Six Nations: No room for sentiment

Sat, 11 Feb 2017 05:46
Large six nations coaches 2017 800

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Italy coach Conor O'Shea has insisted there will be no question of divided loyalties when the Azzurri face his native Ireland in the second round of the Six Nations Championship on Saturday.

"Ireland is where my family is, where my home is and where I spend my holidays. But right now my only priority is rugby with Italy. I'm not thinking about Ireland, but about us. We've got a mountain to climb for 80 minutes," said O'Shea.

Ireland's preparations suffered a setback when captain Rory Best went down with a stomach bug on Friday, the hooker confined to the team hotel while the rest of the squad trained at Rome's Stadio Olimpico.

"Hopefully he is going to be better with some extra hours of sleep," Ireland assistant coach Simon Easterby said.

Wales were sweating on the fitness of players with wing George North (leg) and flyhalf Dan Biggar (ribs).

England coach Eddie Jones had done his bit for Anglo-Welsh relations before insisting - against Wales' wishes - that the Principality Stadium's retractable roof remain open.

"They're a cunning lot the Welsh aren't they? They always have been. They've got goats, they've got daffodils," Jones said.

Wales forwards coach Robin McBryde summed up the game's enduring importance by saying: "We are neighbours, aren't we?"

"I have got two English brothers-in-law. It is that English-Welsh rivalry and wanting to get the better of your neighbour," he stated.

Scotland stunned Ireland with three tries inside the first half hour at Murrayfield last weekend and a similar display could end their Paris hoodoo.

"I'm not going to lie, I can't even remember the last time we won there in 1999. France away is tough for any team, but this is great opportunity for us to make some history by beating them over there," Scotland flank Hamish Watson, said

Last week at Twickenham saw France again go close against a major side only to lose narrowly, just as they did in November defeats by Australia (23-25) and world champions New Zealand (19-24).

"It's true that against Australia we could have won but didn't; against New Zealand we had a chance at the end; against England we lost at the end: it's annoying," France coach Guy Noves said.

Agence France-Presse

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 28 April 2017
Highlanders v Stormers 07h35 Dunedin
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 18h05 Cardiff
Edinburgh v Dragons 18h35 Myreside
Leinster v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 RDS Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors 19h00 Kingston Park
Sat, 29 April 2017
Chiefs v Sunwolves 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Waratahs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Force v Lions 11h55 Perth
Ospreys v Ulster 14h00 Liberty Stadium
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Saracens v Bristol 14h00 Allianz Park
Harlequins v Wasps 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Cheetahs v Crusaders 15h15 Bloemfontein
Treviso v Munster 17h05 Stadio Monigo
Kings v Rebels 17h30 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Connacht v Scarlets 18h35 Sportsground
Jaguares v Sharks 19h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 April 2017
Clermont Auvergne v Leinster 27 | 22
Sat, 22 April 2017
Sharks v Rebels 9 | 9
Bulls v Cheetahs 20 | 14
Munster v Saracens 10 | 26
Force v Chiefs 7 | 16
Crusaders v Stormers 57 | 24
Highlanders v Sunwolves 40 | 15
Fri, 21 April 2017
Lions v Jaguares 24 | 21
Waratahs v Kings 24 | 26
Hurricanes v Brumbies 56 | 21
Mon, 17 April 2017
UP-Tuks v Maties 28 | 21
Sun, 16 April 2017
Bristol v Wasps 21 | 36
Northampton Saints v Saracens 25 | 27
Sat, 15 April 2017
Connacht v Leinster 24 | 37
Treviso v Edinburgh 21 | 6
SIX NATIONS
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
England 5 4 0 1 19
Ireland 5 3 0 2 14
France 5 3 0 2 14
Scotland 5 3 0 2 14
Wales 5 2 0 3 10
Italy 5 0 0 5 0