The Six Nations opens this weekend, and it's a big test for Martin Johnson as he's now had significant time to build the England Squad. The competition starts on Saturday 6th Feb at 2:30pm GMT, with Ireland vs Italy at Croke Park. Ireland have got to be the favoured side here (in general, Italy are the underdog in the Six Nations - but each year they seem to be getting better - sooner or later they'll be honours even). Then at 5pm it is England vs Wales at Twickenham. This could go either way, and though I want England to do well, my instinct says Wales will probably come away victorious. I hope I'm wrong. (This is despite Gatland, ex Wasps, and Edwards, current Wasps, being in charge).
On Sunday at 3pm is Scotland vs. France at Murrayfield. Though Scotland have home advantage, I tend to favour France in this encounter.
The best match of the weekend should be England vs Wales - but the Six Nations does have a habit of surprising, with the best matches coming out of the blue. Last year some of the most anticipated matches were pretty plain and the 'obvious results' were exciting and close fought.
In the Women's Six Nations, Ireland vs Italy is on Friday, 7:30pm local, at Ashborne RFC in County Meath, England vs. Wales is at 7pm in Esher RFC on the saturday, and Scotland vs. France is at 7:30pm on Saturday at Lasswade RFC in Edinburgh.
Last year, the final result looked like this: