England are one of the favourites – but anyone can beat anyone

by Lee Mears

The Six Nations, as a tournament, seems to be getting stronger and stronger every year.

We are probably going to be watching four of the top teams in the world in current form with maybe France just a little ahead of the rest.

Lee Mears Six Nations Rugby

You normally have two or three sides in with a real shout, but this year, barring Italy, anyone can beat anyone. The Autumn Internationals proved that.

You have to feel a bit sorry for the Italians. Just as they start improving and becoming more competitive, the rest of the Six Nations countries take it up another level.

Selection posers for Eddie Jones

England will be one of the favourites. They will be well prepared under Eddie Jones who I am sure will make a few left field selections as we know he does.

We have a couple of injuries in key positions and the likes of Courtney Laws and Sam Underhill will be missed.

It made the selection for the Scotland game even more interesting and I am glad Jones has gone with Henry Slade and Elliot Day, who both deserve a chance.

I am also delighted that Tom Curry is captain. He always does a phenomenal job for his country and I hope he just plays his game and doesn’t worry too much about the leadership. That will come naturally.

Ones to watch and a big first game

There are many England players I am looking forward to seeing in the next few weeks. Freddie Steward is just getting better and better, I am delighted to see Jack Nowell involved and Marcus Smith has been pulling up trees at Harlequins.

I have played in the Calcutta Cup before and it used to be that England didn’t need to worry about Scotland. But they seem to have a number over us in recent years. Gregor Townsend has done a wonderful job and I am sure Finn Russell will cause us problems. It is going to be a hell of a game.

If you are going to have genuine aspirations of winning the Six Nations, and then going into a World Cup with real momentum, you need to get off to a great start. If you lose the first one, the pressure will be on.