The Six Nations from Seville: A Tournament Preview

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The 2020 Six Nations Championship will be the 21st edition of the competition under its current name, and the 126th edition since the tournament began.

Wales enter the tournament as defending champions, having achieved the Grand Slam after beating Ireland on the last day at the Millennium Stadium.

We couldn’t be more excited, and to get your mouth watering here’s a video of some of the best moments of the 2019 competition:

How does ranking work?

Before looking at this year’s teams, just a quick reminder on how the ranking system works:

  • You earn four points for a win
  • You earn two points for a draw
  • You earn a bonus point for scoring four or more tries in a match
  • You earn a bonus point for losing by less than seven points
  • You earn three bonus points for achieving the Grand Slam (beating all five opponents), thus ensuring that you top the group to win the tournament

Team Roundup

Let’s take a look at the form of each team coming into the competition.

England

England enter the tournament after a bitter-sweet World Cup. They came so close, and entered the final as favourites – eventually losing out to South Africa.

It did however conclude a strong year for England. 

In last year’s Six Nations Head Coach Eddie Jones was able to finally partner the Vunipola brothers with Manu Tuilagi. When the World Cup came around, England were wonderfully impulsed by machines Tom Curry and Sam Underhill who combined well together.

Looking forward to the Six Nations, the squad in Japan was young with plenty of options. The interesting question is how Jones will approach his selection. Will he test more young players or stick with the team which reached the World Cup final.

Unfortunately, it appears in doubt that Henry Slade will be fit for the competition, having limped off from his last match against Leicester, with Exeter Director of Rugby, Rob Baxter, commenting it was relatively serious.

Prediction

Both Wales and Ireland are set to visit Twickenham in 2020, and England have an excellent opportunity to complete the Grand Slam.

1st

Fixtures

Go to the event to add it to your calendar

Scotland

Scotland won’t be looking forward to the Six Nations 2020.

Last year they were unfortunate with injuries, to compound a poor streak over the past few tournaments.

England, France, Wales and Ireland have been getting steadily better, and there’s now – sadly – a noticeable gap in quality over Scotland and Italy.

Gregor Townsend deserves credit for trying to play good rugby, however realistically he doesn’t have as many quality options to pick from as the top three sides.

Prediction

Scotland won’t finish last, thanks to Italy. But will Scottish fans care?

5th

Fixtures

Ireland

Ireland’s terrible World Cup will undoubtedly bring an end to the careers of many of their more experienced players.

Head Coach Andy Farrell has a massive job on his hands to rebuild the squad and start blooding young new players to take their places.

Players such as Conor Murray, Rob Kearney and Cian Healy will surely not be available for 2023, so it’s surely time for Farrell to start checking his options and forming a new, long-term strategy.

To make things tougher on Farrell, this is his first job as Head Coach.

On the positive side, Ireland do have some exciting young players he’ll be able to work with.

Prediction

This could be a tough Six Nations for Ireland.

4th

Fixtures

Wales

Wales will be an interesting team to watch at this year’s Six Nations.

The squad has an excellent blend of young and experienced internationals, and they’ll be full of confidence following last year’s Grand Slam performance.

The reason I don’t think they’ll win it is because previous Head Coach Warren Gatland has left to be replaced by Wayne Pivac.

Don’t get me wrong – Pivac has done an excellent job with Welsh club Scarlets, but he faces a challenge filling Gatland’s big boots. Will he be able to impose himself and his methodologies on a team well-drilled in Gatland’s style?

Wales face two tough tests going away to England and Ireland, although I’d expect them to beat the Irish.

Prediction

3rd

Fixtures

Italy

Italy’s last win in the Six Nations came back in 2015 with a surprise upset against a poor Scottish side.

There have been calls for Italy to be axed from the tournament as Conor O’Shea’s side – should they lose their first match – will complete a losing streak of 20 games.

These calls are not without merit. It seems like a reasonable call to allow whichever team wins the Europe Championship (the tournament for top teams outside the Six Nations) to play a playoff against the bottom team (undoubtedly Italy again), to qualify for the following tournament.

Expect other teams to play a second-string, just as Gatland first did last year, in order to rest tired players during an already bloated annual rugby fixture list.

Prediction

6th

Fixtures

France

France are not actually expected to do well this tournament.

I don’t think you can ever write off the French, and as they get over a disappointing World Cup 2019, I think they’ll be more than up for a fight in February 2020.

The French are also lucky enough to welcome England and Ireland at home, which will give them a distinct advantage.

My bet is on England though as they go to Paris for the first game of the tournament, when I feel that England will be more fired up and ready to take it to the French. 

Had they had another match first, I think the French could well have taken the game to the English.

Prediction

I’m going against the grain to predict that France will give England a run for their money for the Six Nations Championship. my prediction:

2nd

Fixtures

Resources

Do you agree with our predictions? How do you think the tournament will play out? Let us know in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.