It’s that time of year once again, six of Europe’s top national rugby teams are set to fight it out for the coveted Six Nations title.
Dare we say it’s going to be one of the best Six Nations tournaments ever? Take a look at our preview and see what’s in store!
2017 Six Nations Schedule
Could the final game of the tournament BE any more mouth-watering? We don’t think so…
Joe Schmidt’s men had an incredible finish to 2016, beating all of the Southern Hemisphere teams during the Fall Series, including their first ever win over the All-Blacks. That fateful night in Chicago on November 5th brought to end a 111-year wait for the Irish and has bred a huge amount of confidence into the squad as they prepare for the Six Nations.
Squad: (Forwards) Finlay Bealham, Rory Best, Jack Conan, Ultan Dillane, Tadhg Furlong, Cian Healy, Jamie Heaslip, Iain Henderson, Billy Holland, Dave Kilcoyne, Dan Leavy, Jack McGrath, Sean O’Brien, Tommy O’Donnell, Peter O’Mahony, Donnacha Ryan, John Ryan, Niall Scannell, CJ Stander, Devin Toner, James Tracy Josh van der Flier
(Backs) Tommy Bowe, Andrew Conway, Keith Earls, Craig Gilroy, Robbie Henshaw, Paddy Jackson, Rob Kearney Kieran Marmion, Luke Marshall, Stuart McCloskey, Luke McGrath, Conor Murray, Tiernan O’Halloran, Garry Ringrose, Rory Scannell, Jonathan Sexton, Andrew Trimble, Simon Zero.
Rugby Union has potentially never been so competitive. Given this, England’s “perfect” season of 14 consecutive test wins is a feat which we believe warrants a huge amount of credit. In beating Australia 37-21 at Twickenham, England equalled the record they set in their World Cup-winning season of 2003. They appear to be the team to beat in this year’s Six Nations.
Squad: (Forwards) Nathan Catt, Jack Clifford, Dan Cole, Charlie Ewels, Ellis Genge, Jamie George , Teimana Harrison, Dylan Hartley, James Haskell, Nathan Hughes , Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Joe Marler, Matt Mullan, Kyle Sinckler, Tommy Taylor, Mike Williams, Tom Wood.
(Backs) Mike Brown, Danny Care, Elliot Daly, Owen Farrell, George Ford, Jonathan Joseph , Alex Lozowski, Jonny May, Jack Nowell, Henry Slade , Ben Te’o , Anthony Watson, Marland Yarde, Ben Youngs.
The French are dark horses for this year’s tournament. While results ultimately went against them in the Fall Series, Les Bleus had very close encounters with both Australia and New Zealand. Their performances will give the side a huge boost heading into the Six Nations and those who disregard the French do so at their peril.
Squad: (Forwards) Uini Atonio, Cyril Baille, Eddy Ben Arous, Mohamed Boughanmi, Camille Chat, Damien Chouly, Loann Goujon, Kevin Gourdon, Guilhem Guirado, Arthur Iturria, Raphaël Lakafia, Julien Le Devedec, Yoann Maestri, Clement Maynadier, Louis Picamoles, Fabien Sanconnie,(Stade Francais), Sebastien Vahaamahina.
(Backs) Djibril Camara, Yann David, Jean-Marc Doussain, Gael Fickou, Henry Chavancy, Yoann Huget, Rémi Lamerat , Camille Lopez , Maxime Machenaud, Noa Nakaitaci, Geoffrey Palis, Baptiste Serin , Scott Spedding, Virimi Vakatawa.
Nobody can disagree with the fact that wales suffered a confidence-killing demolition at the hands of the Wallabies in Cardiff during the Fall Series and that their run-in with Japan was a little bit too close for comfort. However, this Welsh team picked up 2nd place at the end of last year’s Six Nations. We imagine they won’t be far away again this year.
Squad: (Forwards) Scott Andrews, Nicky Smith, Rob Evans , Rhodri Jones, Tomas Francis, Samson Lee, Kristian Dacey, Ken Owens, Scott Baldwin, Jake Ball, Alun Wyn Jones, Rory Thornton, Luke Charteris, Cory Hill, James King, Justin Tipuric, Olly Cracknell, Ross Moriarty, Taulupe Faletau , Sam Warburton, Thomas Young.
(Backs) Gareth Davies, Rhys Webb, Aled Davies, Dan Biggar, Sam Davies, Owen Williams, Jamie Roberts, Jonathan Davies, Scott Williams, Ashton Hewitt, Alex Cuthbert, Steffan Evans, George North, Liam Williams, Leigh Halfpenny.
Scottish rugby has been steadily improving from year to year, but their flashes of brilliance in recent times have been offset by a lower standard of rugby more commonly associated with Scottish teams from the past. However, there’s no doubting the talent in the squad. The Scots have a point to prove in the Six Nations, we look forward to seeing what they come up with.
Squad: (Forwards) Alex Allan, Simon Berghan, Zander Fagerson, Gordon Reid, Jon Welsh , Fraser Brown , Ross Ford, Stuart McInally, Jonny Gray, Richie Gray, Grant Gilchrist, Tim Swinson, Ben Toolis, John Barclay, Cornell Du Preez, John Hardie, Rob Harley, Josh Strauss , Hamish Watson, Ryan Wilson.
(Backs) Greig Laidlaw, Ali Price, Henry Pyrgos, Finn Russell, Duncan Weir, Mark Bennett, Alex Dunbar, Huw Jones, Matt Scott, Duncan Taylor, Stuart Hogg, Damien Hoyland, Sean Maitland, Tommy Seymour, Tim Visser.
Finally, you have the Italians. This is a team that is hard to get excited about because they can’t gain any traction. In 2015, they finally won a Six Nations game against Scotland. A year later, they finished with an all too familiar winless Six Nations campaign. In the fall, they managed a historic victory over South Africa, only to lose to Tonga a week later. Not to be harsh, but, this year, Italy’s goal should be to just prove they deserve to be there.
Squad: (Forwards) Pietro Ceccarelli, Dario Chistolini, Lorenzo Cittadini, Andrea Lovotti, Sami Panico, Tommaso D’Apice, Ornel Gega, Leonardo Ghiraldini, George Fabio Biagi, Joshua Furno, Marco Fuser, Federico Ruzza, Andries Van Schalkwyk, Marco Barbini, Simone Favaro, Maxime Mata Mbanda, Francesco Minto, Sergio Parisse, Abraham Jurgens Steyn.
(Backs) Giorgio Bronzini, Edoardo Gori, Marcello Violi, Tommaso Allan, Carlo Canna , Tommaso Benvenuti, Tommaso Boni, Michele Campagnaro, Luke McLean, Giulio Bisegni, Angelo Esposito, Giovambattista Venditti, Edoardo Padovani.
How The Bookies See The Six Nations Going
In case you fancy a flutter we’ve complied the outright betting odds from two bookies: PaddyPower (PP) and Bet365 (BET). All odds are to win the Six Nations outright.
England – 10/11 (PP) and 4/5 (BET), Ireland – 9/4 (Both), Wales – 6/1 (PP) and 7/1 (BET), France – 12/1 (Both), Scotland – 25/1 (PP) and 20/1 (BET), Italy – 1000/1 (Both).
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