My 6 nations preview and predictions!

Posted: January 27, 2012 in Rugby Union
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

So the 6 Nations are bearing down upon us, and i genuinely think that 5 out of the 6 nations will fancy their chances. Wales were arguably the Northern Hemisphere’s best team at the World Cup, but France made the final and ran oh so close to toppling the All Blacks, so take your pick for a favourite to win the tournament. Here’s my take on the squads and who I think will take the crown.

 

England.

Interim manager, a changing of the guard player wise, several key injuries, there is really no reason why England should have a chance…. BUT. 

Owen Farrell, Charlie Sharples, Brad Barritt, Henry Trinder (as injury cover) add these to an already  dangerous backline and England could really fly through the 6 nations this season. My biggest problem with the squad is Charlie Hodgson. i think he’s going to be used as the key fly half and he plays boring rugby. I keep getting told he’s a great passer, a great rugby brain, but whenever i watch him, he kicks almost everything and has a massive tendency to go wandering and dissapear from big games. 

Also question marks loom over several more untested quantities, Botha, Clark, Morgan, Dowson in the pack could well be breakout stars, Lee Dickson at scrum half is also the Premierships form player at that position.

Joe Marler has widely been condemned as a weakness, great in the loose, technically inept at scrummaging, Dick Best has said that Nick Wood should be there, yet he can’t even get on the Saxons bench!!

I honestly think England have a shot, but it may prove a year or 2 too soon for this squad.

Key Man:- Owen Farrell if he can reproduce his form for Saracens in an England shirt, he really could be one of the biggest players to emerge for England since Jonny.

Hard to guess at a starting XV as some key injuries to the likes of Flood, Lawes, Tuilagi will surely hamper selection.

France 

Which France will turn up? The France that stumbled through the world cup, or the one that fought so hard against the Kiwis in the final.

Who knows? New coach Phillipe Saint Andre could really motivate the team that fell out with the previous coach, Marc Lievremont and with the likes of Clerc and Medard in the backs and Harinordoquy and Dusautoir in the pack, this is a very dangerous French side.If they can get their act together, they could well take the tournament.

Key Man:- Morgan Parra. links the backs and goalkicks, could be vital.

Italy

Well, Italy will be feeding off of scraps again. They are seemingly the only candidate for the wooden spoon again.

The development we all hoped for Italy when they joined the 6 Nations simply hasn’t happened, apart from Parisse, the Bergamasco’s and Castrogiavanni, this is not a good squad. 

 

Key Man :- Parisse, who else. This guy could easily walk into most international squads

 

Ireland

How can Ireland cope without their best player? BO’D is out of the tournament, can Keith Earls may well have the nod at 13, but can he provide that win at all costs spark that BO’D does? I doubt it.

Ireland pack doesn’t rebuild, it constantly develops and they have an absolute embarrassment of riches in the back row, if these guys get their own way, they will roll over any pack in the 6 Nations. O’Gara and Sexton trying to outdo each other at 10 may well provide a catalyst for the rest of the squad.

Key man :- Sean O’Brien. the best backrower in the Northern Hemisphere. 

Scotland

Can Andy Robinsons side kick up a gear as they have threatened to for years? Scotland simply have to dominate in the forwards, the backline have some solid runners, Ansbro (when he’s fit again), Danielli et al, but without a platform, these guys may struggle. 

Kelly Brown being injured is another huge blow, he was the likely captain of the side and a fantastic talisman, but Ross Ford taking over the captaincy could be a masterstroke, in my opinion the best hooker in the 6 nations, and boy does he lead by example!!

Key Man:- Ruaridh Jackson, been around the squad for a while now, can he finally come of age?

 

Wales.

The young guns get another chance to shine, but have lost the scoring prowess of Shane Williams to international retirement, however George North and Leigh Halfpenny are more than equipped to take over that mantel. 

The front row is one of the best balanced in world rugby, the second row can dominate in the loose and in Warburton, Lydiate and Faletau the back row is pretty handy, to say the least, and the Welsh have an absolute plethora of stars and stars in the making, in the backline. Including Gavin Henson. Yes the human Wotsit and reality TV star is back playing rugby. Well at least til he gets bored again. 

After the ultimate disappointment of the World cup, can the Welsh get a grand slam? we’ll see…

Key Man :- George North. He’s got some big, little boots to fill now Shanes gone. 

 

Here’s my predictions….

Week 1

France to beat Italy

Ireland to beat Wales

England to beat Scotland

Week 2

England to beat Italy

France to beat Ireland

Wales to beat Scotland

Week 3

Ireland to beat Italy

Wales to beat England

France to beat Scotland

Week 4

Wales to beat Italy

Ireland to beat Scotland

France to beat England

Week 5

Scotland to beat Italy

Wales to beat France

Ireland to beat England

So my final placings…

Wales

France

Ireland

England

Scotland

Italy

Wales to be the champs, but NO grand slam. Thats my call….

 

Whoever you support and whatever the outcomes, it should be a great tournament, with all the rebuilding in place, it should be entertaining!

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