WALES will get next year’s Six Nations under way against Scotland in Cardiff before bringing the curtain down on the championship when France visit the Principality Stadium.

The fixtures for both the 2018 and 2019 tournaments have been announced, with organisers keeping Europe’s premier international rugby extravaganza a seven-week competition.

There were calls from Aviva Premiership clubs to shorten the championship to a five-week block, but there will still be rest weeks after rounds two and three.

After hosting the Scots on February 3 next year, Wales travel to Twickenham for the big one against England a week later, as they look to end a run of four straight Six Nations defeats to the old enemy.

It is then Ireland in Dublin for Warren Gatland’s men on February 24, Italy back in Cardiff on March 11, before Wales round off the tournament on Super Saturday, March 17, against the French.

Wales will also open up the 2019 championship with a game in Paris on Friday, February 1 – the Welsh Rugby Union decided against hosting Friday night matches after the 2017 championship.

From Paris, Wales go to Rome to face Italy on February 9, while on February 23 England are in the Welsh capital bidding to make it a hat-trick of Six Nations wins in Cardiff.

The penultimate weekend sees Wales travel to Murrayfield on March 9, seven days before the Irish fly to the principality for the second of the three Super Saturday clashes.

“We are delighted to confirm the fixture dates for the 2018 championship, coming shortly after a record breaking 2017 edition,” said Six Nations Rugby chairman Pat Whelan.

“We enjoyed record figures across TV and digital and look forward to continuing that trend over the next two seasons.”

England, champions for the last two years, start their quest for a third successive title away to Italy on February 4 next year.

2018 fixtures

February 3/4, Wales v Scotland, Saturday 2.15pm, France v Ireland, Saturday 4.45pm, Italy v England, Sunday 3pm.

February 10/11, Ireland v Italy, Saturday 2.15pm, England v Wales, Saturday 4.45pm, Scotland v France, Sunday 3pm.

February 23/24, France v Italy, Friday 8pm, Ireland v Wales, Saturday 2.15pm, Scotland v England, Saturday 4.45pm.

March 10/11, Ireland v Scotland, Saturday 2.15pm, France v England, Saturday 4.45pm, Wales v Italy, Sunday 3pm.

March 17, Italy v Scotland, Saturday 12.30pm, England v Ireland, Saturday 2.45pm, Wales v France, Saturday 5pm.

2019 fixtures

February 1/2, France v Wales, Friday 8pm, Scotland v Italy, Saturday 2.15pm, Ireland v England, Saturday 4.45pm.

February 9/10, Scotland v Ireland, Saturday 2.15pm, Italy v Wales, Saturday 4.45pm, England v France, Sunday 3pm.

February 23/24, France v Scotland, Saturday 2.15pm, Wales v England, Saturday 4.45pm, Italy v Ireland, Sunday 3pm.

March 9/10, Scotland v Wales, Saturday 2.15pm, England v Italy, Saturday 4.45pm, Ireland v France, Sunday 3pm.

March 16, Italy v France, Saturday 12.30pm, Wales v Ireland, Saturday 2.45pm, England v Scotland, Saturday 5pm.