Dates: Feb 1 - Mar 16, 2019
Video Credits: Paul Smith via YouTube
With the Rugby World Cup just around the corner, there will be more importance attached to each Six Nations match, here is a real chance for us (the fans) to gauge if our teams can mix it with the big boys. The Six Nations boast three of the top four rugby teams in the world, reigning Six Nations champions Ireland, ranked second in the world, take on world number four England in the opener.
It may be a little presumptuous to assume either Ireland or England will win the Six Nations. However, if you dig a little deeper, in the past 5 years between these old foes, Ireland has taken home the Six Nations silverware on three occasions with England picking up the remaining two.
Being the current holders and being ranked as the second-best team in the world, Ireland would have you believe they go into this tournament with one hand on the trophy. That and the fact during the last two years they have shown their class and grit to win games against England home and away.
England’s head coach Eddie Jones should relish the opportunity going in as an underdog, feeling the pressure is not a given this time and has shifted towards Ireland - the polar opposite to the previous two meetings.
It would take a brave man to call it England’s way, but this is rugby, unpredictable at it’s finest, which is why we love the game. Eddie recently went on record stating this was his best England side since he took the helm. A strong statement, time for him and his boys to deliver!
Another equally huge game on the opening weekend is France vs Wales. Nobody may be talking about them as serious contenders to become champions but count them out at your peril, as former England World Cup Winner Matt Dawson warned, “their squads are seriously dangerous!”
In the last two meetings, each side has taken a win apiece. Most recently with Wales winning at home by the slimmest of margins 14-13. It appears home advantage favours the outcome of this encounter with both teams claiming their wins on home turf.
France has not won the Six Nations Championship Trophy since 2010. Can France put their name in the hat by laying down a marker early and putting one over Wales?
Looking forward a little, should Wales and Ireland win their opening games we could be set up for a grand finale between the two in Cardiff at Millenium stadium. It’s not what any England fan wants to hear, but it would certainly set us up for quite the climax. Although before we start looking too far ahead, let’s get the first weekend’s set of fixtures out of the way and see who sets themselves up for a crack at the trophy!
Scotland will open their tournament against Italy, although Italy continues to improve on a yearly basis, you would probably get the same odds as Leicester City winning the Premier League again as Italy emerging champions!
For Scotland fans the omens are good as they historically play exceptional rugby at Murrayfield, it’s on the road where they falter. Some headline stats that I’m sure the Scottish would not like to read beyond this point: Scotland have not won away to Ireland since 2010; away to Wales since 2002; away to France since 1999; and it is way back in 1983 that they beat England at Twickenham.
Those are some painful truths, let’s hope this year they can put an end to some of those woeful away records.
To conclude, we have a very exciting weekend of rugby upon us, may the best nation win and provide us with some fantastic entertainment, we at the Insights team are pumped to see how this plays out over the next few weeks.
If you love rugby as much as we do, join the RedTix Insights team at Rugby World Cup Japan, 2019.
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