Rugby Union

Six Nations preview: How will the home teams fare?

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Many of the England players will be looking to impress with a new coach at the helm. The selection of Dylan Hartley as captain was a bold call by Eddie Jones, but it could lead to a more abrasive and rugged English side, which in turn will make them much tougher to beat.

England also have a favourable fixture list with both Ireland and Wales at home. However, it’s difficult to see them winning the tournament.

The first game against Scotland at Murrayfield will be very telling, and Vern Cotter’s side should not be underestimated following an impressive World Cup display.


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They may have to settle for second place, though if they’re unable to pick up a win against their neighbours to the north.

Predicted finish: 2nd


It’s difficult to forecast how Scotland will perform at this championship. The Scots play a beautiful style of attacking rugby and have minimised their unforced errors, however, a leaky defence has given rise to their recent shortcomings. Simply put, they concede too many tries despite playing attractive rugby.

The Scots were unlucky against Australia in the World Cup, but the emergence of scrum-half Greig Laidlaw as a true leader of men was a welcome consolation.

Irrespective of recent disappointments, I can see Scotland surprising a few teams this year and if they manage to beat England at Murrayfield, anything is possible.

Predicted finish: 3rd


Ireland are a side in transition at the moment. Joe Schmidt will undoubtedly need to pull off a miracle to see Ireland finish in the top two let alone win the championship for a third consecutive year.

The embarrassing mauling at the hands of Argentina at the World Cup caught many Irish fans off guard, and Schmidt will need to rethink his entire game plan or Ireland will struggle.

Mike Ross' fitness issues and the loss of Paul O’Connell render Ireland’s front five a glaring weakness, and that's just one of their major concerns. Scrums will also present an immense challenge for Joe Schmidt's team.

To make matters worse, the quality of the Irish provinces has been less than convincing since the start of the new season. If Ireland fail to beat Wales in the opening fixture, a fourth-place finish is likely the best they can hope for.

Predicted finish: 4th


If Wales can defeat Ireland in their first outing, the championship will arguably become theirs to lose.

The Welsh turned over the English in the World Cup group stage and a repeat performance is far from impossible despite their poor record at Twickenham.

Injuries mar Warren Gatland's squad once again, and although they've been coping reasonably well without the talents of Leigh Halfpenny, he will remain a significant absentee.

Gatland is the most settled of all coaches this tournament. He knows his team, their style, and most importantly, what it takes to be victorious.

Statistics also favour the Welsh, who have won two Grand Slams following the previous two World Cups.

Predicted finish: 1st

Who will win this year's Six Nations tournament? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below!

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