2015 is a huge year for the sport of Rugby Union, especially England fans too! The 6 Nations Championship is going down to the wire this weekend, with England, Ireland and Wales all still hoping to claim victory, followed by a World Cup in the Autumn, hosted in England for only the second time in the tournament’s history- the first was in 1991 when it was jointly staged in the UK countries and Ireland.
Naturally the Six Nations serves as a warm-up for the World Cup ahead and winning it would be the ideal marker for a side to put down and stake their claim as the home continent’s main contender. England will certainly hope to be that team as they head into their final game at the top of the standings, but it hasn’t been regarded as the convincing campaign which many had hoped for.
England have a realistic chance to win what could be their first Six Nations title since 2011 when they take on France at Twickenham on Saturday, but you could argue it’s a much tougher fixture than their rivals face, with Wales away at Italy and Ireland travelling to play whipping-boys Scotland. The three teams are actually tied on points at the top, meaning points difference is what separates the sides. The points difference tallies suggest that the fate of the trophy depends on who records the biggest victory out of England and Ireland, but such is the unpredictable nature of this sport at present, Wales can’t be dismissed either. If all three sides manage to lose, the door is still in-fact open for France to claim what would surely be the most unlikely victory of all time.
Ireland have been criticised for scoring just four tries in four games so far and they could set a tournament record if they win for the lowest ever tally scored by a champion side which is currently nine. Some will consider Ireland favourites to prevail as Six Nations champions come Saturday given that Scotland are a much easier side to score points against than France.
England is a demanding country when it comes to sport and any potential victory in this competition will be soured by the fact the team lost in Dublin to their main rivals Ireland. Only a resounding victory will give fans confidence heading into the World Cup, where they will be expected to perform well in front of home crowds. Given the nation’s resources, Stuart Lancaster’s team should always be contenders for the big honours.
On a much more positive note, England can confidently describe themselves as the most entertaining side in the Six Nations competition, given that they have scored more tries than their rivals Wales and Ireland put together so far with 11.
Try scoring is becoming more of a sacred quantity in rugby union these days and the Six Nations championship as a whole might not have done anything to strike fear into rivals from the Southern hemisphere such as New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, three world class outfits who will be aiming to win this year’s World Cup.
With that all-important World Cup still six months away, there is still a lot of time for team dynamics to change, and despite the dour and down-beat feel to the on-field action during the 6 Nations tournament, off the field there should be plenty of excitement building for this is an event which usually has good viewing figures, added to which it will all unfold on the England fan’s front-doorsteps.