Wales kick off the RBS 6 Nations proceedings for another year, welcoming Italy to the Millenium Stadium tomorrow afternoon as they go in search of an unprecedented third title in a row. A settled Wales team is expected to run riot over an injury-ravaged Italian unit – at least, that’s what our man Nathan Hyde is predicting. He thinks Wales will win by 15 – read the full preview here.
Next up it’s Le Crunch in Paris. France always win the Six Nations the year after a Lions tour, right? So much has been made of that, and yet this is a France team that only won two games in 2013 – against Scotland and Tonga. With youthful, inexperienced half-backs they are up against it, facing an England team that does, to be fair, have its own issues. A dearth of creativity in the autumn series has forced Stuart Lancaster to throw caution to the wind, and name comfortably the most forward-thinking line-up of his tenure to date. James Harrington thinks those new boys can do a job in Paris, predicting England to win by 5 – read the full preview here.
The weekend rounds off in Dublin, where Ireland are looking to avenge last year’s dire 12-8 loss to Scotland at Murrayfield. The Scots disrupted til their hearts were content that day, but with no genuine opensides in their squad to Ireland’s two, they are unlikely to do so again this year. Brian O’Driscoll becomes Ireland’s most capped player ever, but it is another stalwart – Paul O’Connell – who brings the best form into this match. David Blair thinks it should be a fairly comfortable win for the hosts – Ireland to win by 12. Read the full preview here.
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Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images