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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Fri, 27 April 2018
Hurricanes v Sunwolves 07h35 Wellington
Stormers v Rebels 13h00 Newlands
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons 18h45 Welford Road
Sat, 28 April 2018
Reds v Lions 05h05 Suncorp Stadium
Blues v Jaguares 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Crusaders 09h45 Canberra
Kings v Cheetahs 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 14h00 Sandy Park
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins 14h00 Sixways
Gloucester v Bath 14h00 Kingsholm
Connacht v Leinster 14h05 Sportsground
Dragons v Scarlets 14h05 Rodney Parade
Bulls v Highlanders 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Treviso v Zebre 16h00 Stadio Monigo
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 16h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Munster v Ulster 16h35 Thomond Park
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 Myreside
Sun, 29 April 2018
London Irish v Saracens 14h00 Madejski Stadium
Wasps v Northampton Saints 14h00 Ricoh Arena
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 22 April 2018
Racing Metro v Munster 27 | 22
Brumbies v Jaguares 20 | 25
Sat, 21 April 2018
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 36 | 15
Zebre v Ospreys 37 | 14
Sharks v Stormers 24 | 17
Leinster v Scarlets 38 | 16
Bulls v Rebels 28 | 10
Reds v Chiefs 12 | 36
Crusaders v Sunwolves 33 | 11
Fri, 20 April 2018
Waratahs v Lions 0 | 29
Blues v Highlanders 16 | 34
Sun, 15 April 2018
Saracens v Bath 41 | 6
London Irish v Exeter Chiefs 5 | 45
Sat, 14 April 2018
Leinster v Treviso 15 | 17
Kings v Cardiff Blues 12 | 45
SIX NATIONS
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Ireland 5 5 0 0 26
Wales 5 3 0 2 15
Scotland 5 3 0 2 13
France 5 2 0 3 11
England 5 2 0 3 10
Italy 5 0 0 5 1