Lowdown: when to watch the 2019 Six Nations games in UAE time

A guide to the this year's schedule as Ireland kick off their title defence against England

Ireland's hooker Rory Best holds the Six Nations trophy and Ireland's fly-half Jonathan Sexton the Triple Crown as Ireland players celebrate their Six Nations Grand Slam victory after the Six Nations international rugby union match between England and Ireland at the Twickenham, west London, on March 17, 2018. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)
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The pinnacle of northern hemisphere international rugby union action, the Six Nations, begins on Saturday.

This year's competition has extra weight as all six sides are playing with one eye on the Rugby World Cup in Japan in September.

Ireland are defending champions, having won the grand slam last year, and they begin their challenge against England on Saturday.

Italy, who have not won a Six Nations match since February 2015 and have finished bottom the past three seasons, open their campaign on Saturday against Scotland in Edinburgh.

There are five match weekends with the tournament concluding on March 16. Here is a schedule of the action below, with all kick-offs in UAE time.

Saturday, February 2

France v Wales 12.00am

Scotland v Italy 6.15pm

Ireland v England 8.45pm

Saturday, February 9

Scotland v Ireland 6.15pm

Italy v Wales 8.45pm

Sunday, February 10

England v France 7pm

Saturday, February 23

France v Scotland 6.15pm

Wales v England 8.45pm

Sunday, February 24

Italy v Ireland 7pm

Saturday, March 9

Scotland v Wales 6.15pm

England v Italy 8.45pm

Sunday, March 10

Ireland v France 7pm

Saturday, March 16

Italy v France 4.30pm

Wales v Ireland 6.45pm

England v Scotland 9pm