Watch the NatWest 6 Nations Championship on NBC Sports Gold

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The opening round of the NatWest 6 Nations Championship kicks off on Saturday. England will look to defend last year’s championship in the 19th series.

France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales will look to take England down throughout the five rounds of play, concluding in March. The tournament will continue to use the bonus point format that was used last year. Each match can be seen on the NBC Sports Gold Rugby Pass.

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Wales v. Scotland Preview:

Scotland’s victory over Wales in last year’s Championship snapped a 10-year losing streak against their old enemy. Now they head to Cardiff looking to break an even longer drought – not since 2002 have the Scots descended on the Welsh capital and emerged victorious.

France v. Ireland Preview:

Saturday evening in Paris brings a clash of contrasts. A new-look France under Jacques Brunel take on a settled Ireland side who have been hit the least hard by injuries of any of the home nations.

Italy v. England Preview:

Reigning champions England travel to Italy to kick-off their NatWest 6 Nations which could conclude with an historic third straight Championship success. However, they face five nations desperate to knock them off their perch starting with Italy who welcome the Red Rose to the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

World Rugby postponing July test matches

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World Rugby has postponed July test matches involving southern and northern hemisphere nations because of ongoing restrictions on international travel during the coronavirus pandemic.

The sport’s international governing body issued a statement Friday saying the mid-year test window will be rescheduled when cross-border travel and quarantine regulations are relaxed.

New Zealand had been scheduled to play Wales and Scotland, Australia was set to play Ireland and Fiji and South Africa had planned to host Scotland and Georgia. World Rugby said the postponement is due “to ongoing government and health agency COVID-19 directives.”

Bill Beaumont re-elected as World Rugby chairman

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Former England captain Bill Beaumont has been re-elected as World Rugby chairman on Saturday after beating Agustín Pichot, the current vice-chairman.

The sport’s governing body says the 68-year-old Beaumont achieved a first-round majority of 28 votes to 23.

Beaumont says: “I am honored to accept the mandate of the World Rugby Council to serve as the international federation’s chairman once again.”

He begins his four-year term after a council meeting on May 12.

French rugby federation president Bernard Laporte becomes Beaumont’s new vice-chairman.