On Saturday (6th of February), the 2016 6 Nations begins. This year, for the first time that I can remember, the games are not all on the BBC, but rather are being split between the BBC and ITV. This is because they found that they had to work together to see off a bid from Sky Sports; and thus retain the 6 Nations on free-to-air TV.
Wales start their 6 Nations campaign with an away game on Sunday 7th February against Ireland, never an easy place to go. Because of the way the 6 Nations schedule works, the season in which we play Ireland away is also the season we play England away. But, we have 3 home games; against Scotland, France and Italy. Wales’ full 6 Nations 2016 schedule is
- Ireland v Wales – Sunday 7th February – KO 15:00 GMT (on ITV)
- Wales v Scotland – Saturday 13th February – KO 16:50 GMT (on BBC)
- Wales v France – Friday 26th February – KO 20:05 GMT (on BBC)
- England v Wales – Saturday 12th March – KO 16:00 GMT (on ITV)
- Wales v Italy – Saturday 19th March – KO 14:30 GMT (on BBC)
The Wales team, management and fans were not particularly happy with the performance in the World Cup. Although we were ravaged by injuries, we could and should have beaten South Africa in the quarter finals; getting to at least the semi finals as we did in 2011 was our target. Therefore, I suspect that Wales will perform very well in this upcoming 6 Nations (there goes the kiss of death!). We will be looking to win all of our home games, but unfortunately our first match is away to defending title-holders Ireland.
Going to Dublin is never easy, but how both teams play in their opening fixture may depend on how they each react to their respective quarter final defeats. Whereas Wales were narrowly defeated by a last minute try against South Africa, Ireland were thoroughly thrashed by a rampant Argentina. How psychologically bruised Ireland are from this mauling remains to be seen.
If we can sneak a win in Dublin in our opening game I think we will be very difficult to beat in any of the remaining matches. We get the chance also to build on the wonderful victory over England in Twickenham, beating them in this 6 Nations will make it two wins in a row away to England, and I cannot remember the last time that happened (the 1970s probably!)
Whatever the Southern Hemisphere rugby nations may say, the 6 Nations is far and away the best annual rugby tournament. It brightens up the dismalwinter days of February (as I type this I’m in sunny and warm Buenos Aires but that’s a different story!), and the travelling legions of rugby fans who go to the away games of their countries is something that New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina just cannot match.
DERE ‘MLAEN CYMRU!!!!! / COME ON WALES!!!!!