The Six Nations is upon us again. After a disappointing showing from the Northern Hemisphere elite during last year’s World Cup, many are hoping that last year’s frustrations will be the crucible required for a pheonix-esque rebirth.
“Is the life after O’Connell?” The talismanic leader, led the Emerald Isles to consecutive 6 Nations victories (2014 & 2015) and was arguably playing some of his best rugby during the 2015 season.
Ireland go into the 2016 6 Nations with the last two crowns and their brethren over the Irish Sea will be eager for a change to cut the “Tall Poppy” down to size.
New faces will have big shoes to fill with the notable absences of Bowe, Henderson and O’Mahony for what looks to be the entire competition.
6 Nations 2015 – 1st
What to say about England. After a forgettable world cup performance, which English rugby fan are hoping everyone will forget about already, an Antipodean has been placed at the helm.
True to his penal roots, Eddie Jones has ousted the reliable and steadfast Robshaw to promote front row scraper Dylan Hartley to Captian in spite (or perhaps in endorsement) of his long disciplinary record.
These are big changes for the very traditional RFU, internal posturing and split factions plague the largest of the rugby unions much more than their smaller counterparts. Hopefully the drastic change is just what “The Rose” needs to come into full bloom.
6 Nations 2015 – 2nd
Plagued by injuries heading into the World Cup, the upcoming competition looks promising for the dragons as their big names join the fray alongside their second-stringers who were forced to prove themselves. Selectors have the enviable task of choosing from a number of inform players to complement their overall attack strategy.
Haunted by their 13 minute siege along the Australian try line during WC2015, the “crash and bash” tactics that have been a stalwart of the Welsh attack may begin to transition towards a more expansive style.
6 Nations 2015 – 3rd
A new coach after four years submerged in obscurity at the wrong end of the 6 nations table, Guy Noves has made all the right noises about restoring traditional “French Flair” which has, of late, been more myth than anything of substance.
Notable absence of Saint-Andre and the underwhelming Bastareaud, seem to point toward a new approach to accompany the regime change. Whether we see the fabled “Le Coq” of old, or the depressing “Le Flop” of more recent times remains to be seen.
6 Nations 2015 – 4th
The bookies hot tip for this 6th position in this year’s competition. Azzurri head into this championship a notable number of key men absent, underlining the national team’s lack of depth.
Coaching staff remains unchanged after a dismal outing at the RWC and the expectation is for a string of losses followed by their 11th wooden spoon. While competition organisers have reaffirmed their support for an unchanged line-up, the expected lack-lustre performance from the boys in light blue, will surly raise more “promotion-relegation” questions in the shadow of Georgia’s fairy-tale performance during the RWC.
6 Nations 2015 – 5th
There is an uncharacteristic air of expectation surrounding the young Scottish side after their exciting and dangerous display of running rugby during the most recent World Cup.
Head Coach Vern Cotter has recruited some southern hemisphere coaches to add to his brains trust. With minor changes in back- play and around the break down, he is surly hoping to fan the wind of change that are blowing Scotland in the right direction.
6 Nations 2015 – 6th