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Six Nations: Players to Watch

Six Nations: Players to Watch

Shaun Goosen takes a look at the players he thinks are set to light up the 2020 Six Nations!

Image Copyright – Steve Haag Sports.

Wales – Josh Adams

Josh Adams of Wales
Josh Adams’ try-scoring ability will be key if Wales want a repeat of last season’s Six Nations campaign.
Image Copyright – Steve Haag Sports.

Since his international debut in 2018, Adams has scored 11 tries in 21 Tests; a remarkable return for any player. The Worcester Warriors winger was absolutely pivotal for Wales last year as they claimed a Six Nations Grand Slam, with Adams bagging three tries during the campaign. At the World Cup in Japan, he finished as top try scorer with seven touchdowns, which included a hat-trick against Fiji.

Consistency, though, really is the only currency that matters, and the 24-year-old will know all too well that he must continue to evolve his game if he is to remain relevant in the unforgiving landscape of Test match rugby. Still, though, he’d be tough to bet against at the moment.

Ireland – Garry Ringrose

Garry Ringrose of Ireland
Garry Ringrose has been tipped for stardom by many. Does he have what it takes to reach the heights of Brian O’Driscoll?
Image Copyright – Steve Haag Sports

Leinster’s dexterous No 13 has long been spoken of as a potential Ireland Great and, heading into a new World Cup cycle, one would expect him to continue his Test rugby evolution A certainty for the 2021 Lions tour and an early favourite to start in the midfield, Ringrose’s agility and quick-thinking has resulted in countless magical moments for both club and country in the past; look no further than his 60m score against Clermont in the 2016-17 Champions Cup semi-final.

With either Bundee Aki or Robbie Henshaw set to start alongside him in the centres, the 24-year-old will look to spark more creativity for Ireland as they attempt to shed their conservative reputation.

England – Manu Tuilagi

Manu Tuilagi of England
England’s Samoan-born Manu Tuilagi’s injury woes are behind him.
Image Copyright – Steve Haag Sports 

The notoriously fragile Tuilagi shook off his injury trouble to regain his place in England’s starting XV last season and, in so doing, went on to deliver a series of outstanding displays in white. Quite surprisingly, many continue to debate which centre berth suits him best when No 12 is undoubtedly where the Samoa-born giant wreaks the most havoc. While George Ford and Owen Farrell may again be selected as the starting No 10 and 12 combo for England, Tuilagi will find his best form when he is the one at second five-eighth.

While we are yet to see him reclaim the form that saw him tear the All Blacks apart at Twickenham in 2012, Tuilagi will only get closer if he can remain injury-free.

Italy –  Jake Polledri

Jake Polledri of Italy
Jake Polledri is one of the shining lights in an Italian side who have yet to really establish themselves at Europe’s top table.
Image Copyright – Steve Haag Sports.

The English-born flanker has been a standout for Gloucester and will be looking to make his third season of international rugby a big one. The 106kg Polledri is a powerful ball carrier and starred for the Azzurri in an otherwise forgettable World Cup campaign. At just 24, there’s no reason he can’t continue to maintain his high-performance levels for at least another four years.

Having taken ownership of the Italian No 7 jersey and playing in tandem with South African-born Braam Steyn in the back row, Polledri is sure to be a standout if Italy are to win a first Six Nations Test since 2015.

France – Charles Ollivon

Charles Ollivon of France
Can Charles Ollivion lead France into becoming a force in the Test arena again?
Image Copyright – Steve Haag Sports.

The 26-year-old Ollivon has been named France’s new captain by Fabian Galthie following the retirement of the inspirational Guilhem Guirado. Despite featuring regularly at the World Cup, the loose forward has been in and out of France squads since debuting against Fiji in 2014. He’ll now have a chance to cement his place in the run-on XV for the foreseeable future.

Being tasked with leading the turbulent French into a new era is no small matter, but one you’d hope the Toulon man will grab with both considerable mitts.

Scotland – Ali Price

Ali Price of Scotland
Ali Price will get his chance to shine following the retirement of Greig Laidlaw.
Image Copyright – Steve Haag Sports. 

Having played second fiddle to the recently retired Greig Laidlaw for many years, Price should finally get a chance to prove his worth in Scotland’s No 9 jersey in the upcoming Six Nations. His speed and cunning have reaped big rewards for his club in the past, and if he can consistently replicate that on the Test stage he will soon become a fan favourite.

The talented Glasgow Warrior was unfortunate enough to suffer a foot injury in Scotland’s opening World Cup match against Ireland that ended his involvement in the tournament. He will be looking to make up for lost time in 2020.

Written by Shaun Goosen for Hollywoodbets.

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