascinating tournament before handing to Gabby Logan for the first match of the championship between France and Italy in Paris.

Last year the Italians stunned the French by pulling off one of the biggest shocks in the tournament’s history with a thrilling 22-21 win in Rome. It was the Azzuri’s greatest victory and left Les Bleus in a state of shock. Then-coach Marc Lievremont immediately dropped six players and accused his squad of cowardice.

Philippe Saint-Andre is now in charge of a new-look team and will expect his side to bury the ghosts of that defeat by getting their Grand Slam bid off to solid start. Italy also have a new coach in Frenchman Jacques Brunel, who has an added incentive to lead his side to another famous victory.

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