Ambassadors talk Six Nations

THE SIX Nations Championship is without doubt the world’s greatest rugby tournament. Each year the collective fans of six proud nations – England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales – share in the passion and excitement of this feast of rugby. With both Men’s and Women’s Six Nations championships taking place in the coming weeks there is plenty for everyone.

Wooden Spoon caught up with some of its rugby ambassadors recently to get their thoughts on the championship.

Harriet Millar-Mills

Wasps FC Ladies and England

Who will win – England Women, of course! It will go down to the England v France game – with it being in the Alps at 9pm all the conditions are on their side but I believe England have got it, but it may come down to the last minute. France is the main contender this year, but in previous years it’s been Ireland. However, you’ve Scotland, Wales and Italy all pushing at the door which will make this year the closest yet across the board, not just at the top.

England Men have got it again, but it may not all go their way!

Who to watch – Marlie Packer is always a massive impact player, but then you’ve got the likes of Katy Mclean as fly-half who will run the show. I’m going to end up listing them all, but we shouldn’t forget the props and front row who never get enough credit. They really do lead from the front. I’m really excited for this Six Nations as we really don’t know what we are going to get with the new girls coming through. Mixing class with youth can’t be a bad combination!

Tamsin Barber

Richmond Women and England 7s development squad

Who will win – The England team’s changed a lot from the World Cup a couple of months ago. We had a very good Mutual Wealth series, we did amazing against Canada, but then again you’ve got teams such as France, a really fierce team to come up against. France are a massive contender for the Grand Slam. Ireland are growing, they put us through our paces last year, especially in the last game. I believe it will be between England, Ireland and France. I think we’ve got a very good chance, we’ve got some great players coming through!

Craig Chalmers

Former Scotland and British & Irish Lions

Who will win – Ireland to win the Six Nations, Italy to shock England!

Who to watch – Huw Jones (Scotland), Matthieu Jalibert (France), Sam Simmonds (England) and Rhys Patchell (Wales).

Keep the Six Nations as it as, there is no need to shorten the break in the middle. In my day the Five Nations had a month break. However, I would make one rule change. As soon as the scrum half touches the ball at the back of the scrum it should be considered in play, currently it is only in play when the scrum half picks it up.

Andy Gomarsall MBE

Former England

Who will win – always England! For me Scotland is playing some exhilarating rugby and I’m looking forward to the spectacle. I was fortunate to be with Doddie Weir last night and we were chatting about the Calcutta Cup two years ago, where Scotland did not turn up by their own admittance. This year I think they will, and I can’t wait for that encounter. It will be amazing, totally electric. Whoever wins that game I think will win the championship.

Who to watch – Best player to look out for if I’m being sensible is Sam Simmonds.

Scott Hastings

Former Scotland and British & Irish Lions

I’m looking forward to another great tournament, and I’m hoping to see Scotland build on the great run they had in the second half of last year. I’m sure we are all looking forward to the game in Scotland on 24 February when England come to Murrayfield to take on the much improved Scots.

Aaron Phipps

GB wheelchair rugby

Who will win – It’s got to be England all the way. For my paralympic team I played for GB so we’ve got a few Scots, and a few Welsh people have clawed their way in, but England all the way for me this championship. I’ll be glued to the TV, so let’s hope for a good result.

Willie John McBride MBE

Former Ireland and British & Irish Lions

Who will win – It was only Five Nations in my time, but with the years gone by there is very little between the teams now. We keep hoping that Ireland will do it again, and I still hope that they will. But in terms of injury and there are so many things that you need to have going on the day, I think Ireland has a good a chance as any. We can beat England when they are not expecting it, like last year when they came over to Dublin. We’ll be aiming to beat them at Twickenham this year. We always love it when we do!

To keep up-to-date with the latest scores and news visit the official NatWest Six Nations 2018 website.