THE Calcutta Cup clash between Scotland and England will reach a new frontier when British astronaut Tim Peake tunes in from space.
The Championship’s oldest fixture is to be streamed live to Peake on board the International Space Station (ISS) by the BBC.
Peake, a former British Army Air Corps officer who was born in Chichester, will roar on Eddie Jones’ England and has sent back a photo of himself in a Red Rose jersey and clutching a rugby ball.
“I know that space is a hostile environment, but Murrayfield for the old Calcutta Cup - that’s a whole different matter,” Peake said.
“And Scotland has a fire in their belly - you could hear their World Cup rage from up here in space! May the best team win! Come on England!”
Peake, the first Briton to complete an Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA) or spacewalk, blasted into space on December 15 and is due to spend six months on board the ISS.
We’ve always tried to push the boundaries of broadcasting at the BBC and streaming to space is an exciting first for usPhilip Bernie
“The Six Nations is watched by millions of people across the globe and this latest development is certainly a new and exciting one,” Six Nations chief executive John Feehan said.
“We’re delighted that the BBC are able to bring all the action from the eagerly awaited Calcutta Cup clash to keen rugby fan Tim and hope he enjoys all the action from the International Space Station.”
England enter the Edinburgh showdown as favourites but while they crashed out of the World Cup at the group stage, Scotland were the best performing European nation after being denied a place in the semi-finals when Australia landed a last-gasp penalty.
“We’ve always tried to push the boundaries of broadcasting at the BBC and streaming to space is an exciting first for us,” BBC head of TV sport Philip Bernie said.
“We knew Tim was a massive rugby fan and now he can join the rest of the nation watching Scotland v England in the Six Nations.”