Close sidebar

Six Nations: Power Ranking Each Side Ahead Of Round One

League tables and world rankings are great. If you want to know who has the best record or which team has accrued the most points through a series of sophisticated statistical metrics they will tell you; they will give you the facts.

But facts are boring. To ignite a debate you need the wonder of entirely subjective power rankings. These won’t tell you who just won the game in Dublin last weekend, or even who’s going to win in Paris next weekend, they’ll tell you who’s going to win the hypothetical game being played in your head on a Wednesday night.

So, with the 6 Nations just around the corner, let’s dive right in.


1. England

England top the pile to start the tournament. As double reigning champions, Eddie Jones’ men are the team to beat. Not just because they can’t seem to stop winning, but because 2017 showed us that they can win in different ways following two shootout wins in Argentina and an opportunistic slip-and-slide victory against Australia in November. 

Jones’ injury list is concerning (whose isn’t?), but as long as the Youngs-Ford-Farrell axis remains intact, the champions still boast the nous and skill to kick-off the year as number one.


2. Ireland

Ireland start as favourites over England on any wet afternoon. But in this hypothetical world, it’s not raining. 

Team after team will fall to the ferocity of their carrying and the unerring accuracy of their clearouts, but the fresh faces in their back division will need to show they can finish off an opponent on the ropes before they make that final leap to the top spot.


3. Scotland

If there’s a better player to watch in Europe right now than Finn Russell, I haven’t seen him; and if Scotland can find a cussedness to ally with their fly-half’s invention then the whole tournament can be put on notice. 

This could be Scotland’s year if all their cards fall face up, but the teams above them may still have too much in the tight five. The number of ifs alone should give Scottish fans pause, but it’ll be fun to watch. 


4. Wales

Every year, we’re treated to a Welsh performance against a supposedly superior team, which makes rankings like these look ridiculous. Sadly, in recent years, these performances have been – as Jonathan Davies would put it in commentary – ‘isolated’. 

The exciting young backs, introduced in drips over the last two seasons, have been released in a torrent for the opening weekend. Rhys Patchell, Hadleigh Parkes and Rob Evans might usher in a new era on Saturday or a return to the callow pre-Warren Gatland sides of years past. 


5. France

Go grab your Six Nations bingo card and take ‘which France team will turn up?’ out of the centre square. No longer enigmatic, unpredictable or mercurial, the question is now, ‘how awful will they look this year?’

It’s doubtful that anyone outside Jacques Brunel’s inner circle (or inside?) could give you more than five names that are inked into France’s best XV right now. Their dismal performances almost make you long for the dreary efficiency of Bernard Laporte… okay, it’s not that bad.


6. Italy

Conor O’Shea is apparently upset that his side’s controversial tactics overshadowed their performance against England last year. In courting the credit he feels his side deserves, the Irishman has overlooked the fact that turning Dylan Hartley and James Haskell’s brains inside-out for an hour still resulted in a 21-point defeat. 

Results are what matter for an Italian side that continues to disappoint, and if O’Shea would like credit for doing something unexpected, how about racking up a couple of victories this year?

Read More About: , , , , , ,

Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.