After nearly two years, rugby fans have filled six of the sport’s most iconic stadiums, and the 2022 Six Nations have not disappointed. With teams coming back more competitively, more fiercely and more passionately than in recent memory, this year’s tournament has been filled with dominance, temperament and some incredible talent.
England’s dramatic defeat against Scotland secured the Scots back-to-back Calcutta Cups wins, and ones-to-watch France started as they meant to go on. Thrashing Italy on home turf, the French continued their impressive campaign against Ireland at home and prevailed against Scotland, in superb style, in Edinburgh.
A year before the World Cup, England’s classic composure has been replaced with some temperament on the pitch, including only one comfortable win. England scraped a win against the reigning Six Nations champions Wales, but it wasn’t without a fight. Let’s hope the boys get more comfortable and settled in the tournament’s final rounds.
Super Saturday is just around the corner. France remains unbeaten and are playing some of the most impressive rugby we’ve seen in a while, meaning this weekend’s fixtures are set to be anything but predictable. We caught up with George Kruis who was part of the 2016 Six Nations winning team and hasta Ambassador for Sport & Nutrition, to get an expert’s take on the tournament so far.
1. As being part of the 2016 Six Nations winning team, how will England be preparing to face Ireland on Saturday? How will the team be preparing mentally against their massive game against the French in the coming week?
“Ireland is traditionally a very well prepped team. Although they have been playing more rugby recently in some bigger games, I imagine they will lean towards their old game of a strong set-piece and use 9 and 10 to control the field position. From experience, I think England will be focusing on putting massive pressure on their set-piece and first 3 phases as a way to get to Sexton.
“The prep for the game against France will depend on the results on the weekend; England have to play a bit more to see if they need a bonus-point win or not.”
2. With a few temperamental games against Scotland and Wales, what key areas do you think England need to focus on to really put the pressure on for the remaining games?
“Strong starts in both games will be huge, especially if they need to make some points up to chase France. I would imagine there will be a big focus on maximising the first 20 minutes of both games.”
3. What player have you been surprised by during this Six Nations and why?
“Maro Itoje continues to surprise me. He has set the standard so high that people forget how hard it is to be at that level so consistently all the time. Very impressive!”
4. What team do you think is looking strong to be ready for the 2023 World Cup?
“I think it’s hard to look past France at home. They are building nicely and have a good mix of young and experienced players who each add something creative to the team. Honestly, it’s been a delight to watch.
“It also feels, to me, that other nations are currently either going through changes or are slightly off their best. If France doesn’t peak too early, then it will be great to see French rugby back to its best.”
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Catch the next round of 2022 Six Nations on BBC and ITV
Friday 11 March
Wales vs France, 8pm GMT (Principality Stadium, Wales)
Saturday 12 March
Italy vs Scotland, 2.15pm GMT (Stadio Olimpico, Rome)
England vs Ireland, 4.45pm GMT (Twickenham Stadium, London)
Saturday 19 March
Wales vs Italy, 2.15pm GMT (Principality Stadium, Cardiff)
Ireland vs Scotland, 4.45pm GMT (Aviva Stadium, Dublin)
France vs England, 8pm GMT (Stade de France, Paris)