6 Nations kicks off this weekend

6 Nations kicks off this weekend
By Euronews
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Ireland and England go into 6 Nations as favourites for the 2018 title


Ireland will open their 6 Nations campaign in Paris this weekend, with head coach Joe Schmidt's side widely tipped to contest the title along with reigning champions England.

New France coach Jacques Brunel has mixed up his Les Bleus squad, with the likes of uncapped teenage fly-half Matthieu Jalibert potentially in line for a Test bow this weekend.

Ireland beat France 19-9 during the 2017 Championship.

This time around, they have a young squad - with one eye on the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

Ulster hooker Rory Best retains the captaincy - 32-year-old fly-half Johnny Sexton has provided by far the most points in the squad.

France know a win against Ireland in the opening match of the 2018 Six Nations Rugby tournament on Saturday would help rebuild their shattered self-confidence, said head coach Jacques Brunel on Thursday.

'Les Bleus' are desperate to extricate themselves from months of crisis which saw former head coach Guy Noves step down in December after the team failed to win any of their matches during the Autumn internationals.

His replacement, Brunel, is hoping his players can match Ireland's firepower and reclaim their title as one of Europe's best.

"We owe it to ourselves to stay in the competition as long as possible and if possible, right until the end," Brunel said.

They face Scotland in their next game, followed Italy, England and Wales in their final match of the Six Nations.

Wales trained at The Vale in Cardiff on Tuesday (30th January) ahead of their Six Nations Championship opener against Scotland at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday (3rd February).

The Welsh have home advantage for the match on Saturday (3rd February), and will be hoping the Millennium Stadium provides them with better fortune than in last year's Championship when they lost 29-13 at Murrayfield.

Warren Gatland's starting XV will contain 10 Scarlets players, six of them in the pack with Worcester Warriors wing Josh Adams making the exception.

22-year-old Adams is the English Premiership's top try scorer this season with nine tries. 

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