Six Nations 2022: ‘Change your life’ – Eddie Jones issues challenge before tournament


Dan Biggar, Finn Russell, Marcus Smith and Johnny Sexton
Dan Biggar, Finn Russell, Marcus Smith and Johnny Sexton – all British and Irish Lions – might be key males for his or her groups over the subsequent seven weeks
Dates: 5 February to 19 March
Coverage: Selected matches dwell on BBC TV, commentaries on BBC Radio 5 Live & Sports Extra, podcasts on BBC Sounds, dwell textual content and highlights on BBC Sport web site and app.

Coach Eddie Jones has challenged England to “change their lives” by snatching again the initiative from Scotland in rugby’s oldest Test match.

Scotland received at Twickenham for the primary time in 38 years in 2021 and have misplaced considered one of their previous 4 conferences.

England should buck a run of accidents in addition to current kind of their Six Nations opener on Saturday.

Captain Owen Farrell, key centre Manu Tuilagi and in-kind ahead Courtney Lawes are out injured.

By distinction, Scotland coach Gregor Townsend is nearly fully freed from harm considerations, with British and Irish vacationers Stuart Hogg, Finn Russell, Chris Harris, Duhan van der Merwe, Ali Price, Rory Sutherland and Hamish Watson all beginning.

“You have gotten an opportunity to play in an England facet that’s younger, however superb and play rugby that individuals will keep in mind for the remainder of their lives and be etched in historical past,” Jones advised BBC Radio 5 Live.

“They can change their lives, these younger gamers on Saturday. This is how they will make a reputation for themselves.”

England completed fifth in final yr’s Six Nations, shedding to Scotland, Wales and Ireland and conceding extra factors than in any of the earlier 21 editions of the tournament.

However they loved a greater autumn marketing campaign, the place a revamped staff beat Tonga, Australia and world champions South Africa.

Scotland completed solely a spot increased than England within the 2020 desk, however loved a way more constructive marketing campaign, with a landmark win away to France so as to add to their Twickenham success. It might simply have been even higher with slim losses at residence to Wales and Ireland, by one and three factors respectively, separating them from a primary Grand Slam in additional than 30 years.

Elsewhere on the opening weekend, defending champions Wales face resurgent Ireland, contemporary from overturning New Zealand in November, whereas tournament favourites France tackle Italy.

Auld rivals squabble over standing

The bookmakers predict a slim England victory. But Jones insists Scotland ought to be “pink-scorching favourites” given the 2 sides’ contrasting kind and harm issues.

“All the exterior stress is on Scotland,” he stated

“We at all times have stress to win, everybody expects England to win each recreation so we’re at all times dealing with that, however for Scotland this can be a new stress.”

Townsend says such discuss is the form of pre-match grandstanding he expects from the opposition.

“Every coach does this little track and dance going right into a recreation making an attempt to persuade the media they’re underdogs and telling the gamers their backs are in opposition to the wall, ‘we will this hostile place’,” he stated.

“The bookies decide the favourites and I do know we’re not the favourites with them.

Scotland v England is the BBC's live game on the opening weekend of the 2022 Six Nations
Scotland v England is the BBC’s dwell recreation on the opening weekend of the 2022 Six Nations

“It’s not likely one thing we speak about or fear about. The purpose we’re being spoken about like that’s as a result of our gamers have pushed the requirements in coaching and have gone by experiences – not at all times nice – which have made them higher and introduced them nearer collectively as a gaggle.”

England’s dismal displaying in final yr’s competitors prompted adjustments of their squad and elegance, with an inflow of recent faces and a dedication to a extra adventurous, operating recreation.

Their beginning XV accommodates seven gamers with 10 caps or fewer, with quantity eight Sam Simmonds and second row Nick Isiekwe coming in from the chilly to make the primary worldwide begins since 2018.

However, a forecast for top winds and heavy rain means each side would possibly resort to a extra conservative gameplan.

England triumphed 13-6 in Edinburgh two years ago when Storm Ciara blow by Murrayfield and decreased each groups to security-first methods.

However, Townsend believes his gamers have the knowhow now to adapt and thrive in such circumstances.

“Numerous our gamers skilled that two years in the past, and we referred to it a good bit 12 months in the past by way of how we are able to take a special gameplan into moist circumstances – prefer it was down at Twickenham final yr,” he stated.

“I felt the staff received their execution and resolution-making spot on.”

Wales wrestle with harm record

Taine Basham
Basham made his Test debut in opposition to Canada final July

Wales got here into final yr’s competitors after seven defeats within the earlier 9 Tests and going through severe questions over the suitability of Wayne Pivac as successor to lengthy-time period head coach Warren Gatland.

But the facet got here collectively round Pivac’s techniques to grind out a path to the title, coming inside an harm-time French strive of a Grand Slam that few noticed coming.

They should defy expectations as soon as once more, nevertheless, given a star-studded harm record that includes the likes of Alun Wyn Jones, George North, Ken Owens, Justin Tipuric, Taulupe Faletau and Josh Navidi.

“We’ve every little thing to achieve and nothing to lose,” stated Pivac

“That’s the perspective, going on the market and expressing ourselves.

“We labored onerous to get that title final yr, and we would prefer to be ready to strive to do this once more.”

But there are causes for hope. Wing Louis Rees-Zammit, 21, was the breakout star of final season’s tournament with 4 tries and promises he is getting even quicker.

And the conveyor belt of again-row expertise has thrown out one other gem in Taine Basham, who begins in opposition to Ireland alongside Ellis Jenkins, who made his Test comeback within the autumn, three years on from a severe knee harm.

Ireland is a formidable first fixture for Wales, nevertheless, with Andy Farrell’s facet on a run of eight straight wins and their seven earlier visits to Dublin yielding just one win.

“Putting ourselves below stress within the autumn in opposition to nice sides is one step and the subsequent step is a contest with a trophy on the finish of it that we wish to do rather well in,” stated Farrell.

France, who’re searching their first Six Nations title since 2010, tackle perennial backside facet Italy on Sunday within the closing fixture of the opening weekend.

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