Fri 6 February Wales v England 7.30pm BBC1 (kick-off 8.05pm)
Sat 14 February England v Italy 2pm BBC1 (kick-off 2.30pm)
Sun 1 March Ireland v England 2.30pm BBC1 (kick-off 3pm)
Sat 14 March England v Scotland 4.30pm BBC1 (kick-off 5pm)
Sat 21 March England v France 4.30pm (kick-off 5pm)
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot Yes, for reasons that are still not quite clear the African American gospel hymn has been adopted as the rallying cry for the Twickenham faithful. The story goes that a small section of the Twickenham faithful began singing the African-American gospel hymn on the day black player Chris Oti made his England debut.
In a sentence
A side growing in belief with a home World Cup on the horizon, but blighted by recent injuries. There’s much more to England game now than just a brutal pack – although they still love a good arm wrestle when given the chance.
Pundit’s view: Jeremy Guscott
How hard will England’s first game against Wales be?
Home advantage in matches between England and Wales is huge. You go to somewhere like the Millennium Stadium as an England player, and you know you’re away from home. It’s so atmospheric.
For these players, I think there’s an added dimension in that a lot of the England team played two years ago in Cardiff. They were going for a Grand Slam – and Wales tore them to bits. Wales won 30-3, and totally dominated an inexperienced England side. It’s a massive game this time, because of that memory of two years ago.
Having said that, I think England will beat Wales. I hope they’ve learned a lesson from their Australia game in the Autumn. Their scrum is strong, their lineout efficient, they have a great driving maul and they can position themselves to attack. If they do that, I believe they can win in Wales. They don’t have to do too much more.
What do you think of England’s chances in general?
In the last two championships England have come second; they haven’t been able to get across the line and win. If a side is learning and developing, it has to. I would want to see England get across that line.
This season they have three home games, and two tough away games against two possible winners. England have to get across the line in an ultra-tough situation, man it couldn’t be tougher than this first game. Ireland are the favourites; that will be the hardest game.
Who are the key men for you?
I think George Ford will be a key player. He’s an all-seeing, all-managing footballing rugby player. With him and Jonny May and Mike Brown, England have the creativity, the spark. That combination with a powerful midfield is good.
Captain Chris Robshaw says…
“I think ere in a very fortunate position in this country and in this team that there are so many players out there playing well. Of course, it’s never ideal when you lose players.
“We have other guys who are going to step in now. There are other guys who have been waiting for an opportunity, and it’s their time to grab it with both arms.
“Playing away from home is always slightly different, especially in the cauldron of a stadium like the Millennium. It’s a great place to go and play rugby, and we’re all looking forward to it.”