10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
The final round of matches will all be played on Saturday March 27th which is already being dubbed 'Super Saturday' by the organisers. The Wales/Italy game gets that particular afternoon's fare under way at 2pm followed by Ireland/Scotland (4pm) and finally France v England set for an 8pm kick-off. It may be recalled that last season there was a lot of disquiet when the England/France game was fixed for the opening day of the championship - many commentators criticising the decision to play 'the championship decider' on day one. However, Ireland made a total nonsense of those fears bringing the championship right down to a final day decider against England in Lansdowne Road.
Jacques Laurans, Chairman of the Six Nations Committee said: "In planning the fixture schedule for 2004, our aim has been to build on the success of this year's Tournament, which was the most widely-viewed of recent times.
" Television audiences were up from 75 million to 95 million, with the Grand Slam-deciding final match attracting an audience share in Britain of more than 50%.
"The 2004 Championship promises even greater interest, coming as it does hard on the heels of the Rugby World Cup."
Saturday 14th February 2004. France vs Ireland (2pm); Wales vs Scotland (4pm). Sunday 15th February. Italy vs England (3pm).
Saturday 21st February 2004. France vs Italy (2pm); Scotland vs England (5.30pm). Sunday 22nd February. Ireland vs Wales (3pm).
Saturday 6th March 2004. Italy vs Scotland (1.30pm); England vs Ireland (4pm). Sunday 7th March. Wales vs France (3pm).
Saturday 20th March 2004. 13:30 Ireland vs Italy (1.30pm); England vs Wales (4pm). Sunday 21st March. Scotland vs France (3pm).
Saturday 27th March 2004. Wales vs Italy (2pm); Ireland vs Scotland (4pm); France vs England (8pm).