Northern hemisphere rugby’s finest go head-to-head for the 2012 RBS Six Nations Championship, and the BBC will have every angle covered from all 15 games exclusively live.
The corporation will once again provide extensive multiplatform coverage of every match across five separate weekends during February and March, with John Inverdale leading the BBC’s live output for the seventh consecutive year.
Other presenters include Gabby Logan and Jason Mohammad.
It’s the concluding weekend of the 2012 RBS 6 Nations, with first of three matches on the championship’s final day staged at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.
Both Italy and Scotland have finished in the bottom two in the table for the last four years, and despite being competitive in many of their fixtures earlier in the campaign, the losing side here will finish last in the table and without a victory in their five matches, as well as claiming the dreaded wooden spoon.
Introduced by John Inverdale, with commentary by Conor McNamara and Andy Nicol, and pitchside reports by Jill Douglas.
Also in high-definition on BBC One HD | Kick-off: 12.30pm
Every rugby mad Welshman will no doubt be tuning in to see whether their national team can clinch their third Grand Slam in eight years.
Wales won the Triple Crown with victory over England last month and followed that with a win against Italy to set themselves up for the title.
They will need to be wary here against Les Bleus, who famously edged them in last year’s World Cup semi-final in New Zealand and are looking to bounce back from last weekend’s defeat at home to England.
Coverage from the Millennium Stadium will be presented by John Inverdale, studio analysis from Shane Williams and Thomas Castaignede, and commentary comes from Eddie Butler and Jonathan Davies.
Also in high-definition on BBC One HD | Kick-off: 2.45pm
Welsh language coverage also on S4C – Build-up from 2pm
Gabby Logan presents all the action of the final match of this year’s RBS 6 Nations championship at Twickenham.
England’s only other match here during this campaign ended in an agonising late defeat to Wales, but there have been enough positive signs to suggest their World Cup disappointments are behind them, including last weekend’s outstanding victory against France in Paris.
Ireland also lost at home to Wales and are aiming to end on a high and continue their excellent run of recent results on this ground.
Commentary by Andrew Cotter and Brian Moore, and studio analysis from Keith Wood and Lawrence Dallaglio.
Further analysis and debate follows in the Interactive Forum on the BBC Red Button and BBC Sport website after the match at 6.55pm.
Also in high-definition on BBC One HD | Kick-off: 5pm
Six Nations Highlights – Week 5 – Sunday, 1am – BBC Two / BBC HD
A new member of the BBC’s presentation team for 2012 will be the recently retired Wales legend Shane Williams, and he will offer his expert insight and analysis on his country’s matches against France, Scotland and Italy.
Hailed by many as the best Welsh player of his generation, Williams won 87 caps during his 11-year international career and became his nation’s all-time leading try-scorer.
He made his final appearance last December against Australia in Cardiff, and despite being on the losing side he managed to end his international career on a high by scoring with the last move of the match to claim his 58th and final test try.
Williams joins the regular BBC rugby union punditry team of Jonathan Davies, Jeremy Guscott, Andy Nicol, Keith Wood and Lawrence Dallaglio.
Commentary comes from Eddie Butler, Andrew Cotter and Alastair Eykyn, and summarisers Brian Moore, Jonathan Davies, Phillip Matthews and Andy Nicol.
Pitchside reports and interviews with the coaches and key players will come from Sonja McLaughlan, Jill Douglas and Graham Thomas.
Every Six Nations game will be shown live and in high-definition on BBC Television, with 13 of the 15 matches to be aired on BBC One, with two games – France v Ireland (February 11) and Scotland v France (February 26) – live on BBC Two. There will also be live streaming of every match via the BBC Sport website.
For the first time in 2012, fans will be able to catch up on all the weekend’s action via a regular Sunday night highlights programme on BBC Two. The 45-minute show will round-up all the key moments from every match, plus there will be extra interviews and post match analysis.
The BBC’s popular Red Button post-match forums also return, with six scheduled half-hour programmes to be shown after key games throughout the tournament (see TV schedule below). Alternative audio options and live statistic will also available via the Red Button during live matches.
In addition the BBC will also carry extensive coverage of the women’s Six Nations tournament, including live coverage of England v Wales on February 25 via the BBC Red Button, plus their will be online updates and video highlights of other matches.
The corporation extended its Six Nations rights deal to 2017 last November, and lengthens BBC Sport’s exclusive partnership with the tournament to 15 straight years, having held onto the rights since 2003.
Last year’s Six Nations saw audiences increase to their highest level since 1998 with an average of nearly 5 million viewers tuning in to watch every match, according to BBC figures.
“We’re proud to once again bring all the action from the oldest and most-famous international rugby union tournament in the world and we’re delighted to have signed a new rights agreement to broadcast the event through to 2017,” said the BBC’s Six Nations editor Carl Hicks.
“Last year over 32 million people tuned in to the tournament, which shows how much audiences across the UK love the Six Nations as it continues to excite and entertain.”
All matches will be live on BBC Radio 5 live or 5 live sports extra, and will be available on the BBC iPlayer for up to a week after the live match.
Additional online content includes archive from past Six Nations, blogs, a preview forum with John Inverdale, and all the news, pre-match interviews, build up and post-match reaction.Six Nations 2011 – Highlights Montage Pictures: BBC Sport (via YouTube channel MaxyFortyOne)
BBC Cymru Wales / S4C
BBC Cymru Wales and S4C will have extensive coverage of the tournament on TV, radio and online.
S4C will show live Welsh-language coverage of every Wales match, with Shane Williams joining the team for the Ireland v Wales and England v Wales games, and he will also be one of the team of pundits for the Scrum V Six Nations Specials on BBC One Wales presented by Jason Mohammad.
There will be a special Scrum V Preview ahead of the tournament plus a one-off documentary looking back at Shane Williams’ career, as well as series of Scrum V Classics looking back at a number of memorable Wales performances from previous years.
BBC Radio Scotland will be providing full live commentary and in-depth analysis of every Scotland fixture in the tournament.
In the commentary box will be Bill Johnstone and Jim Mason. Radio Scotland’s regular Friday night rugby show, Sportsound Rugby, presented by Jim Mason, will be previewing and reviewing all the big match action.
Radio Scotland’s Saturday morning sports magazine programme, Sport Nation, will also feature the big stories from the tournament and, across the output, BBC Scotland will carry the latest news and developments from the Scotland camp.
BBC Northern Ireland
BBC Northern Ireland will have all of Ireland’s games live on BBC Radio Ulster with outside broadcasts from the home games at the Aviva Stadium against Wales, Italy and Scotland.
BBC Newsline will also have extensive preview and analysis of all of Ireland’s games throughout the tournament.