6 Nations, the annual rugby competition between the six best European nations, starts in February. Ireland will try to defend their title, while England and Wales will try to beat their records.
On February 6 2016
, a new edition of the Six Nations rugby championship
starts, the 17th
edition since Italy was added to the tournament in the year 2000. The opening game
will be France – Italy
, a strong first course to start the best month-and-a-half of the year for all rugby fans in the entire continent.
All bets are on the ‘England's Rose’
, followed closely by the current champion, Ireland. Last year, they almost won the title, and they have the best player of the Six Nations 2014
, the full back Mike Brown
. The team lead by Stuart Lancaster cannot afford to lower their level against the ‘Red Dragons’ at the opening game, because in such a competence-packed championship, any setback can mean losing the trophy.
Apparently, Wales is not among the favorites for the title
, but their potential is not far from the English or Irish teams: in 2014, they finished third with one less win than their neighbors, and their win over the South African Springboks in the ‘match test’ is a good warning for their rivals: beware of the XV lead by the New Zealander Warren Gatland.
Ireland is the team to beat
The Irish are defending the title, and they seem to be getting ready to win their second consecutive title
, which has only been done once before, in 1949 – not counting the shared wins in 1983 (with France) and in 1973 (quadruple draw). The ‘shamrock fifteen’
players Rob Kearnye and Tommy Bowe are in great shape, and they should be key elements in deciding the fate of Joe Schmidt’s team on this Six Nations 2016.
The current champions are in for an easy debut: on Sunday February 7 in Dublin
Italy received the wooden spoon on one edition
after losing every match they played. The Azzurri’s goal for the next edition will be to avoid repeating that embarrassment although their last friendly matches are not a good sign for the team lead by the Frenchman Jacques Brunel.
France and Scotland
are also not among the favorites to win the tournament, but they may become defining elements, because they have the potential to place any rival in a tight spot. The ‘Bleus’ made it to the Six Nations with some doubts. As for Scotland, their manager, Vern Cotter, is building a hopeful team step by step, but according to the experts, they are still far from achieving the necessary level to win the title.
Everything seems to point towards England – Ireland
, which will be played on February 27th in London
, in the context of Round 3, being the key to decide which of these great teams will be the champion. On a Six Nations tournament, no one can celebrate victory beforehand, but these teams sure guarantee a season full of excitement and a great European rugby show
until the very last minute. Book your 6 Nations tickets here
and don’t miss a single detail of what happens on the field. And, above all… don’t miss the ‘third half’!