Six Nations Preview

Six Nations preview

A Six Nations Championship in the same year as a Rugby World Cup always holds extra significance. Whoever lifts the prestigious European prize in the spring will be among the favourites for the William Webb Ellis trophy come the autumn, propelled by that shot of momentum.

For England in particular, this Six Nations feels massive. Steve Borthwick has replaced Eddie Jones as head coach, when the RFU would have preferred to keep the Australian in his job – but were forced to act after an underwhelming 2022. England only just sneaked past Argentina in November, before drawing with the All Blacks and losing comfortably to South Africa. That after a 2022 Six Nations campaign in which the Red Rose lost three of their five games consigned Jones to the bin.

For that reason, England are not fancied by the bookmakers for this year’s championship. Ireland (13/10) have their noses in front of reigning champions France (2/1) in the odds, with England back at 9/2. Wales (14/1) and Scotland (18/1) are huge outsiders while Italy are given no chance whatsoever at 500/1.

Each of the major nations, Ireland aside, have been through their own controversies of late. Both the Welsh and Scottish rugby unions are facing criticism from within their own gates, while the French Federation’s president Bernard Laporte has stood down after being found guilty of corruption.


England’s problems are mainly on the field, where Borthwick is facing something of an injury crisis. Elliot Daly, Henry Slade and Dan Kelly have all been ruled out of this weekend’s Calcutta Cup clash against Scotland at Twickenham, although the home side are still big favourites (1/3) to win the game and get off to a triumphant start. The visitors from north of the border are long shots at 13/5.

Wales and Ireland lock horns in Cardiff for what is undoubtedly the standout game of the opening weekend. The Welsh are not fancied to start with a win (5/2) but with Warren Gatland returning to his old role as head coach and a vociferous home crowd at the Principality Stadium, don’t rule them out.

“It’s the bragging rights,” Gatland told the media this week when asked what made the Six Nations unique.

“In work environments, going in on a Monday when your team has won, you can rub people’s noses in it. It’s what makes this tournament so special.

“Forty per cent of fans can be away supporters. That creates an unbelievable atmosphere.”


That should definitely be the case this weekend as the fans turn out in their droves. And with France almost certain of starting their campaign with a win over Italy in Rome (1/16), the three favourites should all get off to an ideal start.

Just watch out for Wales. They’ve won more Six Nations titles than anyone since 2017 and they rarely start as favourites.

Our tips: Wales to beat Ireland (5/2), France to win the Championship (2/1)


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