5 Talking Points Ahead Of This Weekend’s Six Nations Fixtures

One more day.

The 2018 Six Nations is almost here. Wales and Scotland will draw the curtain tomorrow afternoon in a highly anticipated clash at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, before France welcome Ireland to Paris later that day.

Eddie Jones’ England travel to Rome on Sunday, and despite all the talk of injuries, the Australian has named a matchday squad packed with star power and experience.

Here are five talking points ahead of this weekend’s fixtures.

Matthieu Jalibert
The 19-year-old French fly-half has been handed a shock debut against Ireland tomorrow, with huge things expected of the teenage sensation. Despite have only made 15 league appearances for Bordeaux, Ireland’s CJ Stander has warned his teammates to beware of Jailbert’s attacking craft. Will the occasion get to the youngster or will he flourish and potentially lead France to victory? You just never know with the French.

Can Ireland live up to expectations this year?
After last year’s failings on the opening day, Ireland come into this year’s Six Nations in much better shape than they were ahead of the Scotland game. The provinces are firing, they completed a clean sweep in November, everything points to a win, and a convincing one at that. France are inexperienced and under a new coaching ticket. Expectations are high for Ireland, and they bloody well should be.

Could Wales’ injuries be a blessing in disguise?
The Scarlets are arguably playing the most attractive rugby in Europe right now and 10 of them are set to start for Wales against Scotland tomorrow. Injuries to the likes of Sam Warburton, Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb and Talupe Faletau will hurt Wales, but if the Scarlets in the team are allowed to play their brand of rugby they could cause Scotland problems. If they do, given Scotland’s exciting brand of rugby, we could be in for one hell of a Test match.

England’s injuries?
Eddie Jones today said the “magic sponge” must have worked, after naming an England side with 689 caps across the starting XV, despite all the talk about injuries in recent weeks. They’re still missing the likes of Billy Vunipola, Kyle Sinckler, Joe Marler, James Haskell and Elliot Daly. But will they really be missed? We’ll find out this weekend.

Has Conor O’Shea any tricks up his sleeve?
After last year’s “ruckgate”, all eyes will be on Conor O’Shea’s Italy this weekend to see if he has anything else in store for England. New laws mean his ruck tactics are now impossible, but has he some more tricks up his sleeve? We certainly hope so.

You can find the fixture details for all of this weekend’s Six Nations matches, including times and tv details, right here.

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