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

Country Life Every Week - - In The Garden -

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.

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