This weekend sees the start of the 2009 Six Nations tournament with Wales favourites with the bookies to defend their crown. Wales – the top ranked side in Europe – completed their Grand Slam in 2008 with victory over the French at the Millennium Stadium and are now looking for back-to-back titles.
The opening week fixtures sees Wales travel to play Scotland at Murrayfield, Scotland at times showed signs of improvement during the Autumn Internationals and with three home fixtures this year will be looking to improve on last years 5th place.
England who are going through a rebuilding programme will be looking to get off to a winning start against the Italians at Twickenham. England got hammered by both the opposition and the press during the Autumn Internationals and will be hoping for better this time. The Italians have been getting closer every year and are no longer a soft touch, i know we hear this every year but surely its only a matter of time before they claim a major scalp.
Declan Kidney has got the Irish playing again, with the Munster pack and a young exciting back line including Luke Fitzgerald and Rob Kearney Ireland have a great mix of youth and experience. At Croke Park they come up against a France side yet to really produce much since the 2007 World Cup, in Marc Lievremont they have a coach who is already coming under pressure to deliver results.
Sat 7th Feb – England V Italy – 3pm Twickenham
Sat 7th Feb – Ireland V France – 5pm Croke Park
Sun 8th Feb – Scotland V Wales – 3pm Murrayfield
Sat 14th Feb – France V Scotland – 3pm Stade de France
Sat 14th Feb – Wales V England – 5.30pm Millennium Stadium
Sun 15th Feb – Italy V Ireland – 2.30pm Stadio Flaminio
Fri 27th Feb – France V Wales – 8pm Stade de France
Sat 28th Feb – Scotland V Italy – 3pm Murrayfield
Sat 28th Feb – Ireland V England – 5.30pm Croke Park
Sat 14th Mar – Italy V Wales – 3pm Stadio Flaminio
Sat 14th Mar – Scotland V Ireland – 5pm Murrayfield
Sun 15th Mar – England V France – 3pm Twickenham
Sat 21st Mar – Italy V France – 1.15pm Stadio Flaminio
Sat 21st Mar – England V Scotland – 3.30pm Twickenham
Sat 21nd Mar – Wales V Ireland – 5.30pm Millennium Stadium
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Shane Williams – 13/2 with Stan James.
Julien Malzieu – 12/1 with Coral.
Paul Sackey – 14/1 with Totesport.
Leigh Halfpenny – 14/1 with Blue Square.
Tommy Bowe 18/1 with Paddy Power.
Maxime Medard – 18/1 with 888sport.
Luke Fitzgerald – 22/1 with Sportingbet.
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