An eagerly awaited Six Nations kicks off tomorrow in Paris, as Europe’s finest look to move past collective Rugby World Cup disappointment. Despite becoming the first host nation to fail at the group stage, Coral have confirmed that many punters are backing England to come good under Eddie Jones and restore some pride in the Red Rose.
John Hill, a spokesman for Coral, said: “Despite flopping at the World Cup last year, punters have still been happy to side with England for this year’s Six Nations meaning they will be by far the worst result in our outright book. The fixture list has been kind to them and with a new coaching set up, they may just have something to prove following their disappointment at the World Cup.”
Yesterday, England confirmed the XV that will start against Scotland, with Danny Care earning a start at scrum half and Owen Farrell shifting to 12 to make room for Bath’s George Ford. The biggest surprise was that James Haskell, picked at 6 throughout most of his England career, will line up at 7 after effectively swapping roles with former captain Chris Robshaw.
After expressing the need for England to pick an out and out ‘fetcher’ at 7 throughout his stint as Japan coach, it seems strange that he has overlooked the likes of Kvesic and Wallace, and trusted Jack Clifford only with a place among the replacements. He will sit alongside the other potential debutants Paul Hill and Ollie Devoto.
With doubts over Jones’ England and injuries for defending champions Ireland, Hill also confirmed that with Coral it is odds on that there is no Grand Slam winner this year. Aside from Italy, who are big favourites to take the wooden spoon, all the other teams will fancy their chances of winning what promises to be an extremely open and exciting tournament.