Six Nations Preview: Wales vs Italy, France vs England and Ireland vs Scotland in Week 1

28/01/2014 no comments »
Six Nations Preview: Wales vs Italy, France vs England and Ireland vs Scotland in Week 1

27.01.2014 – The Six Nations starts this weekend and as always it is a spectacular tournament with plenty of passion and pride, as all the home nations plus France and Italy hope to show they are the northern hemispheres top nation. Wales will be aiming to make history and become record breakers in winning a third successive title. 

Wales vs Italy on Saturday, February 1st at 2:30pm at the Millennium Stadium

Wales have numerous world class players in their squad with scrum-half Mike Phillips, full-back Leigh Halfpenny, and inspirational Captain Sam Warburton all available for selection, showing that the Welsh are worthy favourites to retain their crown. Their fixtures are the Italians at the Millennium Stadium first up, with Ireland away, France at home, followed by a trip to Twickenham to face England, with Scotland in Cardiff the last fixture.

France vs England on Saturday, February 1st at 5pm at the Stade de France

England meanwhile will still be smarting from their hammering in Cardiff last season when a Grand Slam was in their grasp, so they will be hugely motivated to do better this year. Their squad is packed with talented players including Captain Chris Robshaw, scrum-half Danny Care and fly-half Owen Farrell with youngster George Ford also included. The Red Rose have a tough start this year though, as they start in Paris against France on Saturday followed by a trip to Murrayfield to play Scotland, but good results in those will set them up for the other fixtures with Ireland and Wales at home with Italy away to finish.

The French however have a huge abundance of star players such as Clermont Auvergne winger Wesley Fofana, Toulon centre Mathieu Bastareaud, Captain Thierry Dusautoir, and uncapped fly-half Jules Plisson, who is ahead of South African Morne Steyn at his Club Stade Francais, so this shows he is a quality talent. Head Coach Philippe Saint-André will be praying for a better tournament performance than last year when they finished bottom of the table with only one win posted, so the pressure is on them this year. Their fixtures are England and Italy at home, followed by Wales and Scotland away with Ireland in Paris to end their Championship.

Ireland vs Scotland on Sunday, February 2nd at 3pm at the Aviva Stadium

Ireland like the teams mentioned above also have world class players, including fly-half Jonathan Sexton, forward Jamie Heaslip and Legendary Centre Brain O’Driscoll, so are a force for anyone on their day. They start their tournament at home to Scotland and Wales, followed by a trip to London to play the English, then play the Italians in Dublin and finish away in Paris.

Scotland meanwhile are improving under Head Coach Scott Johnson and with talented players included such as Stuart Hogg and Sean Maitland who toured with the British and Irish Lions last summer, are sure to be a match for the other home nations this year. Their fixtures are Ireland in Dublin this weekend, followed by England at home and Italy away along with the French at home with a trip to Wales to end.

Finally the Italians have improved substantially since their inception into the competition, as they are no longer being beaten with ease regularly by the other nations, evidence is shown in the way they beat France and Ireland last year to finish fourth in the table at the end of the Championship. Their pack is a match for anyone with Toulon forward Martin Castrogiovanni, Marco Bortolami, and Mauro Bergamasco, all providing the might which is combined with talented backs such as Luciano Orquera and talismanic Captain Sergio Parisse to provide tough opposition for opponents nowadays. The Italians start off in Cardiff against Wales, then travel to France, before hosting Scotland then playing Ireland in Dublin before finishing at home to England.

This year’s Six Nations is not to be missed and tickets are sure to sell quickly so act soon if not to be disappointed.

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