Here’s your ultimate rugby internationals hosting guide - and your chance to win Premiership Rugby tickets!
Home Nations seek new blood
“New beginnings” looks to be the theme of the tournament for three of the four Home Nations. Eddie Jones’ England will look to restore pride after being humbled in the last tournament which has led to six uncapped players being named.
The loss of talisman Alun Wyn Jones will be a big blow for Wales as they look to retain their crown. However, the experienced Dan Biggar will be more than motivated with his 100th cap on the line if he features in all five games.
Ireland will rely on a centurion of their own in veteran Johnny Sexton. The fresh faces on show will mean we can expect a typically tough Irish team to fight for every point, frustrating teams with their powerhouse of a pack.
Last but not least, Scotland have bolstered their options, with five uncapped players set to make their mark. Consistency has proved an issue in previous years so this may be the shake-up Gregor Townsend needs.
The odds - France the favourites
Despite seven new faces in the squad, France go into the tournament with a team full of confidence and promise following a memorable win over the All Blacks. Wales will look to spoil the party in their search for a consecutive title, making round three a “must-watch.”
England are second favourites thanks to their experience in Maro Itoje and Owen Farrell mixed with newbies Marcus Smith and Freddie Steward. Both Ireland and Scotland will provide fierce resistance however - both are capable of beating anyone on their day.
Despite promising form from their players at club level, it seems this year is a search for pride rather than the title for Italy. They haven’t won a single game since 2015 making them the team to not be beaten by.
Fixtures - times and TV channels
- Saturday 05/02
- Ireland v Wales - 14:15 (ITV)
- Scotland v England - 16:45 (BBC)
- Sunday 06/02:
- France v Italy - 15:00 (ITV)
- Saturday 12/02:
- Wales v Scotland - 14:15 (BBC)
- France v Ireland - 16:45 (ITV)
- Sunday 13/02:
- Italy v England - 15:00 (ITV)
- Saturday 26/02:
- Scotland v France - 14:15 (BBC)
- England v Wales - 16:45 (ITV)
- Sunday 27/02:
- Ireland v Italy - 15:00 (ITV)
- Friday 11/03:
- Wales v France - 20:00 (BBC)
- Saturday 12/03:
- Italy v Scotland - 14:15 (ITV)
- England v Ireland - 16:45 (ITV)
- Saturday 19/03:
- Wales v Italy - 14:15 (BBC)
- Ireland v Scotland - 16:45 (ITV)
- France v England - 20:00 (ITV)
What to serve - pints and pairings
Ireland face off with Wales at 14:15 on ITV before Scotland host England at 16:45, so the opening Saturday promises to be a stormer.
You can cheer on the Lions with pub classics like fish and chips or a veggie wellington. For drinks, we recommend a solid all-rounder in Greene King IPA. Pour it into your very own Greene King pint glass for the ultimate pub-at-home experience.
Got a fightin’ Irish appetite? Try nachos with a Gaelic twist - yep, Irish potato nachos are “a thing,” and they’re the perfect side to a day of sports craic! Pairs brilliantly with Belhaven Black Stout.
Despite their slim pickings on the pitch, Italy have the fan food favourites in pizza and pasta.
Elsewhere on the continent, you can’t knock a good old French baguette with cheese fondue for an easy fix. For something more substantial, try beefing it up with some bourguignon.
Match any of these with Estrella Galicia World Lager for a typically European taste.
Divided loyalties? Or prefer to stay neutral? Check out our Match Day Drinks selection for some other great options.
Recreate history at home - win Premiership Rugby tickets!
With tournament stakes already high, we’ve upped the ante with a competition of our own…and we’re giving away 2x match tickets for a Saracens or Harlequins match of your choice!
To enter, simply recreate your favourite classic international moment at home (from any tournament!). Give O’Gara’s drop goal a go with a pair of socks or even your best impression of Shane Williams’ sidestep past a Shih Tzu. Capture it on camera - either photo or video is fine. Then:
- Upload your photo to your social media account on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
- Tag us in your post so we can see it: @greeneking (Twitter), @GreeneKingBrewery (Facebook), @greeneking_official (Instagram).
Add the hashtag #GreeneKing for your chance to win.
You can enter as many times as you like, right up until the end of the tournament.