The Six Nations is right around the corner with each side in the championship desperate to start the new decade off in style.
What a Championship we have on the horizon with Europe’s best teams all with a point to prove going into the new year. For Wales, it was close but so far as Warren Gatland’s final game as their coach saw him oversee a third/fourth place play-off against New Zealand in which they were beaten comfortably. For Ireland, their World Cup curse continued as they could not better their best finish at the competition, once again tasting defeat at the first knockout stage, while France were their own worst enemies as they imploded on themselves in their loss to Wales.
Bar the three all tasting bitter disappointment at the World Cup, they are also linked by the fact all three have new coaches starting at this championship, and while new ideas will slowly be implemented and expectation will not be too high considering the huge change all have gone through, the three will still be desperate to hit the ground running and be battling at the top of the table come March.
Scotland and Italy meanwhile will be looking to better their fifth and sixth-placed finishes respectively, with the pair once again struggling.
For England though, this is a massive chance for the side to hit back from their World Cup final heartbreak and win a Grand Slam. Eddie Jones’ men come into this tournament as favourites following their superb World Cup run, while they have a settled squad of world class players along with a very similar set of coaching staff in comparison to the other heavyweights of the competition. With all of this in mind, we can see why the Red Rose go into the first Championship of the decade as the favourites, but this has not always transferred into success for England, with their most recent run in the Six Nations seeing them as favourites only to be beaten by Wales in both their own game and to the Grand Slam.
Indeed, the last time England managed to secure a Grand Slam was in the 2016 campaign, which seems like decades ago. In that campaign, England were forced to roll their sleeves up and get their hands dirty on a number of occasions as tight wins over Scotland (15-9), Ireland (21-10), Wales (25-21) and France (31-21). This hard-grafting side were forced to battle for their Grand Slam but they did that with aplomb, seeing the side win all of their games in the competition for the first time since 2003.
With Eddie Jones’ current England squad now looking to emulate them, we want to know whether you can name England’s starting XV and coach in that victory over France in their final match of the 2016 tournament?
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