It’s that time of the year again when the giants come out to play, and we’re treated to over a month of international rugby. Yes, the 6 Nations rugby championship is just around the corner and promises to be enthralling.
The current champions are Ireland, who also won it in 2014 too. But, do they start this tournament as firm favourites? I would say no. In fact, I’d say this could be the tightest and most entertaining 6 Nations since, well, last year! In 2015, it went down to the final weekend of fixtures, with England, Ireland, and Wales all having a chance to win it. It was remarkably close and so exciting to watch.
This year, it looks like it could be even closer. As well as these three teams, you have Scotland looking to make a huge statement. They performed admirably in the world cup and would’ve beaten Australia had it not been for an infamous refereeing error. A lot of attention will be on the boys in blue to see if they can stake a claim in 2016. Wales were another team that came very close in the world cup and performed brilliantly. If they can keep the squad fit, they’ll be up there, mounting a title challenge. England are in a transition period, and no one knows what to expect from them under new coach Eddie Jones. Ireland are reigning champions, and although they had a poor world cup, it would be foolish to count them out. Especially when they have the boot of Jonny Sexton to count on. No one expects much from Italy; I can’t see them winning a match this year at all. And France, well, they’re just France. They’re predictably unpredictable, but I would be surprised if they do well. Your best bets are either Ireland or Wales, with Scotland as a dark horse.
Speaking of Scotland, they’re due to meet England this weekend. It’s a historical fixture, and the winners pick up the Calcutta Cup. There’s an interesting story behind the cup that goes back to the 1800’s when the British army introduced rugby to India. They established a Rugby Football Club in Calcutta. After the British army had left the area, it wasn’t long before the club disbanded. However, the remaining members chose to melt down the last 270 rupees in the club bank account and make it into a trophy. They gave it to the RFU, and it became the trophy given to the winners of the England vs. Scotland rugby matches. Needless to say, they don’t still use the same trophy, but the name remains.
Coming back to present day, and we’re eagerly anticipating the fixture this year. England coach Eddie Jones claims Scotland are the favourites. Perhaps a bit of mind games going on, or does he believe they’re better than his team? Scotland is riding a big wave after their amazing world cup while England are rebuilding after their dreadful one. All the confidence is with the tartan army, but it’s going to be close to call! Certainly a fixture to look out for on Saturday.