Rugby Union

Six Nations preview: England facing strong opposition this time round

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England - England are a team that have dramatically improved under Stuart Lancaster, so much so that they managed to beat Australia in the recent Autumn International's. The depth of the squad has improved so much that there are now four realistic contenders for fly half in the squad, with Owen Farrell, George Ford, Danny Cipriani and Stephen Meyler all competing for the 10 shirt.

The centre positions are still worrying as Stuart Lancaster continues to search for a consistent partnership. If they get the trips to the Millenium and the Aviva Stadium right they could well find themselves topping the table at the end of the tournament, but its a huge ask for a side still developing and ravaged by injuries.

Predicted Finish - 3rd

France - What on Earth can we expect from this France side during the 6 Nations? They are a side with massive individual talent, especially in Mathieu Bastareaud and Wesley Fofana in the centres, but remain one of the most inconsistent sides in the world of rugby.

A string of good performances could see a decent finish for the French side, but a woeful tournament filled with inconsistency is just as likely.

Predicted Finish - 5th

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Ireland - There is one man who could single handedly decide the destiny of the 6 Nations - Jonathan Sexton. If the Irish fly half plays well consistently, I cannot see the trophy heading anywhere but the Aviva Stadium.

The Irish side contains a lot of experience in the likes of Paul O'Connell and Tommy Bowe, which could prove to be valuable during their campaign. Their trip to Cardiff will be absolutely huge and will go a long way to deciding who wins the 6 Nations.

Predicted Finish - 1st

Italy - Just like Ireland, there is one man crucial to the success of the Italians, and that is Sergio Parisse. Where would this Italy side be without him? However, the rest of the side lacks real quality, and they will be lucky to come out of the tournament without holding a wooden spoon.

Predicted Finish - 6th

Scotland - Scotland could very easily be the surprise package of the tournament. A successful Autumn International series which saw them give New Zealand a run for their money will have filled this side with confidence. In addition, with the flair of Stuart Hogg, anything is possible for the Scots in this tournament, and they will not be far off the top 3.

Predicted Finish - 4th

Wales - An average Autumn International series ended with the glory of beating one of the big three, South Africa. Dan Biggar has appeared to step up to the role of fly half in the Welsh side, which has filled a massive problem position for Warren Gatland. The pace and strength of George North, Alex Cuthbert and Jamie Roberts is frightful for any opposition, but the front row is an area that could easily be exposed by the likes of Ireland and England. However, home ties to their closest contenders could prove to be especially valuable for Wales in their quest to win the 6 Nations.

Predicted Finish - 2nd

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Rugby Union
England Rugby
Six Nations
Ireland Rugby
Scotland Rugby
France Rugby
Italy Rugby

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