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
Top 14
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne vs Montpellier20:45
Saturday , August 30
La Rochelle vs Toulouse14:45
Lyon vs Brive18:30
Oyonnax vs Stade Francais18:30
Castres vs Bay Of Plenty18:30
Grenoble vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulon20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , August 29
Pumas vs Sharks19:10
Saturday , August 30
Griquas vs Cheetahs15:00
Blue Bulls vs Western Province17:05
Eastern Province Kings vs Lions19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Friday , August 29
Wellington vs ManawatuWellington vs Manawatu Preview
Saturday , August 30
Counties Manukau vs Hawkes Bay14:35
Southland vs Otago17:35
North Harbour vs Waikato19:35
Sunday , August 31
Taranaki vs Bay Of Plenty14:35
Auckland vs Tasman16:35
Wednesday, September 3
Manawatu vs Bay Of Plenty19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury 48 - 3 NorthlandCanterbury vs Northland Report
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato 17 - 46 TaranakiWaikato vs Taranaki Report
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu 7 - 35 AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Report
Bay Of Plenty 27 - 56 TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand 51 - 20 AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Report
Argentina 31 - 33 South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Brive 6 - 21 Clermont AuvergneBrive vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Bayonne 38 - 12 Oyonnax
Bordeaux-Begles 30 - 21 Racing Metro Paris
Stade Francais 23 - 20 Lyon
Toulon 60 - 19 La Rochelle
Montpellier 20 - 17 GrenobleMontpellier vs Grenoble Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Blue Bulls 30 - 25 Eastern Province KingsBlue Bulls vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Western Province 27 - 14 LionsWestern Province vs Lions Report
Sharks 19 - 16 CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Northland 35 - 5 WellingtonNorthland vs Wellington Report
Counties Manukau 29 - 25 OtagoCounties Manukau vs Otago Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 22
Toulouse 35 - 6 CastresToulouse vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Pumas 33 - 15 GriquasPumas vs Griquas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Waikato 27 - 58 CanterburyWaikato vs Canterbury Report
Hawkes Bay 29 - 26 TaranakiHawkes Bay vs Taranaki Report
Thursday , August 21
North Harbour 21 - 25 Southland
Sunday , August 17
Tasman 35 - 15 Hawkes BayTasman vs Hawkes Bay Report
Northland 23 - 28 Manawatu
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 16
Australia 12 - 12 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More Rugby Championship results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00