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It’s hard to believe we’re already approaching the end of January. But the good news is that the start of February means….it’s almost Six Nations time again!
With this being a World Cup year the Six Nations Championship takes on an even greater significance, with every team looking to lay down a marker in their preparations for Japan 2019.
After last year’s emphatic Grand Slam victory, followed up by their first-ever home win over the All Blacks in November, Ireland has cemented their position at Number 2 in the World Rugby Rankings and it’s no surprise they go in as tournament favourites.
Their opening match against England (4th in the Rankings) at the Aviva Stadium is likely to have a huge bearing over where the trophy ends up – although Wales (3rd) might have something to say about that.
France (9th) & Scotland (7th) remain outside bets for the trophy, though with a favourable fixture list the Scots might just fancy their chances as the dark horses this year. Italy remains perennial wooden spoon contenders.
All the matches will be split between BBC and ITV, but if you’re thinking about going to the pub for that Ireland v England match on Saturday 2 February we recommend getting there early – it’s going to be busy!
Players to watch:
Jacob Stockdale (Ireland) – Player of the Championship in 2018 with a record seven tries (and one more against New Zealand in their famous victory in November) Stockdale was recently described as “the best winger in the world” by former Lions and England wing Ugo Monye.
Aaron Wainwright (Wales) – not even in the squad in 2018, the 21-year-old has a football pedigree and only started playing rugby four years ago. A stand out performer for Dragons in recent months, the back-row looks destined for his Six Nations debut in February.
Manu Tuilagi (England) – looking to start a Six Nations match for the first time since 2013, Tuilagi could make a huge impact for England at this tournament…..if he can just stay fit.
Sam Skinner (Scotland) – After switching allegiances to Scotland after representing England at U20 level, the 6’5 Exeter Chiefs lock impressed in Scotland’s 54-17 rout of Fiji in Autumn and looks to have a bright future.
Friday 1 February: France vs Wales – 8 pm
Saturday 2 February: Scotland vs Italy – 2:15 pm
Saturday 2 February: Ireland vs England – 4:45 pm
Saturday 9 February: Scotland vs Ireland – 2:15 pm
Saturday 9 February: Italy vs Wales – 4.45 pm
Sunday 10 February: England vs France – 3 pm
Saturday 23 February: France vs Scotland – 2:15 pm
Saturday 23 February: Wales vs England – 4:45 pm
Sunday 24 February: Italy vs Ireland – 3 pm
Saturday 9 March: Scotland vs Wales – 2:15 pm
Saturday 9 March: England vs Italy – 4:45 pm
Sunday 10 March: Ireland vs France – 3 pm
Saturday 16 March: Italy vs France – 12:30 pm
Saturday 16 March: Wales vs Ireland – 2:45 pm
Saturday 16 March: England vs Scotland – 5 pm
Enjoy the games from the comfort of the Rose & Crown in Wimbledon Village, The Alexandra in town or the The Old Frizzle.
Written by Mike Oldham
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