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
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 25
Ulster vs Toulon13:00
Scarlets vs Leicester19:45
Bath vs Toulouse15:15
Montpellier vs Glasgow17:15
Northampton vs Ospreys17:15
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale13:00
Castres vs Leinster15:15
Wasps vs Harlequins17:15
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 9217:15
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles19:45
Friday , October 24
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Grenoble vs London Irish18:30
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Newcastle19:30
Brive vs Zebre19:30
Edinburgh vs LOU Rugby19:45
Saturday , October 25
Bucuresti vs Stade FrancaisTBC
Rovigo vs Cardiff Blues14:00
Exeter vs Connacht15:00
Oyonnax vs Gloucester19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
London Irish 70 - 14 RovigoLondon Irish vs Rovigo Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
International Match
Saturday , October 18
Australia 28 - 29 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More International Match results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
Saracens 30 - 23 Clermont AuvergneSaracens vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro 92 20 - 11 NorthamptonRacing Metro 92 vs Northampton Report
Glasgow 37 - 10 BathGlasgow vs Bath Report
Leicester 25 - 18 UlsterLeicester vs Ulster Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
LOU Rugby 28 - 18 London WelshLOU Rugby vs London Welsh Report
Zebre 24 - 33 Oyonnax
Cardiff Blues 37 - 14 Grenoble
Stade Francais 22 - 38 Newport Gwent D'gons
Bayonne 30 - 24 Exeter
Connacht 48 - 12 La Rochelle
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Lions 50 - 20 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Western Province 31 - 23 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Taranaki 49 - 30 AucklandTaranaki vs Auckland Report
Manawatu 23 - 18 Southland
Tasman 26 - 6 CanterburyTasman vs Canterbury Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 17
Harlequins 25 - 9 CastresHarlequins vs Castres Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Bordeaux-Begles 13 - 15 EdinburghBordeaux-Begles vs Edinburgh Report
Newcastle 43 - 19 Bucuresti
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615