It’s that time of year again. This weekend the Rugby Six Nations 2021 will kick off in style when Italy take on France in the opening game. As with almost every sporting event in the last 12 months, the rugby will also take place behind closed doors.
We saw a very unusual finish to the 2020 tournament which was postponed from earlier in the year. It eventually resumed in October before England took the title. A bonus-point win over Italy took Eddie Jones’ side to the summit and they stayed there on points difference. France, who needed to win by a 31-point margin to take the title could only beat Ireland 35-27 in Paris.
The reigning champions, England, will host Scotland in the second game of opening day – Saturday 6th February 2021. That will take place at Twickenham in London.
Wales begin their campaign on Sunday 7th February when they host Ireland at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.
2021 Six Nations Odds
For the 2021 tournament, the English are favourites to retain their Six Nations title on very short odds of around 11/10.
Based on recent games, France are second in the betting market. You can back them to win at odds of around 5/2.
Ireland are up next at odds of 7/2, followed by Wales (12/1), Scotland (20/1) and Italy (500/1). Those odds are of course short but a good opening game for any of the teams and it could all change.
How The Teams Are Looking
It won’t be all plain sailing for England. They will face very tough opposition before the tournament ends on March 20th. Scotland are a formidable team and as the two go head-to-head on the 150-year anniversary of the first fixture between them, both will be eager to stamp their authority.
This is very much an improving Scottish team, who overturned a 31-point deficit in a 38-38 draw the last time the teams locked horns in the English capital. Do they have what it takes to win at Twickenham at the weekend?
Ireland are not to be dismissed and as the team currently in fifth place in the World Rankings, have a lot to prove.
Provisional teams such as Munster and Leinster are leading the way in the Pro 14 and were top of both pools in the Heineken Cup before the French scuppered the tournament. With the Irish team largely made up of players from these two provinces, they know exactly what it takes to win on a big stage.
France is a tricky one. On one hand, they finished the last Six Nations very well and came close to winning it. However, since then, the French authorities have stopped Rugby play due to covid. As such the players haven’t had much competitive time on the field and this could really show in the performances.
Wales are still coming to terms with being beaten by Scotland in the last game of the Six Nations 2020. They also have to contend with Jonathan Davies being injured and Josh Adams being banned for having broken Covid rules. The good news is that George North looks set to earn his 99th Wales cap.
And there is Italy. What can you say about Italy? They show up, they try but in reality they haven’t a cat’s chance in hell of making an impact this year. That’s probably why they are around 500/1 to win!