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6 Nations

6 Nations Form Guide to Week One

A small guide on what to expect from each team this weekend as the 6 Nations returns

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This weekend sees the start of February and with it the 6 Nations returns with the opening weekend sure to set the tone for what awaits.

Here’s a quick form guide as to how each team performed over the past 12 months and who needs a good tournament to start off their Rugby World Cup year.

The first game sees France take on Wales in the Stade de France, on Friday, kick off 20 00.

Wales are the team on the up with wins over South Africa and two over Argentina last summer coupled with a clean sweep in the November internationals giving them a seven-game winning streak since last years tournament.

On the other hand, France had a lacklustre 2018, with only two wins in the 6 Nations, followed up by a 3-0 series lose to New Zealand in the summer. November was no different as they won one of three matches including a first loss to Fiji.

Both teams will be looking to kick start their year off with a win with the World Cup only around the corner.

Saturday hosts a double header with Scotland taking on Italy at Murrayfield at 14 15.

The hosts head into the fixture after a missed year finishing last years tournament in third, during the summer they bet Canada and Argentina but fell to defeat to the USA. Their year ended with two wins from four in the November series.

Italy are a team in desperate need of some form before the world cup and here would be a good place to start as they only narrowly lost out 29-27 in the teams encounter last year.

Conor O’Shea’s men come in to the tournament on the back of two wins in eleven last year while finishing in last place with a single point from the competition last year.

A win for either side would be a welcome opening to the new international rugby year.

In the final game of the weekend last years Grand Slam winners Ireland host an England team looking to end a three-game losing streak in the 6 Nations.

Ireland begin the tournament as favourites after what was arguably the best year in their history.

They took the 6 Nations and Grand Slam crown home last year with a 24-15 win over England. They then headed out to Australia in the summer and claiming a 2-1 series win on southern hemisphere soil for the first time since 1979.

The year concluded with four wins from four in November, including a 16-9 win over New Zealand.

England had mixed fortunes last year, ending their 6 Nations campaign with three defeats on the bounce and in fifth place in the table. Eddie Jones’ men then lost 2-1 in their summer tour of South Africa.

They ended on an almost perfect high, winning three of their four November series games and coming so close to a clean sweep only losing out 15-16 to New Zealand.

These are the two teams that will have the most pressure on their shoulders coming into the tournament and a win would be a perfect way to ease that.

Besides the last 12 months, and in terms of 6 Nations titles, Ireland and England have shared the last five. With Ireland coming out on top in 2014, 2015, and 2018, while England completed the double between 2016 and 2017.

From looking at all of this it is hard to look past Ireland or Wales due to form, but we all know how quickly things can change in sport.

Heading into this year’s tournament form will only be one factor, now we will have to wait and see if that form continues as we expect.

6 Nations

Wales Dealt Six Nations Double-Blow

Wales’ Six Nations title defence has been dealt a massive blow already with two stars facing surgery to fix injuries picked up on international duty

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(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Wales will be without both Jonathan Davies and Rhys Patchell for some part of the 2020 Six Nations campaign due to injury it has been confirmed.

Davies, a key member of the Welsh squad for the past number of seasons sustained a knee injury during Wales’ recent Rugby World Cup campaign, and Scarlets have announced that he will undergo surgery on the injury.

The recovery time for the for the centre is set to be six months, meaning he will miss the entire Six Nations tournament in what could be a critical blow as they look to defend their title. While it also means that he could potentially miss the entire club season for Scarlets.

As for Patchell, things aren’t as severe as Davies, but the fly-half is still set to miss the start of the Six Nations with a shoulder injury, which he too will have surgery on.

He is expected to miss between 12-16 weeks due to the injury in what is a cruel blow for a player that has suffered with injury previously, but had shown some brilliant form in recent times.

It is a far from ideal start to life at the helm for new head coach Wayne Pivac as he heads into his first tournament with the team.

As well as these injuries there are also further concerns regarding the likes of stars Liam Williams and Josh Navidi, who are both currently sidelined through injury, with the former looking likely to miss some part of the Six Nations.

Wales are looking to bounce-back during the tournament following a fourth-place finish at the World Cup, with all players hoping to impress Warren Gatland’s successor.

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Munster Star in Six Nations Fitness Race

Munster have confirmed that one of their key men is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines which could put his Six Nations spot in doubt

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(Photo by Andrew Surma/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Munster fly-half Joey Carbery is set for yet another spell in the sidelines according to head coach Johann van Graan due to injury.

Van Graan confirmed that Carbery is still suffering from an ankle injury which he sustained during Ireland’s Rugby World Cup warm-up game against Italy and is not able to put a return date for his comeback  due to the nature of the injury. 

“He is going to be out for some time. We got to make sure he gets his strength back and we get that ankle fully functional. From Joey’s point of view, obviously, he wants to play but his body is not right. Because of the type of injury he is definitely not going to be back in the next few weeks, I can tell you that,” he said on Carbery. 

The out-half was selected ahead of Leinster’s Ross Byrne in Ireland’s World Cup squad despite carrying the injury. However, it was reiterated throughout the tournament that he had fully recovered, which now appears to be untrue. 

His head coach also told reporters that the 23-year-old will not undergo surgery on the injury. When asked about the possibility of Carbery playing before Christmas van Graan admitted he is hopeful but he cannot be sure right now. 

“I hope so. At this stage it is very difficult for the medical team to determine that. Because he has had it for quite a while the most important thing now is Joey’s health. He is a Munster player. He is under my watch now so we have got to look after him. He is very important for the national team, I believe, for the future of Irish rugby,” he added. 

It is a massive blow for the Munster player who only moved from Leinster ahead of last season, and after starting brightly in the red jersey he picked up a hamstring injury that left him out for large portions of the season. 

The fear for Carbery now however is that due to the nature of the injury and the inability to place a return date, he could face a race to be fit for Ireland’s Six Nations campaign at the start of February next year. Carbery will hopefully be back in action and back to match fitness by then as he will want the chance to impress new head coach Andy Farrell during his first tournament at the helm.

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Japan Could Receive Six Nations Invitation

Following their incredible performances during this year’s Rugby World Cup it appears as though hosts Japan could be set for inclusion in one of the biggest international tournaments according to reports

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(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Japan are to be handed an invite into the Six Nations after their impressive showing at this year’s Rugby World Cup, according to a report by the Mail Online.

The report by Martin Samuel claims that the World Cup host nation, who went all the way to the quarter-finals for the first time in their history, are to “receive a shock invitation” to European rugby’s elite international competition. 

It was previously thought that a move to the Rugby Championship would make more sense and that it was on the cards as the Southern Hemisphere nations were impressed by the brand of rugby that Japan played. 

However, it appears as though the tournament organisers are hesitant to bring them into the championship straight away, and are looking to include them within the next four or five years. Which would see them join come the end of the next World Cup cycle and see them miss out on some valuable development time ahead of the tournament. 

The report is clear that although formal talks between the Brave Blossoms and the Six Nations are yet to take place that World Rugby have been made aware that leading figures within the European organisation are very interested in the prospect. 

It would be a brilliant opportunity for the Japanese as they look to expand interest in the sport within the country and are in a prime position to do so with interest at an all time high following the success of the tournament in the Land of the Rising Sun. 

They have earned respect especially within Europe following wins over Six Nations side’s Scotland and Ireland during the group stages of the World Cup with Japan now sitting ahead of the former in 8th position in the World Rugby rankings due to their performances. 

Japan were among several tier two nations backing the making of a Nations Championship which would have allowed the likes of Fiji and themselves compete against the best nations around on an annual basis and with these developments it will raise further questions as to why the competition isn’t being developed. 

We will have to wait and see how things progress over the coming weeks and months but it seems as though Japan are in with a bigger chance than ever before in being added to one of the biggest international tournaments on the planet.

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