The tournament is set to commence again in October, and with only four games to go, the Six Nations looks to be a two-horse-race between France and England. Ireland and Scotland have outside chances mathematically but are hoping that results in other games go their way. In this piece we’ll be looking at a few of the names to watch out for in the final round of fixtures.
Unfortunately, I see Les Tricolores clinching top spot as they take on Ireland in the last game of the competition, considering their efforts that saw them topple both England and Wales in previous fixtures, it was clear to see that the French have played as a collective, rather than relying on individual talent.
With that being said, there are two vital players for France who, in my opinion, can lead them to glory which they experienced back in 2007. Flankers Charles Ollivon and Greg Alldritt are a duo that helped the French to wins against Italy, Wales and England. The latter has picked up player of the match awards in two of the four games, whilst Ollivon has contributed with five tries so far. It’s clear that their ability to get the ball wider at a much quicker rate, has improved, where in recent years France fell victim to lacklustre ball movement, evident from their performance in last years’ championship, with only 12 tries scored in total. Hopefully for France, these two players are fit and ready to go when matches resume.
For me, Owen Farrell has been the standout player to watch for England and is someone I believe can potentially help the three lions pip the rest of the competition. Being a dual threat has helped England Coach Eddie Jones in getting the best out of both Farrell and George Ford at the same time, as the current captain of the national side is a makeshift inside centre when it comes to the international stage, while playing in his preferred position of fly-half for club side Saracens. Farrell has contributed with a total of 39 points during the current Six Nations, with nine of them coming in a vital win against Wales that resulted in England lifting the Triple Crown. The number 12 is renowned for his kicking ability, which many fans will be hoping to see on display in England’s final game against an Italy side that has shown no sort of competitive edge during the three rounds they have played in. However, Farrell’s return to Saracens was delayed due to a quad injury, which he has hopefully now seen the back of. He has also committed his future to the club by agreeing a new contract, this will no doubt help shift his focus to the pressure that lies on the shoulders of the England players.
Despite the underdog chance of winning the Six Nations, it is clear to see the improvement in Scotland’s play. Sean Maitland and Jamie Ritchie have been standout names for the Braveheart’s, who produced a stunning performance against France to come out 28-17 winners. The former has been able to score, and assist tries throughout the championship and will be looking to add to his tally against Wales in October. The flanker on the other hand, despite not producing any numbers going forward, has been a huge force to be reckoned with in the tackling department, with big games defensively against France and Ireland respectively.
Be sure to be on the lookout for these individuals, as they’re not just talented individuals, they’re game-changers.
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