WALES Women intend to build on their encouraging autumn when they take part in a Six Nations that has its own dedicated window in the calendar.

The women’s tournament has traditionally run alongside the men’s competition but was held later in 2021, and with a changed format, because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Next year the action will get under way on March 26 and run through to ‘super Saturday’ on April 30 with Wales travelling to Ireland and England and hosting Scotland, France and Italy.

Ioan Cunningham took charge of the national team in the autumn and his charges enjoyed wins against Japan and South Africa before being hit by a second-half comeback by a classy Canada team ranked third in the world.

Wales kick off their campaign against the Irish at Royal Dublin Society with the aim of enjoying a first Six Nations success since beating Scotland in 2019.

Cunningham said: “It’s a very exciting time for us, we put some good ground work in during the autumn and we will be looking to build on that in the Six Nations.

“Ireland away is always tough but a great place to start the Six Nations. Ireland did well in the autumn beating the USA and putting some good performances together so it will be a big challenge but one we will relish.

“It’s all about momentum in the Six Nations so if we can get something out of our first game, we will look forward to coming home to face Scotland at Cardiff Arms Park and then we have two of the best teams in the world – England and France – either side of the break in the tournament.

“It will be good to end the tournament with two home games in France and Italy. Our home support was brilliant in the autumn and we look forward to that atmosphere at the Arms Park again.

“We are in the process of offering our first full-time contracts to players and getting to work in the New Year.”

All 15 games will be broadcast by the BBC, either on television or iPlayer, while the tournament will also be shown in full in Ireland and Italy, with details of French coverage yet to be confirmed.

Six Nations chief executive Ben Morel said: “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.

“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.”

Wales fixtures Saturday, March 26 – Ireland (away), 4.45pm Saturday, April 2 – Scotland (home), 4.45pm Saturday, April 9 – England (away), 4.45pm Friday, April 22 – France (home), 8pm Saturday, April 30 – Italy (home), midday