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Irresistible Ireland to take the crown? Six Nations preview and predictions

4 Mins read

By Ryan Davies & Sean Coppack

With the Six Nations kicking off in Cardiff on Friday night, we take a look at the teams and make our predictions for where that famous trophy will end up this year.


[tabs-header-group open=”one” active=”yes”] England [/tabs-header-group][tabs-header-group open=”two”] France[/tabs-header-group][tabs-header-group open=”three”] Ireland [/tabs-header-group][tabs-header-group open=”four”] Italy [/tabs-header-group][tabs-header-group open=”five”] Scotland [/tabs-header-group][tabs-header-group open=”six”] Wales [/tabs-header-group]


[tabs-content-group id=”one” active=”yes”]England

England come into the tournament as one of the favourites to take the title. They play Wales in the first game of the competition without some key players. Fly half Owen Farrell has been ruled out after he has suffered a knee injury that requires surgery. Centres Brad Barritt and Kyle Eastmond have also been added to the long list of injuries and will not feature in the opening match on Friday. They have recalled Danny Cipriani and Nick Easter but will both most likely start on the bench against Wales.

With the World Cup barely six months away and a very strong England A side (Reserve squad) having been picked, this is the final chance for the England players to impress Stuart Lancaster and cement a place in that squad. If England manage to claw out a victory in Cardiff, the title will be well in reach, it’s a big ‘if’ though.

Prediction: 5th

[/tabs-content-group][tabs-content-group id=”two”]France

Despite nearly winning the tournament last time around, Philippe Saint-Andre’s side have been poor in the last year. This was highlighted when Argentina upset the French at the Stade de France 18-13 in November.

France sit sixth in the World rankings just above Scotland and have struggled to reclaim any prominence after being edged out by the All Blacks in the 2011 Rugby World Cup.  But the French do have match-winners in their ranks. Captain Thierry Dusautoir will manage the strong French forwards, while number 10 Camile Lopez has been in fine form for Toulon and will look to continue this into the Six Nations.

They might not be favourites but don’t count ‘Les Bleus’ out of the race just yet.

Prediction: 4th

[/tabs-content-group][tabs-content-group id=”three”]Ireland

After a remarkable campaign in the autumn internationals, which saw the Irish defeat the Wallabies and the Springboks in emphatic fashion, Joe Schmidt’s men will come into this years Six Nations in bullish mood.

Those results in the autumn coupled with Leinster’s form in the European rugby championship, where they have qualified as a top seed, will no doubt fill their large Irish contingent with confidence as we head in to the spring and beyond where many are tipping them to make a deep run into the World Cup next autumn.

With the experience of the evergreen Paul O’Connell in the pack and the stand out fly half in the tournament, Jonny Sexton, don’t be surprised to see Ireland’s campaign getting off to a spectacular start in Rome this weekend.

Prediction: 1st

[/tabs-content-group][tabs-content-group id=”four”]Italy

In the 15 Six Nations they have participated in, Italy have finished with the wooden spoon ten times. This is a stat that doesn’t fill the Italian faithful with any optimism. It is hard to see the Italians picking up any points in this tournament. They only beat Samoa in the Autumn internationals and suffered defeats to South Africa and Argentina.

They have never won the Six Nations before and it’s hard to believe that they stand much chance this time around. They face main favourites Ireland in their first game in Rome which will be a tough test. They will have to be at their very best to have any chance of having a successful run.

Prediction: 6th

[/tabs-content-group][tabs-content-group id=”five”]Scotland

A talented generation of Scottish players finally appears to be fulfilling some of their potential, the form of the Glasgow Warriors, a club containing the bulk of the national side, over the past 18 months has given Scottish fans plenty of cause for optimism. Some promising form in the Autumn saw the Scots overcome a solid Argentina team as well as running the All Blacks incredibly close at Murrayfield.

The Scots will still be huge underdogs for the tournament, but with the growing experience in the squad and with the likes of Stuart Hogg and Richie Gray leading the way, we’re tipping them to cause a few upsets this year.

Prediction: 3rd

[/tabs-content-group][tabs-content-group id=”six”]Wales

Wales have a remarkable record in the Six Nations over the last decade with three grand slams and four championships to their name. A reasonable Autumn campaign which saw the Welsh running the All Blacks and Australia close before defeating South Africa in their final game is evidence enough that the Welsh will once again be competing at the sharp end of this year’s championship.

Despite the omission and subsequent retirement of prop, Adam Jones, Wales have the most settled squad in the championships, the bulk of which has been together for the best part of five years. This year is seen as pivotal in the careers of players such as captain Sam Warburton, George North and centre Jamie Roberts in trying to secure a legacy as all time greats in the famous red shirt.

Much will hinge on this Friday’s game under the lights at the Millennium Stadium where Wales take on England in front of a passionate home crowd. It will take something incredibly special to topple the Welsh in a game like this so expect them to win and kick on in a tournament seen by coach Warren Gatland as a mere warm up for this year’s World Cup.

Prediction: 2nd



Cover Photo: Phil Rogers

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