Filed under: Dan Cottrell, Rugby News | Tags: key players, kicking out of the 22m, ruck defence, Six Nations, World Cup rugby. rugby tactics
As teams shape for the World Cup, there is the little matter of the Six Nations and Tri Nations to sort out.
With the Six Nations starting this week, here are my predicitions for each team and then two things that we can watch for and apply.
England – they should win overall. They have an all court game that didn’t exist two years ago. Perhaps still a couple of centres short, they will be the front runners. Watch out for how they use runners off the fly half.
France - probably second favourite. Plenty of talent available, but can it be melded? Will we see a pragmatic approach, with lots of set piece, or will they let loose?
Wales - could beat England or France but unlikely to win both. Struggling with key injuries to their front row. I will be looking to see if they will continue to play to the touchlines before opening up.
Ireland – sleeping giant. Leinster and Ulster are looking so strong, Munster a shadow of themselves. Which province will reflect Ireland – I can’t see Grand Slam confidence seeping through at the moment. I will be looking out for their defensive structures. Will they drift from second phase?
Scotland – jock in a box team. Cleverly marshalled by Andy Robinson, they are more than a kicking outfit. How will they create try scoring opportunites?
Italy – still the poor relations. As the other teams accelerate, can Italy make a real impression? Unfortunately, it is down to a couple of key players having big games, and hiding some of the weaknesses.
And the two things:
1. Ruck defence: will teams send in players to compete at the ruck after the first defender and where will the players line up for semi quick ball.
2. Kicking out of the 22: will they or won’t they. Teams are running more…will England and France especially let loose their flying full backs from this deep?
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