England begin title defence in Scotland as Women's Six Nations returns to original format

England won their third consecutive Six Nations title earlier this year. David Rogers/Getty Images

England will begin their quest for a fourth consecutive Women's Six Nations title away at Scotland on March 26 after the fixtures for next year's competition were announced on Thursday.

The 2022 edition, returning to its traditional format after COVID-19 enforced changes this year, will take place in a six-week window in late March-April, given its own space in the calendar as the men's edition finishes on March 19.

Ireland host Wales on the opening day, after champions England have played Scotland. France take on Italy in Grenoble on Sunday March 27.

The 2021 event was postponed to April from February due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the format was condensed with England meeting France in the final as winners of two three-team groups. England won their third straight title in a 10-6 win.

However, next year's edition returns to the usual six-team round-robin format and will end with a "Super Saturday" on April 30 with all games taking place on the same day.

The Six Nations said that all matches would be shown in Britain, Ireland and Italy, with broadcast details for France to be announced in due course.

"Increased visibility is key for the growth of the women's game. We are delighted to have enhanced broadcast partnerships in place along with a continuation of the dedicated window from which we saw such success last year," Six Nations CEO Ben Morel said.

"These two key developments along with continued investment in many other areas including performance, commercial and marketing will enhance the Women's Six Nations for fans and players alike."