France to play Six Nations game outside Paris

DUBLIN (AP) " France will play a Six Nations rugby match away from the Stade de France for the first time when the team takes on Italy in the 2018 campaign.

Six Nations organizers released the 2018 and '19 schedules on Tuesday, saying the Round 3 fixture between France and Italy will be outside Paris. The venue for the match will be announced in the coming weeks.

France has staged Five or Six Nations matches only at the Parc des Princes in southwest Paris, the Stade de France at Saint-Denis, or Colombes, a commune in the northwest outskirts of Paris.

The Six Nations will remain a seven-week competition for the next two years, with rest weeks still after the second and third rounds. There have been some calls " particularly from English clubs " for it to be shortened, but any changes would only come into effect as part of plans for a global season from 2020.

England will start the defense of its title away to Italy and finish at home to Ireland, in the middle game of the final Saturday.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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