The 2024 Six Nations kicks off tonight with defending champions Ireland facing France in Marseille at 10pm as the Irish chase a historic back-to-back Grand Slam.
Both teams are recovering from World Cup quarterfinal exits, with notable absentees such as retired Johnny Sexton, France’s Antoine Dupont focusing on rugby sevens at the Olympics and England’s Owen Farrell prioritising his mental wellbeing.
Ireland coach Andy Farrell emphasises growth for Ireland, relying on young flyhalf Jack Crowley to replace Sexton.
Farrell, who’s also the new British and Irish Lions boss, says: “It doesn’t get much tougher than France away in the opening weekend, but it is a challenge that we accept.”
France’s captaincy shifts to Gregory Alldritt, who adds: “[Losing] to South Africa was tough but we will go forward from it.”
Friday Six Nations fixtures: France vs Ireland, 10pm.
Saturday: Italy vs England, 4:15pm, Wales vs Scotland, 6:45pm.