Search

Rugby Union: Ireland head chasing pack keen on ripping Six Nations crown from England’s grasp

PUBLISHED: 08:00 18 January 2018 | UPDATED: 12:14 18 January 2018

Rob Kearney of Ireland (pic: Niall Carson/PA)

Rob Kearney of Ireland (pic: Niall Carson/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

In an article from our ‘Year in Sport’ pullout, the other teams in the Six Nations have their chances previewed

Finn Russell of Scotland (pic: Andrew Milligan/PA) Finn Russell of Scotland (pic: Andrew Milligan/PA)

Ireland head the chasing pack in the Six Nations as Europe’s other tier one nations look to stop England from collecting a third straight title under head coach Eddie Jones.

Ahead of this year’s tournament, the bookmakers have Joe Schmidt’s Irishmen as the second favourites.

However, the team currently ranked third in the world will have to launch their assault on the title without promising centre Garry Ringrose.

The Leinster playmaker injured his ankle earlier this month and is set to miss the opening two rounds on the weekends of February 3-4 and 10-11.

Justin Tipuric of Wales (pic: Joe Giddens/PA) Justin Tipuric of Wales (pic: Joe Giddens/PA)

Ireland will want to build on a solid campaign in last year’s Autumn Internationals, which included an impressive 38-3 mauling of South Africa.

Scrum half Conor Murray is set to be a key figure again as Schmidt’s side bid for a first title since 2015.

Perhaps surprisingly, the bookies have Scotland as third favourites, ahead of Wales, for the Six Nations.

Under new head coach Gregor Townsend, though, the Scots have been exciting, with plenty of mavericks in the ranks.

New France head coach Jacques Brunel (pic: Niall Carson/PA) New France head coach Jacques Brunel (pic: Niall Carson/PA)

Fly half Finn Russell is someone not afraid to take risks, while in Stuart Hogg, they have one of the best counter-attacking fullbacks in the world.

Like Ringrose for Ireland, Hogg may have to sit out the opening games of this year’s tournament as he continues his recovery from a hip injury.

There is positive injury news for Wales, meanwhile, with Saracens’ Liam Williams having recently returned to action following an injury sustained in November.

The pacy back is someone who can certainly get Warren Gatland’s men on the front foot as they look to rebound following an indifferent autumn campaign.

Italy captain Sergio Parisse (left) and head coach Conor O'Shea (pic: Andrew Matthews/PA) Italy captain Sergio Parisse (left) and head coach Conor O'Shea (pic: Andrew Matthews/PA)

If the Welsh are to trouble the top of the table, they will be looking for the ever-impressive Justin Tipuric to hit top form again.

As for the French, no one is ever really too sure what to expect — perhaps even more so this year with a new man at the helm.

Former Italy boss Jacques Brunel has replaced Guy Noves as head coach after an autumn of discontent for the French.

Italy, meanwhile, will be looking for a first victory in the SIx Nations since 2015.

Any hopes of a victory for Conor O’Shea’s side will likely rely on the talismanic Sergio Parisse, who skippers the team.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Sports News

Yesterday, 22:31

Spurs could lose one of their two Belgian centre backs this summer

Yesterday, 17:00

Allianz Park outfit beat Tigers in last meeting on Christmas Eve

Yesterday, 14:06

The Spurs manager provides the latest on Toby Alderweireld, praises Mousa Dembele’s quality and reveals how close Lucas Moura is to starting on Sunday

With Arsenal set to face Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in the Carbao Cup final at Wembley on Sunday Layth Yousif talked to Manchester Evening News football writer Charlotte Duncker who covers the Etihad outfit. Read on for her expert views.

Yesterday, 12:18

The draw for the last 16 of the Europa League has just taken place in Nyon.

Yesterday, 12:04

In the week of the Carabao Cup final read our series detailing previous Arsenal League Cup finals by talking to the people who were there. Read on as we recall the glorious 1987 Littlewoods Cup final victory over Liverpool at Wembley.

FA Women’s Super League 2: Tottenham Hotspur Ladies 6 Watford Ladies 0

The draw for the last 16 of the Europa League takes place at midday on Friday at UEFA headquarters in Nyon. Find out the teams Arsenal could face in the tournament.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Melange, with locations in Barnet and Crouch End, has opened a third in Belsize Park. Here co-owner Justina Markauskaite talks about removing the borders between cuisines and why they put family at the centre of everything they do

Less is More, a group exhibition at the Daniel Raphael Gallery will feature emerging artists from England, Italy, France and the Czech Republic, from January 24 to February 16.

For people who suffer with feet problems, it is often difficult to find footwear that is both comfortable and stylish. There is a shop in the West End dedicated to changing that.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read Hampstead & Highgate sport

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now