England, France restore battle for European rugby supremacy
The world’s earliest global rugby championship is set to be improved in the coming days, with private equity financial investment possibly moving the Six Nations into uncharted area in regards to widespread exposure and broadcasting deals worldwide.
By reportedly investing more than $400 million into the yearly northern hemisphere competition, CVC Capital Partners has targeted a historic item it believes is ripe for development worldwide. That puts the 6 Countries in the shop window as the 2021 edition prepares to start on Feb. 6, hardly 3 months after the pandemic-extended 2020 tournament concluded. Can Europe’s leading teams deliver an incredible champion to usher it into an amazing new era?
They might have different concepts about that. Take England, for example, the defending champ and the bookmakers’ favorite to win a fourth title in six years under coach Eddie Jones. Over the previous year, the English have embraced a pragmatic– some would state dull– approach, grinding out workmanlike success that saw them catch the 6 Countries in October and the inaugural Fall Nations Cup in December.
It’s far from thrill-a-minute stuff, however Jones doesn’t seem to care as he looks to construct a winning device to take into the next Rugby World Cup in 2023. England is on an eight-test winning streak, after all.
Playing “efficient rugby” is something Jones has actually repeatedly pointed out. If that implies kicking a method to wins or utilizing the physicality of his forward pack, then so be it. It may be a turnoff, though. On the contrary, there’s France, with its young, courageous, new-look group that has actually been a breath of fresh air considering that the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Even its second string ran England close in the Fall Nations Cup last.
Led by the exciting halfback combination of Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack and with runners like Gael Fickou and Virimi Vakatawa in midfield and Charles Ollivon in the back row, the French have been a joy to enjoy– scoring the most points (138) and tied for many shots (17) in a 2020 champion in which they completed second on points difference. The defense has actually hardened, too, on Shaun Edwards’ watch.
The awesome wins over Wales and in especially over Ireland (35-27) in Round 5 truly got tongues wagging about the danger France might posture at a World Cup it hosts in 2023. “We’re convinced they can take another action,” France assistant coach Raphael Ibanez said of his young gamers. “The France group needs to go for titles. We can’t help but be enthusiastic, and that’s the message we’re making clear to the gamers.”
England and France– with their differing outlooks– start as the 2 most heavily backed groups and fulfill in Round 4. But what of the other pretenders? Wales has actually played more expansively under new coach Wayne Pivac, however outcomes have taken a sharp downward turn in the process with simply three wins in 10 matches in the New Zealander’s period. It stays to be seen if the method modifications over the next number of months for the 2019 Grand Slam champ.
As for Ireland, the post-Joe Schmidt age under Andy Farrell had a middling start with third locations in the 6 Countries and the Fall Nations Cup. Defeats to England (twice) and France in 2020 show Ireland’s brand-new standing in the northern hemisphere pecking order and they are the two teams who go to Dublin this winter season.
Travel, obviously, has actually been a major problem ahead of the Six Countries, with Europe still in the grip of the pandemic that requires arenas to be empty of viewers. French quarantine guidelines have been threatening to thwart the champion, with visitors from Britain presently needing to isolate for seven days on arrival and both Wales and Scotland arranged for trips to Paris. Organizers believe those guidelines will be loosened, offering the Welsh and Scots unique dispensation to go over offered they operate in a bubble and are frequently checked.
Games can go on in Italy– which hosts France, Ireland and Wales in Rome– because visitors are allowed to go into the nation for professional reasons, while sports teams have exemptions to check out England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales to play matches.
Six Nations primary executive Ben Morel stated that need to any video games be called off due to the fact that of COVID-19 limitations, there ought to be area in the calendar for them to be rescheduled. That varies from the Autumn Nations Cup, which finished with a last. When opponents needed to cancel, groups were awarded 28-0 default wins.
If the rate of infection worsens in the countries, though, the championship might be extended– like last year.
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