Home Nations to compete for title? Kyle Sinckler to be star player?- Your Say
It's finally arrived! The Six Nations Championship will start on Saturday when Scotland welcome Ireland to Murrayfield just before 2:30 pm.
England will face France at Twickenham in the evening before Italy and Wales battle it out in the Stadio Olympic on Sunday.
We’ve all heard what the experts think is going to happen in the tournament, but one question still remains: what do you, the fans, think?
Sports Gazette went to Harlequin’s Anglo-Welsh Cup clash with Sale Sharks at Twickenham Stoop on Friday night to find out.
Six Nations winner
Many people were confident England would retain the title and maintain their unbeaten run of 13 matches.
Michael, an avid Harlequins fan, said: “Okay, we’ve had a few injuries but the team has got such depth, I think we’re going to keep ‘Fortress Twickenham’ going.”
However, other fans had their doubts, including Robert, who says Ireland can compete with England for the title.
“I think, because of home advantage, it will come down to the final game," Robert said.
Another Quins fan, Steve, added: “I reckon it comes down to that first game between Scotland and Ireland. We’ll get some idea of how those two are going to play.”
When we spoke to Helen and Margaret, self-confessed full-time rugby debaters, their concerns were with the other two Home Nations.
Helen said: “We’re playing Wales in Wales and that is always brutal – there’s something about them playing at home. I think it’ll be tighter this time than last time.”
However, Margaret added: “I think the Scotland game will be tough as well, because the Scots have got very good under Vern Cotter.”
Star Player of the tournament
Johnny Sexton, Billy Vunipola, Wesley Fofana- all big names in any Six Nations Championship, but all names who will potentially not feature this year.
So who will be the star player of the tournament?
Lucy, a huge rugby fan, said: “I think Dylan Hartley. He’s got a lot to prove after his recent ban and I think he’ll go out there fighting and be the leader he’s been for the last year.”
Another fan, who wished to remain unnamed, went for England's Kyle Sinckler: “Off the bench he’s going to be a big influence. In a tight game, someone of his pace and youth is going to do well.”
Irishman Robbie Henshaw was a favourite for Robert, who said: “With Lions selection around the corner, I think he’s breaking through in a position with lots of competition.
"The England centres aren’t that experienced and Jamie Roberts is coming to the end of his career. I think he’ll feel it’s the right time for him.”
Helen, on the other hand, said: “I think this tournament is going to be about the best team without necessarily having a standout player.”
The large number of injuries to the England squad has been a great concern to most fans ahead of the tournament.
But Steve is not too concerned. “[Eddie] Jones says he has three players for every position, and looking at our second row tomorrow, there’s nothing wrong with that.
“Maro Itoje in the back row; nothing wrong with that. We’ll see which French team shows up.”