Published on 1 Jul 2021 7:19 pm (UK Time)
There is plenty of excitement that lays ahead this weekend as the Six Nations 2021 will start, and World Rugby patiently awaits to witness who will be crowned the northern hemisphere’s Six Nations 2021 champions. Defending champions, England have been the dominating side in the last five years, under Coach Eddie Jones. England has succeeded in winning three titles in the past five tournaments. Will the Six Nations 2021 Championship be another display of England’s northern hemisphere rugby dominance?
Six Nations 2020 Tournament Results:
Last year’s Six Nations saw a delay to the tournament due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. Before the tournament’s postponement, there were many unpredictable surprises in the tournament which left numerous questions wondering who the next kings of northern hemisphere rugby. There were some outstanding performances which made the Six Nations 2020 a closely contested tournament; the most significant part was that no team had a flawless Six Nations campaign as both England and France suffered defeats respectively. England succumbed to an early defeat by the French in Paris in the first round of the tournament. On the other foot, England came back to triumph against all opposing sides, while France suffered a shock defeat against Scotland in Edinburgh in Round 4.
The final round went down to the point difference margin to see who would be crowned Six Nations champions. England desperately needed to beat Italy, while France needed a complete performance against 2018 champions, Ireland for the superior point difference. As predicted, an England barrage took place, while France was unable to win with a mammoth point difference, making England the Six Nations 2020 champions – marginally on point difference.
Six Nations 2021 Round 1 Fixtures:
6 February 2021: Italy v France – Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy
6 February 2021: England v Scotland -Twickenham, London, England
7 February 2021: Wales v Ireland – Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Wales
Six Nations 2021 Team Line-Ups:
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Italy: 15 Jacopo Truller, 14 Luca Sperandio, 13 Marco Zanon, 12 Ignacio Brex, 11 Montanna Ioane; 10 Paolo Garbisi, 9 Stephen Varney, 1 Cherif Traorè, 2 Luca Bigi (c), 3 Marco Riccioni, 4 Marco Lazzaroni, 5 David Sisi, 6 Sebastian Negri, 7 Johan Meyer, 8 Michele Lamaro.
Replacements: 16 Gianmarco Lucchesi, 17 Danilo Fischetti, 18 Giosué Zilocchi, 19 Niccolò Cannone, 20 Federico Ruzza, 21 Maxime Mbandà, 22 Guglielmo Palazzani, 23 Carlo Canna.
France: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Arthur Vincent, 12 Gael Fickou, 11 Gabin Villiere, 10 Matthieu Jalibert, 9 Antoine Dupont; 1 Cyril Baille, 2 Julien Marchand, 3 Mohamed Haouas, 4 Bernard Le Roux, 5 Paul Willemse, 6 Dylan Cretin, 7 Charles Ollivon (c), 8 Gregory Alldritt.
Replacements: 16 Pierre Bourgarit, 17 Jean Baptiste Gros, 18 Dorian Aldegheri, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Anthony Jelonch, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Louis Carbonel, 23 Damian Penaud.
England: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ollie Lawrence 11 Jonny May, 10 Owen Farrell (c), 9 Ben Youngs; 1 Ellis Genge, 2 Jamie George, 3 Will Stuart, 4 Maro Itoje, 5 Jonny Hill, 6 Mark Wilson, 7 Tom Curry, 8 Billy Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Beno Obano, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Courtney Lawes, 20 Ben Earl, 21 Dan Robson, 22 George Ford, 23 Max Malins.
Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg (c), 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Cameron Redpath, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ali Price, 1 Rory Sutherland, 2 George Turner, 3 Zander Fagerson, 4 Scott Cummings, 5 Jonny Gray, 6 Jamie Ritchie, 7 Hamish Watson, 8 Matt Fagerson.
Replacements: 16 David Cherry, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 WP Nel, 19 Richie Gray, 20 Gary Graham, 21 Scott Steele, 22 Jaco van der Walt, 23 Huw Jone.
Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Louis Rees-Zammit, 13 George North, 12 Johnny Williams, 11 Hallam Amos; 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Tomos Williams; 1 Wyn Jones, 2 Ken Owens, 3 Tomas Francis, 4 Adam Beard, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 6 Dan Lydiate, 7 Justin Tipuric, 8 Taulupe Faletau.
Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Rhodri Jones, 18 Leon Brown, 19 Will Rowlands, 20 Josh Navidi, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Callum Sheedy, 23 Nick Tompkins.
Ireland: 15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 James Lowe, 10 Johnny Sexton (c), 9 Conor Murray; 1 Cian Healy, 2 Rob Herring, 3 Andrew Porter, 4 Tadhg Beirne, 5 James Ryan, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 7 Josh van der Flier, 8 CJ Stander.
Replacements: 16 Ronan Kelleher, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Iain Henderson, 20 Will Connors, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Billy Burns, 23 Jordan Larmour.
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Six Nations 2021 Writer’s Predictions:
Italy v France: Last year’s runners-up, France will seek to get their Six Nations 2021 campaign off to a flying start. There are no easy games in the tournament, however, playing against the side who were unable to record a win does seem likely to be a relatively easy encounter. Italy, who recorded no victories last year, is known for showing plenty of resilience towards the top tier rugby sides.
Following the determination in the current French team, I predict France to win by a large 15 points. The quality, depth and new flair displayed by the current French team will be far too powerful for the Italian side.
Will Italy be able to provide an upset in the Six Nations 2021 opener?
England v Scotland: Current Champions, England, will host Scotland at Twickenham, in what is one of the oldest rugby rivalries in history. In their previous 10 fixtures, England has been the far dominant side winning eight of their last encounters, with Scotland only recording one win, along with one game ending in a draw. With previous results in favour of the English, it will be a tough Six Nations 2021 opener for both sides.
However, in this case, The English have the far superior side for this match, so I predict England will win Saturday’s match by 10 points.
Will we witness another complete England performance and see the side defend their Six Nations title?
Wales v Ireland: The last time these sides played, Coach Andy Farrell’s Ireland taught Wales a bold lesson on the rugby field. These two rugby nations never fail to entertain their supporters, however, nearly a year ago, Ireland overcame a resilient Welsh side to win 24-14 at Aviva Stadium, Dublin.
Due to key players in the Wales side not being available this weekend, Ireland head into this clash as firm favourites and I predict Ireland will win this tight encounter by 5 points on Sunday.
Will a reshuffled Welsh outfit be able to surprise the Irish at Cardiff this weekend? Let us know your predictions in the comments below!