EDINBURGH, United Kingdom – It’s that time of year once again when rivalries rise up to the surface and blood boils in the hearts of much of Europe. England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France and Italy will all face each other in the Six Nations.
The Six Nations is an annual rugby tournament where each of these teams play each other during seven weeks in February and March.
The more games they win, the more points they score, all with the aim of putting themselves higher on the leader board. The team with the most points will win the coveted Six Nations trophy.
The real question people want answered is who will emerge on top?
In previous years, the trophy has been awarded to various teams and there is usually no clear winner until the last weekend, sometimes even the last match.
With the Rugby World Cup taking place only months before this particular tournament, it is interesting to evaluate which team will do well based on its earlier matches.
England had a disappointing rugby world cup campaign and will look to do better in this year’s Six Nations.
It has a new captain, Dylan Hartley, and a new coach, Eddie Jones, so it will want to get a good reputation from the start. With a large game against Scotland first, away from home, England will have to keep its cool to win this first match if it hopes to be in contention.
Although making it out of the group stages at the international competition, Ireland did not have a great world cup either.
With its captain Paul O’Connell injured, the squad was left without clear leadership on the field. However, as the reigning champions of the 2015 Six Nations, the Irish are going to try all their hardest to keep the trophy in Dublin.
Italy did not perform at the Rugby World Cup and has not had successful Six Nation tournaments in the past.
Despite shocking wins against Scotland and France in previous years, it hopes teams will underestimate its abilities and maybe even gain some points in the process.
France’s rugby team has been all over the place for quite some time. Leadership of the team has changed and players have been lacking.
With Paris in the news so much last year, I believe the French will want to make their people proud and give them something to celebrate. France is excellent when its players are on form, especially for home games.
Scotland probably had the best international rugby campaign of all the teams competing in the Six Nations.
If it weren’t for a referee’s poor judgement, the Scotland team could have made it through to the semifinals of the Rugby World Cup.
Sent home early instead, it could be looking for revenge. Scotland has announced a lot of new and talented young players to the team. On a good day, it can certainly give the opposition a scare.
Lastly, there is Wales, which reached the international quarterfinals, but failed to win against South Africa.
During the World Cup, the Welch team suffered from many injuries, forcing new, inexperienced players to take the field. In the Six Nations this year, and having many injured veterans back, Wales will certainly be a contender.
With the partnership of Sam Warburton, its skillful captain, and Dan Biggar, an excellent kicker, the Welsh team looks good and needs a win against Ireland first to set them straight.
Overall, this year’s Six Nations looks to be an exciting several weeks’ worth of good rugby.
Although supporting different teams can split families apart, it’s all in good spirits and is a lot of fun to watch. Fans are eager to see the tournament commence.
Check here to follow the tournament, which began today.
Felicity Rodger is a Reporter for Youth Journalism International.