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And so it begins…

It always seems like a long wait for the Six Nations to get underway, and thanks to the stunning form that England are bringing to the table at the moment, it seems longer than ever!

This is shaping up to be a very exciting Six Nations for England Rugby, with 14 wins on the bounce under their belt, and some pretty stunning stats for the opposition to play up against. According to the record books, the last time Scotland won at Twickenham, Maggie was at the helm of the country, Italy have a record of played 22, lost 22 and Wales have lost 4 out of the last 5. Don’t get me wrong, I am expecting very stiff competition from the best teams and the afore mentioned Scots and Italians are vastly improved over the last eighteen months. The trouble is, it is very easy to get whipped up in a winning streak that seems like it is never going to end (I’ve been there; it ends) and it is when you are stood at the top of the pile that you are at your most vulnerable. Every team, wants to topple you, and you run the risk of toppling yourself by starting to trust in that air of invincibility.

All being said and done though, I feel as though this is England’s Six Nations to throw away. The team is strong, and although there are injury worries it seems less of a bother than in seasons past and where we are missing “star” players, we have the luxury of a pretty stellar supporting act.

The game changer has been the fear factor if you like, when Eddie Jones says that “no man’s position is safe in this squad” you know he means it, you know he has plan A, B, C and D up his sleeve and you can have faith that the best combination will show up on the day. This is where it matters; England have never had a poor set of players but they have struggled in the past with the definition of “team” and how to put that together on the pitch. No more is that the case, whether it is a well drilled, battle hardened veteran of the game or player without a cap to his name, Eddie has got the eye for where and most importantly when they fit into any given situation.

So who stands a fair crack of the whip and a chance to end England’s purple patch. Well to be blunt, Ireland and Wales are probably the only teams to mount a credible challenge for the title. Cardiff is a battle ground that has got the better of the Red Rose on a number of occasions and make no mistake that Wales are keen to show form at the moment. Management upheaval in prep for the Lions might go against them, but they’re professionals, they want to win and they enjoy nothing better than making that an English scalp. Ireland are just flat out in the form of their lives and the wins over New Zealand and Australia at the Autumn Internationals have left them full of confidence, and if on your day you can beat New Zealand, then you can beat anybody.

You’re never going to rule anyone out of shock victory at the 6N and I certainly hope there are some close run games with a few surprises along the way, because as much fun as it is to watch England sweeping aside all that come before them at the moment, you really want the bar to be raised again so we’re not just having great northern hemisphere rugby, but the ability for all teams to make it work down south as well!

Predictions for the weekend? Like I say, it all comes down to the team who turn up on the day, but I don’t think I’ll be far wrong with this…

Scotland

(L)

Vs

(W)

Ireland

England

(W)

Vs

(L)

France

Italy

(L)

Vs

(W)

Wales

 

I can’t wait. It is going to take some special to lever me from the armchair this weekend.

Enjoy. 

Phil.

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