Where, when and how to get in - a spectator's guide to the year 2000

Rugby Union - Six Nations British Isles, France, Italy
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The Independent Online

Rugby followers cannot lose as the game moves into the new century. They will be guaranteed entertainment one way or another. Off the field, if the fractious factions within the game continue to rub each other up the wrong way, then the resultant friction should provide enough political pyrotechnics to get the third Millennium going with a bang.

Rugby followers cannot lose as the game moves into the new century. They will be guaranteed entertainment one way or another. Off the field, if the fractious factions within the game continue to rub each other up the wrong way, then the resultant friction should provide enough political pyrotechnics to get the third Millennium going with a bang.

And if there is peace in their time and the inaugural Six Nations is allowed to get under way, it will be worth fans following a couple of roads to Rome.

Italy make their bow with their first Six Nations match against the last Five Nations champions, Scotland, in the Stadio Flaminio on 5 February, while on 18 March England make their first visit there.

While Italy will certainly find themselves outplayed, home and away, the atmosphere promises to be good and the food and the shopping before and after the matches will have their own attractions.

Twickenham stages one of the most popular of matches, England versus Wales. All England tickets are distributed through the constituent bodies of the Rugby Football Union - ie counties, schools, clubs etc - and debenture holders, so apart from the grubby black market and perhaps a dozen or so returns on the day, the best place to watch it will be on television, provided you have a satellite dish.

A month earlier one of the happiest fixtures takes place at English HQ, the visit of Ireland. The pre and post-match craic in the car parks and at the Stoop Memorial Ground across the road from Twickenham, not to mention London Irish's old base at Sunbury, should ensure carousing and ceilidhs until the small hours.

Despite the disappointing crowds during the World Cup Edinburgh has a couple of big ones which should have more pulling power. The Calcutta Cup match is on 2 April and English fans traditionally make a weekend of it and the fact that this is a Sunday should still not deter too many.

Dublin and Cardiff are always worth a visit. This year the lucky supporters of Scotland, Italy and Wales can experience the delights of the fair city, while France, Italy and Scotland will fill Cardiff city centre for the unique experience of the Millennium Stadium.

TICKETS

Twickenham: No tickets on general sale, but for returns tel: 0208 891 4565

Cardiff: Ticketline tel: 0990 582 582 for credit card bookings and update on what is available

Dublin: According to their ticket hot-line (003531 668 4601) they have sold out for all matches in the Six Nations

Edinburgh: Ticket information tel: 0131 346 5000

Paris: Ticket information tel: 00 331 48 74 84 75

Rome: Note it is the Stadio Flaminio, not Olimpico. Ticket information tel: 0039 06 36 85 73 09

Useful phrase: Vorrei comprare [due, tre etc] bigliete per la partita, Italia contro Scozzia/Inghilterra.

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