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Preview: Women’s Six Nations 2015

Preview: Women’s Six Nations 2015

With a thrilling Six Nations Championship and a World Cup held on French soil, 2014 was a special year for women’s rugby.

With a thrilling Six Nations Championship and a World Cup held on French soil, 2014 was a special year for women’s rugby.

But teams are back to work now, preparing for the 2015 edition of the Six Nations, and a little over two months before the jousting begins, it is time for an all-round preview of the contestants.

The French had a brilliant campaign in 2014, succeeding in beating all their competition for a well-deserved Grand Slam.

Led by Marie-Alice Yahé, they impressed with their massive forward pack, building many of their victories on devastating rolling mauls.

And Les Bleues were not far off making it a perfect 12 months, reaching the RWC semi-finals before defeat to Canada and a third-place finish.

They will undoubtedly look to retain their Six Nations title in the next few months, kicking things off against Scotland on February 7 in Nantes, before a clash in Ireland that could very well be decisive for the rest of the competition.

Always a favourite with the bookmakers, England will stride to this year’s Six Nations boosted by their massive achievement in the Rugby World Cup last summer, where they lifted the trophy in Paris.

And they will go into the Championship with a target on their chests, as well as huge expectations and enthusiasm from head coach Gary Street.

“We’ve got an amazing programme and I’ve picked five 18-year-olds in the current England squad on the basis that they’re good enough already – so it’s exciting times,” he said.

England will visit Wales for their first fixture on February, before hosting Italy and flying to Ireland on the 27th. Depending on results, the much-anticipated clash with France at Twickenham could prove to be a decider on the final day of competition.

Ireland enjoyed a good 2014. After finishing third in last year’s Six Nations they put together a good World Cup run, only to be thwarted in the semi-finals by eventual champions England.

As Six Nations winners in 2013, the Irish will certainly be looking to get back on top in 2015, starting with a trip to Italy and a home clash with France a week later.

Italy finished fourth in this year’s Championship, after collecting victories against Wales and Scotland.

After missing out on a place at the World Cup they will be eager to hit the ground running next year, with Ireland at home and England away first up on the fixture list.

Wales will be hoping to upset the established hierarchy, after finishing the 2014 Championship in fifth – they host England first up before a trip north to Scotland.

And Scotland themselves complete the line-up, knowing the only way is up after failing to record a victory in this year’s Six Nations.

There is no easy start in 2015, with reigning champions France first up, before taking on Wales and Italy in the following weeks.
 
Women’s Six Nations 2015 fixtures
 
Friday February 6:
Italy v Ireland 19:00 – Stadio Mario Lodigiani, Firenze
 
Saturday February 7:
France v Scotland 14:00 – Stadium Pascal Laporte, Nantes
 
Sunday February 8:
Wales v England 14:30 – Swansea RFC
 
Friday February 13:
Ireland v France 19:30 – Ashbourne RFC
 
Saturday February 14:
Scotland v Wales 17:00 – Broadwood Stadium, Cumbernauld
 
Sunday February 15:
England v Italy 14:00 – Twickenham Stoop
 
Friday February 27:
Ireland v England 19:30 – Ashbourne RFC
France v Wales 20:55 – Sapiac Stadium, Montauban
 
Sunday March 1:
Scotland v Italy 13:00 – Broadwood Stadium, Cumbernauld
 
Friday March 13:
England v Scotland 19:35 – Northern Echo Arena, Durham
 
Saturday March 14:
Italy v France 14:30 – Nuovi Impianti Sportivi, Campo 1, Badia
 
Sunday March 15:
Wales v Ireland 13:30 – Swansea RFC
 
Saturday March 21:
Italy v Wales 14:30 – Stadio Plebiscito, Padova
England v France 19:20 – Twickenham
 
Sunday March 22:
Scotland v Ireland 13:00 – Broadwood Stadium, Cumbernauld