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, 15 December 2017
Ulster v Harlequins 19h45 Kingspan Stadium
Sat, 16 December 2017
Montpellier v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Altrad Stadium
Treviso v Scarlets 13h00 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Leinster v Exeter Chiefs 15h15 Aviva Stadium
Racing Metro v Castres 15h15 Stade Yves-du-Manoir
Bath v Toulon 17h30 Recreation Ground
Sun, 17 December 2017
Wasps v La Rochelle 13h00 Ricoh Arena
Clermont Auvergne v Saracens 15h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Ospreys v Northampton Saints 15h15 Liberty Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Munster 17h30 Welford Road
RESULT SCORE
Mon, 11 December 2017
Saracens v Clermont Auvergne 14 | 46
Sun, 10 December 2017
Exeter Chiefs v Leinster 8 | 18
Harlequins v Ulster 5 | 17
La Rochelle v Wasps 49 | 29
Sat, 09 December 2017
Munster v Leicester Tigers 33 | 10
Castres v Racing Metro 16 | 13
Northampton Saints v Ospreys 32 | 43
Toulon v Bath 24 | 20
Scarlets v Treviso 33 | 28
Fri, 08 December 2017
Glasgow Warriors v Montpellier 22 | 29
Sun, 03 December 2017
Harlequins v Saracens 20 | 19
Sat, 02 December 2017
Cheetahs v Scarlets 28 | 21
Munster v Ospreys 36 | 10
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 32 | 25
Treviso v Leinster 10 | 36
SIX NATIONS
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
England 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0
France 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0