6 Nations Tournament: Ireland, England… Who can prevent France from winning the Tournament for the second time in a row?

the essential
World premiership Ireland, who have gained new stature after their victorious tour of New Zealand, are well placed to play spoilsports at the Six Nations Tournament, which the Blues hope to win for a second time in a row. .

Ireland, green force

The year 2022 was that of consecration for the XV of Clover: in addition to its place as the first oval ball nation in the world, acquired in July, it won its tour of New Zealand with two historic victories against the All Blacks (23-12 and 32-22) thanks to a full game.

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The icing on the cake: these successes were confirmed by a flawless performance in the autumn tests, before the title of “best player of the year” was awarded to third line Josh van der Flier, coming to crown a year almost perfect.

In total, Ireland, which hastened to extend its coach, the Englishman Andy Farrell, until 2027, had only one defeat in 2022, against France, in Paris. Additional motivation for Jonny Sexton’s teammates to prevent the Blues from achieving the double, before the World Cup in France (September 8-October 28).

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England advance masked

After two disappointing Tournaments and Autumn Tests during which Argentina and South Africa won at Twickenham, the English Federation said “stop” in December to the unexciting game offered by Australian coach Eddie Jones and “welcome” to Steve Borthwick, 43, from Leicester and a follower of a return to the fundamentals of rugby.

The new strongman of the English, fifth in the world ranking, has only a few months to build a team likely to compete with the best nations in the world in the fall: this 2023 edition of the Tournament should therefore be used to increase the power of young people (Smith, Steward, van Poortvielt) while restoring confidence and going to the elders (Farrell, Itoje, Cole).

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Scotland to progress

Carried by his old veterans Jamie Ritchie, Stuart Hogg and Finn Russell, and his “encouraging” match in the words of coach Gregor Townsend against the All Blacks in the fall (defeat 31-23), the XV du Chardon intends to use of the Tournament to progress in anticipation of the World Cup.

Scotland have the means to repeat the feat of beating England from the outset, as in 2021 and 2022, but above all they must confirm then to grab a podium, if they manage to make Townsend’s mantra their own. : improve “in the management during the match” and keep our “cohesion and control of our emotions”.

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Wales in turmoil

The Red Devils, crowned in 2021, are no longer what they were: ninth in the world rankings, penultimate in the 2022 edition of the Six Nations, defeated in the fall by Georgia and Italy, the teammates of neo-Toulonnais Dan Biggar chained disappointments last year.

It was enough for the Welsh Federation (WRU) to release Wayne Pivac and bring back, like a savior, the New Zealander Warren Gatland, with whom the Leek XV had won three Grand Slams (2008, 2012 , 2019).

But accusations of sexism within the Federation have since undermined that momentum, leading to the resignation of the WRU chief executive on Sunday.

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Italy in the Renaissance

For Italy, the year 2022 was indeed a turning point. Just imagine: first victory in the Tournament since 2015 (against Wales in Cardiff, 22-21), followed in the fall by a first victory against Australia, again by a small point (28- 27).

New emblem of the selection, the winger Ange Capuozzo, whose fantastic rides are the delight of Stade Toulouse, has been named “male revelation” of the year and could once again make the difference in order to allow his team to win a maybe two wins. In any case, the Italians believe in it: forza!

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