Monday, 14 January 2013

6 Nations Squads: Italy, France, Scotland, England and Wales

Italy

Clear to see changing away from the old guard, with no Bergamascos in the squad. This is a young squad, that is gaining experience, and it's clear to see who will be the backbone of the team for years to come. Italy are improving as a nation, and will start challenging the established order soon. Benvenuti, Botes and Masi are quality players not to be taken lightly.

France

Interesting calls here to bring Bastareaud back into the fold. This squad is noticeable in that it's the first time in 8 years or so that France have picked the best players available. Which is scary and ominous. Unfortunate to see Fickou injured as I think he will be the best 12 in the world in a few years.

The only strange call is the stripping of Dusautoir of the captaincy. He is a natural leader, and one of the best captains in the world. But it wouldn't be France without the madness.

Scotland

Scotland need an encouraging tournament. At the very least some strong performances, that have been lacking from their club teams.

They've started well in bringing in some new blood, and bringing back some great players like Johnnie Beattie.

Interested to see Sean Maitland, was a big fan of his when he was playing Super Rugby, but haven't seen what he's capable of up here. A back three of Maitland, Visser and Hogg excites.

Some interesting selections ahead with the Lions tour approaching. Richie Gray and Kelly Brown will want to have good tournaments to try and get themselves on the plane.

England

Like France, England haven't been picking their best players for a long time. Unfortunately for Ireland, they seem to be doing that under Lancaster.

I think some of the young players like Twelvetrees and Burns are fantastic talents, and while it's a bit soon for them at the moment, they will be a force to be reckoned with in the future.

The Saxons squad is just as important to keep an eye on with some talented youngsters like Billy Vunipola in there too.

Again with the Lions coming up, Ben Foden, Joe Launchbury and others will want a big tournament to get themselves on the plane.

Wales

Eli Walker is a fantastic prospect, and a potential bolter for the Lions. I think it's disappointing that Rhys Patchell didn't get a place, considering there is only one natural out-half in the squad. It's a great chance for Biggar to stake a claim for the Lions.

This is an important competition for Wales, who have the players, but haven't been performing well enough.

Will be interesting to see.