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Six Nations Preview

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The 2021 Guinness Six Nations is starting this weekend after some doubt earlier in January.

With COVID-19 still causing havoc all over the world, the rugby family will be very happy that we will have a full Six Nations with England starting their defence of the title they won last year against Scotland this weekend.

The first test will be Italy that will host France and Wales will welcome Ireland on Sunday.

Here is the schedule for this weekend:

Saturday 6 February 

Italy v France
16:05

France came close last year to win the competition and will be a force to be recon with this year.

They start their campaign on the road against Italy on Saturday and one that they are expected to take full points, but Italy has been improving since Franco Smith has taken over the coaching.

Being the first round we expect a close first half but expect France to pull away in the second half of the match.

With Ntamack not available France will have Jalibert starting the test next to the exciting Dupont for this one

We also have Vincent coming in for Vakatawa and he will partner with Fickou in the midfield.

In the back three we see Gabin Villière and Brice Dulin who will play with Thomas.

In the pack we see the same tight five that started last year with Cyril Baille and Julien Marchand joined by Mohamed Haouas. In the second row Bernard Le Roux and Paul Willemse continue their partnership.

In the backrow Cretin comes in for the injured Cross alongside Ollivon and Alldritt.

This is a very good French side starting this weekend and Italy will have their work cut out to keep the French at bay.

Smith has named a youthful side for their first home test match of the year with Garbisi who is only 20 getting the nod inthe number 10 jumper.

He will be joined by the 19-year-old Varney who plays his club rugby at Gloucester.

It will be their second consecutive game as a pair together for Italy as they also played in the last Autumn Nations Cup together.

Brex will get his first cap for his country when he joins Zanon in the midfield.

The back three will be Jacopo Trulla at fullback with Luca Sperandio one the one wing Luca Sperandio and Monty Ioane on the other.

Lamaro will make his first start at No.8 with Meyer and Negri in the back row.

“We will face with courage the France that showed its qualities during the last Six Nations and the Autumn Nations Cup,” said Azzurri head coach Smith.

Italy: 15 Jacopo Trulla , 14 Luca Sperandio , 13 Marco Zanon , 12 Juan Ignacio Brex , 11 Montanna Ioane , 10 Paolo Garbisi , 9 Stephen Varney (Gloucester Rugby, 3 caps), 8 Michele Lamaro , 7 Johan Meyer , 6 Sebastian Negri , 5 David Sisi , 4 Marco Lazzaroni , 3 Marco Riccioni , 2 Luca Bigi(C), 1 Cherif Traore

Replacements: 16 Gianmarco Lucchesi , 17 Danilo Fischetti , 18 Giosuè Zilocchi , 19 Niccolò Cannone , 20 Federico Ruzza , 21 Maxime Mbanda , 22 Guglielmo Palazzani , 23 Carlo Canna

France: 15. Brice Dulin, 14. Teddy Thomas, 13. Arthur Vincent, 12. Gaël Fickou, 11. Gabin Villière, 10. Matthieu Jalibert, 9. Antoine Dupont, 1. Cyril Baille, 2. Julien Marchand, 3. Mohamed Haouas, 4. Bernard Le Roux, 5. Paul Willemse, 6. Dylan Cretin, 7. Charles Ollivon (c), 8. Grégory Alldritt (La Rochelle)

Replacements: 16. Pierre Bourgarit, 17. Jean-Baptiste Gros, 18. Dorian Aldegheri, 19. Romain Taofifenua, 20. Anthony Jelonch, 21. Baptiste Serin, 22. Louis Carbonel, 23. Damian Penaud

England v Scotland
18:35

England will start their defence of their title at home against Scotland, and this is going to be another classic.

England under Jones won the Six Nations and Autumn Nations Cup last year and will want to keep their dominance in Europe, but easy it will not be, specially getting Scotland first up.

Jones made a few changes to his side with Lawrence staring in the midfield with his captain Owen Farrell next to him at ten. Lawrence will be partnering Slade in the midfield for this weekend.

In the front row we also see Stuart at tighthead with George at hooker and Genge at loosehead.

At lock we see Itoje and Hillpartnering with Underhill, Curry and Vanipola completing the pack.

Youngs will partner Farrell at half-back with May, Watson and Daly taking up the back three

On the bench Jones selected Obano who will make his debut when he comes onto the field later in the match.

We expect a massive forward battle and the English will want to dominate Scotland in the set pieces to lay the foundation for the backs.

This test is the 150th anniversary between these two nations which add a bit of spice to the match.

For the Scottish we see the talented Russell back at ten with Ali Price next to him. Stuart Hogg will lead the team from the number fifteen jumper with Cameron Redpath getting his first cap in the midfield next to Chris Harris

On the wings we see Maitland and Van der Merwe who will add enough speed for the Scottish out wide.

In the pack Fagerson will start at No.8 with Turner who will start at hooker.

Sutherland and Fagerson will pack next to Turner in the front row with Scott Cummings and Jonny Gray in the second row.

Scotland will also have a debutant on the bench in hooker David Cherry. The two South African props Nel and Kebble will be also be cover on the bench.

The first match between England and Scotland goes back to 1871 when England took the Scotts on in Edinburgh. To mark the 150th anniversary, each Scotland player in the starting XV will have the corresponding name from the 1871 team embroidered onto their shirt.

England: 15. Elliot Daly, 14. Anthony Watson, 13. Henry Slade, 12. Ollie Lawrence, 11. Jonny May, 10. Owen Farrell (C), 9. Ben Youngs, 1. Ellis Genge, 2. Jamie George, 3. Will Stuart, 4. Maro Itoje, 5. Jonny Hill, 6. Mark Wilson, 7. Tom Curry, 8. Billy Vunipola

Replacements: 16. Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17. Beno Obano, 18. Harry Williams, 19. Courtney Lawes, 20. Ben Earl, 21. Dan Robson, 22. George Ford, 23. Max Malins

Scotland: 15. Stuart Hogg CAPTAIN, 14. Sean Maitland, 13. Chris Harris, 12. Cameron Redpath, 11. Duhan van der Merwe, 10. Finn Russell, 9. Ali Price, 1. Rory Sutherland, 2. George Turner, 3. Zander Fagerson, 4. Scott Cummings, 5. Jonny Gray, 6. Jamie Ritchie, 7. Hamish Watson, 8. Matt Fagerson

Replacements: 16. David Cherry, 17. Oli Kebble, 18. WP Nel, 19. Richie Gray, 20. Gary Graham, 21. Scott Steele, 22. Jaco van der Walt, 23. Huw Jones

Sunday 7 February

Wales v Ireland
16:50

Neither Wales nor Ireland had a great 2020 since both their coaches retired after the World Cup in Japan, so their are plenty to proof this time around.

It does take some time for new coaches to make their mark in International rugby but both coaches will have to start producing results before their passionate fans start turning on them.

This makes this test match Sunday even more important for both sides getting a good start to the competition.

Wales playing at home will want to take advantage of that but we can be sure that Ireland will come with all they have to put the disappointment of last season behind them.

Dan Lydiate will get his first start for Wales since his last run in the red jumper back in November 2018. Sunday will be his 65th appearance for Wales. He will be joined by Justin Tipuric and Taulupe Faletau in the back-row.

Alun Wyn Jones is back to lead his side and he will partner with Tomas Francis.

Captain Alun Wyn Jones will partner the returning Adam Beard in the second-row.

Tomos Williams will partner Dan Bigger at half-back for this important home test.

Williams will partner North in the midfield, with North making his 99th appearance for his country.

The back-three will be Amos, Rees-Zammit and Halfpenny at the back.

Ireland coach Andy Farrell has named his strongest possible side for this clash.

Cain Healy will make his 50th Championship appearance with his 105th cap for Ireland. He will be joined upfront in the front row by Herring and Porter.

At lock we will see Tadhg Beirne and James Ryan while O’Mahony, van der Flier and CJ Stander will make up the back-row.

Sexton will lead the side at ten with Murray his half-back partner yet again. In the midfield Henshaw and Ringrose will partner again with Keenan at fullback and Earls and Lowe on the wings.

This is going to be a great way to end Round 1 of this years Six Nations on Sunday and surely not a match to miss.

Teams:

Ireland: 15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 James Lowe, 10 Jonathan Sexton (c), 9 Conor Murray, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 5 James Ryan, 4 Tadhg Beirne, 3 Andrew Porter, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Cian Healy
Replacements: 16 Ronan Kelleher, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Iain Henderson, 20 Will Connors, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Billy Burns, 23 Jordan Larmour

Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Louis Rees-Zammit, 13 George North, 12 Johnny Williams, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Tomos Williams, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 4 Adam Beard, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Wyn Jones

Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Rhodri Jones, 18 Leon Brown, 19 Will Rowlands, 20 Josh Navidi, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Callum Sheedy, 23 Nick Tompkins

All matches will be broadcast live in SuperSport.

 

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