Tom Cruse’s Preview of the Six Nations

1) Who is the one standout player for England that you think will impress?

Dan Robson – he’s waited a long time to get an opportunity to play for England. Assuming he gets enough minutes on the pitch, I think he will he will take his opportunity and put his hand up for a World Cup spot!

2) Who is the one standout player outside of England that you think will impress?

Jonny Sexton – an obvious choice but Ireland are full of confidence and quality at the moment, everything they do goes through Sexton.

3) Looking at the England squad, who are your ones to watch? 

Dan Robson – As above. But also Mako Vunipola – he is involved in everything both sides of the ball, him and his brother Billy are pivotal for England’s pack going forward.

4) Away from England, who are your ones to watch?

Sean Cronin – mostly plays off the bench behind Rory Best but he still has the ability to win a game in that role. Additionally, Stuart Hogg, he always plays well on the big stage! If he plays well, Scotland could cause an upset or two.

5) Do you think this is going to be the most competitive Six Nations in some time?

I think Ireland and England have taken a lot of the attention, especially as they face each other on the first weekend. However, you can’t write off any of the other nations when you look at the immense quality in each squad. Barring Italy, I think anyone can pretty much beat anyone!

6) Who is your surprise package and why? 

Wales. Consistently competitive and have quality all over the pitch. They will need Biggar, North and Owens to have big tournaments.

7) Which game are you most looking forward to and why? 

Ireland vs England!! Why…Because it’s too close to call, the winner takes a big advantage going into the rest of the competition.

8) Can you feel a ‘bringing to the boil’ of those selected players that you train with day in, day out?

Yes – in particular Brad Sheilds and Dan Robson. Both have hit form for wasps at the right time. Dan had an ankle injury and was out for 3 months however, he has come back fit and determined to make his mark.

9) Do the games in the 6 Nations take on greater importance with it being a Rugby World Cup year or do you think people play for pride at the 6 Nations and take the RWC as it comes?

Necessarily, I don’t think that it has greater importance however, it’s great from a spectators point of view as we get to see who looks strong heading into the World Cup later this year!

10) Coaching has always been important but now, more than ever, it has an increasingly bigger role in professional sport. 1) What type of approach do you think Eddie Jones will have for the Six Nations ahead of the RWC? And 2) Who is the coach that you think has got the edge in this years’ 6 Nations? 

Eddie Jones wants to have a very fit, physical squad. He seems to coach a little bit outside the box however, the end product is a pretty traditional English game plan…A big set of forwards that will look to dominate upfront and a world class goal kicker in Farrell. There are a few head coaches who will leave their role post World Cup which means this will be their last 6N. Therefore, each will want to finish on a high and head into the World Cup with a 6N win, it’s too hard to choose one in particular!

11) What do you think the secret is to winning the 6 Nations? What special ingredient do you need to get over the whitewash as winners?

Consistency – it’s a relentless competition and you need to be able to back up performances.

12) Everyone has got a shout this year…But who is your pick for the tournament and why?

Ireland. I feel they have home advantage over England in their toughest fixture (on paper). They also have a squad full of confidence and key players peaking at the right moment. It’ll be an interesting one for sure!

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