Planet Rugby

Six Nations: Tournament Preview!

31st January 2013 07:35

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Six Nations captains picture at launch

Set for battle: Home Nations

With the Six Nations Championship closing in, Planet Rugby brings you our preview of this year's battle for northern hemisphere supremacy.

So much has happened since Wales claimed the Grand Slam in 2012, which is highlighted by the fact Rob Howley's side are fourth favourites for glory. Without their head coach Warren Gatland due to British & Irish Lions planning, the Welsh are trying to claw their way out of a dismal run.

Speaking of the Lions, that selection carrot for the pinnacle in any rugby player above the equator's career is also just around the corner so several internationalists from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales will undoubtedly - though they may say otherwise - have that in the back of their minds.

England and Ireland, at the moment, are set to feature most heavily in the squad but if Wales can recapture last season's form then their stars will be on the plane. Big pressure will be on captain Sam Warburton while fly-half Dan Biggar could not ask for a better opportunity to impress.

Ireland host England in Round Two in a game that should decide who will be challenging France for the title. Declan Kidney's line-up this weekend has a good blend of youth and experience as wings Craig Gilroy and Simon Zebo start while England host Scotland.

Scotland have nothing to lose in the campaign, with the exit of Andy Robinson leading to a new era under Scott Johnson. The interim coach has already made a few alterations in selection as Greig Laidlaw shifts from 9 to 10 and there is a return to 8 for Johnnie Beattie.

Last but not least, Italy go into the Championship with an opening game at home to France. How they would love to start with a repeat of their 22-21 triumph over Les Bleus at the Stadio Flaminio a couple of years ago. But with France looking strong, we're backing them in 2013.

Team Previews

England

France

Ireland

Italy

Scotland

Wales

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins vs LeicesterHarlequins vs Leicester Preview
Saturday , April 19
Exeter vs Sale15:00
Bath vs Worcester15:00
Wasps vs Gloucester15:15
Sunday , April 20
Northampton vs London Irish14:00
Newcastle vs Saracens15:00
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RaboDirect PRO12
Friday , April 18
Leinster vs Benetton TrevisoLeinster vs Benetton Treviso Preview
Glasgow vs UlsterGlasgow vs Ulster Preview
Saturday , April 19
Zebre vs Edinburgh14:30
Connacht vs Munster18:15
Sunday , April 20
Cardiff Blues vs Scarlets14:00
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Ospreys16:45
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Top 14
Friday , April 18
Castres vs MontpellierCastres vs Montpellier Preview
Saturday , April 19
Oyonnax vs Toulouse14:55
Perpignan vs Toulon17:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Biarritz vs Brive18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Clermont AuvergneRacing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne Preview
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles20:35
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Super Rugby
Friday , April 18
Hurricanes vs BluesHurricanes vs Blues Preview
Melbourne Rebels vs Western Force19:40
Saturday , April 19
Chiefs vs Crusaders19:35
Waratahs vs Bulls19:00
Sharks vs Cheetahs15:00
Stormers vs Lions17:05
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Recent Results
FixtureDetails
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Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 13
Saracens 28 - 24 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Irish 40 - 12 NewcastleLondon Irish vs Newcastle Report
Saturday , April 12
Worcester 33 - 38 ExeterWorcester vs Exeter Report
Leicester 27 - 15 WaspsLeicester vs Wasps Report
Gloucester 17 - 18 BathGloucester vs Bath Report
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RaboDirect PRO12
Benetton Treviso 45 - 27 Newport Gwent D'gonsBenetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D
Scarlets 27 - 20 ZebreScarlets vs Zebre Report
Munster 5 - 22 GlasgowMunster vs Glasgow Report
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Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 20 - 22 ToulonBordeaux-Begles vs Toulon Report
Toulouse 16 - 9 BriveToulouse vs Brive Report
Grenoble 30 - 36 Montpellier
Perpignan 22 - 12 Oyonnax
Bayonne 24 - 19 Stade Francais
Racing Metro Paris 37 - 7 Biarritz
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Super Rugby
Chiefs 22 - 16 Melbourne RebelsChiefs vs Melbourne Rebels Report
Western Force 28 - 16 WaratahsWestern Force vs Waratahs Report
Lions 12 - 25 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Cheetahs 31 - 52 CrusadersCheetahs vs Crusaders Report
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Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 11
Sale Sharks 12 - 27 HarlequinsSale Sharks vs Harlequins Report
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RaboDirect PRO12
Ulster 58 - 12 ConnachtUlster vs Connacht Report
Edinburgh 22 - 29 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
Ospreys 25 - 19 LeinsterOspreys vs Leinster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 23 - 11 CastresClermont Auvergne vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Highlanders 27 - 20 BullsHighlanders vs Bulls Report
Reds 20 - 23 BrumbiesReds vs Brumbies Report
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Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Leicester Tigers1963
4Bath1959
5Harlequins1954