Expect Irish fire and brimstone
Owain Jones assesses the squads in the RBS 6 Nations tournament and speculates that Irish eyes will be smiling, especially if the Tullow Tank lives up to billing
Like a pint of mild or a rerun of Fawlty Towers, the 6 Nations, which kicks off this Saturday (February 4), is drenched in nostalgia for millions of hardy rugby fans as the annual seven-week tournament carries us from the depths of winter to the heady first days of spring. This year, for the first time, a bonus-point system has been added to spur teams into scoring more tries. Whether or not it works is immaterial, as we’ll still be guaranteed a championship with lashings of drama, controversy, internecine wrangling and the odd game of riveting rugby. over Southern Hemisphere giants South Africa and Australia and, coupled with the irish provinces riding high domestically, you can see why england approach the final test in Dublin with barely disguised trepidation. Sean O’brien (left). Nicknamed the Tullow Tank, the boy from Co Carlow rears bullocks and he gives his country a similar muscular presence on the field. He has struggled with injury in recent seasons, but, when fit, he gives the back row added dynamism along with the explosive C. J. Stander and veteran No 8 Jamie Heaslip. Fire and brimstone. When the Aviva Stadium is bouncing, it can be an intimidating place and, with Tadgh Furlong and Jack Mcgrath, the pre-eminent scrummagers in the Northern Hemisphere, giving half-backs Conor Murray and
What to expect
Johnny Sexton a platform, there’s every chance that outside-backs Robbie Henshaw and Simon Zebo could run amok.