Friday night matches return as Six Nations dates for 2014 and 2015 are announced

Wales host Italy in the opening game of the 2014 tournament

Tournament organisers have today announced the fixture list for the 2014 and 2015 RBS Six Nations.

Incumbent champions Wales will welcome Italy to the Millennium Stadium in the opening fixture of the 2014 tournament, on Saturday February 1, before England face France in Paris later that afternoon. The opening round will conclude with Ireland facing Scotland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on the Sunday.

In 2014 the closing match will be played in Paris as France welcome Ireland on Saturday, March 15, after Italy entertain England and Wales host Scotland.

However, organisers have also re-introduced Friday night games, with Wales hosting France on February 21, in round three of the 2014 championship. A Six Nations match was last played during the tournament opener on February 4, 2011, when England defeated Wales 26-19 in front of 74,276 at the Millennium Stadium.

As well as this, Wales and England will open the 2015 championship on Friday, February 6 in a repeat of his year’s championship decider which saw Wales retain their title after defeating England in a decider in Cardiff 30-3.

No other matches will be played on a Friday in 2015, with the tournament concluding with the traditional Saturday card, starting with Italy hosting Wales and Scotland and Wales facing off before England and France end proceedings at Twickenham.

During today’s announcement chairman of the Six Nations Council Bill Beaumont said: “Today the RBS 6 Nations Championship is the focus of rugby and sports supporters all over the world, particularly over those seven weekends in February and March.

“This year we saw over one million people attend the 15 matches, making it still the best attended international rugby tournament in the world on a per match basis.”

Beaumont also pointed to the record numbers watching on TV in over 160 countries, singling out the BBC’s highest figures for viewing and the increase in social media presence as indicators of the tournaments increased appeal.

Click here to see the full list of fixtures.