The 14th edition of the annual Six Nations rugby union championship – which is contested by England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales – kicks off on 2 February when the Irish squad travels to the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff to take on defending champions Wales.
There are three games scheduled to take place in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, beginning with the France v Italy match on 3 February. The next Rome game sees the Welsh arriving on 23 February; and the Irish on 16 March, coinciding with St Patrick's weekend.
Last year the Italian rugby team played its first Six Nations games at the 72,000-seat Olympic Stadium – the home ground of football teams AS Roma and Lazio – signifying the end of an 11-year association with the 25,000-seat Flaminio Stadium. The Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) said that Flaminio was not up to international standards and made the decision to relocate in July 2011, after growing impatient with empty promises of redevelopment by the stadium administrators Fondazione Nervi. The move, which had the backing of the city and the National Olympic Committee (CONI), came after many rugby fans in Rome feared the tournament was about to leave the capital for the 47,000 seat Artemio Franchi stadium in Florence.
For this year's Six Nations, Trenitalia is offering a shuttle service to rugby supporters arriving into the capital for the three Italian matches. To avail of the service passengers must present their relevant train ticket as well as the ticket of the rugby match taking place that day. Tickets can be bought at LISticket Call Center and for ticket full information, in English, see the FIR website.
Those unable to go to the stadium can watch the matches in many of Rome’s pubs such as Fiddler’s Elbow and Scholars Lounge, however if you are looking for authentic and lively atmosphere, our advice is to cram into the rugby-mad Shamrock on Via del Colosseo, the favoured watering place of Rome's rugby players.
Wanted in Rome publishes the full fixtures below:
Sat 2 Feb. 13.30 Wales v Ireland, Millennium Stadium
Sat 2 Feb. 16.00 England v Scotland, Twickenham
Sun 3 Feb. 15.00 Italy v France, Stadio Olimpico
Sat 9 Feb. 14.30 Scotland v Italy, Murrayfield
Sat 9 Feb. 17.00 France v Wales, Stade de France
Sun 10 Feb. 15.00 Ireland v England, Aviva Stadium
Sat 23 Feb. 14.30 Italy v Wales, Stadio Olimpico
Sat 23 Feb. 17.00 England v France, Twickenham
Sun 24 Feb. 14.00 Scotland v Ireland, Murrayfield
Sat 9 Mar. 14.30 Scotland v Wales, Murrayfield
Sat 9 Mar. 17.00 Ireland v France, Aviva Stadium
Sun 10 Mar. 15.00 England v Italy, Twickenham
Sat 16 Mar. 14.30 Italy v Ireland, Stadio Olimpico
Sat 16 Mar. 17.00 Wales v England, Millennium Stadium
Sat 16 Mar. 20.00 France v Scotland, Stade de France