Six Nations 2023 Preview and Predictions

The 2023 Six Nations tournament kicks off this week with a curious spectator lurking in the background. Netflix UK announced that it will be giving rugby the Drive to Survive treatment with a docuseries on the annual tournament.

On the face of it, last years stand out teams in Ireland and France look like they are in poll position to slog it out for either the Championship or the all coveted Grand Slam. That being said, there could be one or two plot twists along the way with a new coaching ticket in the England camp and the return of Warren Gatland as the Wales coach and some interesting acquisitions by Scotland who will be looking to prove themselves.


December saw controversial coach Eddie Jones sacked from his post as England head coach (and subsequently being snapped up by Australia) plunging England into a tumultuous position less than a year out from the World Cup. This sacking has however opened the door for Steve Borthwick who both knows the England set-up having amassed 57 caps and served as the forwards coach from 2015-2020 and has also proved himself in his own right having led the Leicester Tigers to their eleventh Premiership title in just his second season.

The key man for England will be Marcus Smith who has the ability to unlock defences with his running game but has also an incredible passing range. This combination and the high line at which he takes on the ball means if defences commit too much, gaps can and will appear. Another interesting sub plot will be the Smith Farrell axis and how this will operate against some of the stronger defences.

Prediction: 3rd


With the World Cup on home soil kicking off in September of this year, France will be hoping for a successful Six Nations to build momentum. Along with Ireland, they have been the form team in Europe over the 18 months to 2 years. During this period, their general at number 9 Antoine Dupont has been the man making their backline tick and setting the pace for attack.

The key for France will be the Dupont Ntamack combination. If this relationship can continue to grow as it has been, there are not many better scrumhalf outhalf synergies in world rugby and most defences will struggle.

The additional option of Ramos as a long range kicker will mean defending teams will have to be incredibly disciplined as he has proven he can land kicks from anywhere.

French lineup in opening game against Italy

Prediction: Winners of the Championship


Ireland have been the form side in the world arguably for the past 2 years or so and along with France are the favourites for the tournament. Ireland under head coach Farrell have flourished since his appointment with what looks to be a harmonious camp and an enjoyable brand of rugby which all the players in the camp really seem to buy into.

All eyes will be on Ireland’s talisman Johnny Sexton who at 37 years young is probably playing his last Six Nations. It’s undoubted the effect and impact Sexton has had and continues to have on this squad of players. When he’s on form, the team functions in a way in which no other player in this tournament can do. That’s also Ireland’s achilles heal. Ireland have tried for numerous years but to no real avail promote a successor and challenger to the number ten jersey and seem as undecided as ever on who that should be. The option now appears to be the man who was hiding in plain sight all along in the form of Ross Byrne. Ireland will be hoping if anything does happen to Sexton that Byrne can carry his fine Leinster form over to a green jersey.

Prediction: 2nd


On the surface it looks like it is going to be another tough year for Italy in the Six Nations, however there have been some glimmers of hope that they could be turning a corner. Italy will have gained huge confidence from their November Series win over Australia and the feeling about Italy is that they have taken serious strides in their preparation and strategic side to the game in recent months.

The Italians have also seen the fruits of their labour emerge from the youth set up. Exciting prospects such as outhalf Paulo Garbisi and fullback Ange Capuozzo who both ply their trade in the French Top 14 league have proven they can mix it amongst the big boys of European rugby with Capuozzo setting up a wonder try against Wales in last years competition.

Capuozzo setting up Padovani

Prediction: 6th


Scotland have been as busy as a club side in the recruitment process since the 2022 Six Nations. Ben Healy of Munster being one of the most exciting prospects the Scots have to look forward to seeing line out. Second row Cameron Henderson of the Leicester Tigers and winger Ruaridh McConnochie will be looking to make their first appearances for the Scots.

Finn Russell can obviously light up any stadium at any given moment but it is the consistency at which he can do this in a Scottish jersey that is the question. And if he is not firing on all cylinders will an opportunity be given to the new recruit Ben Healy to see if he can make a difference at this level.

Elsewhere Jamie Richie who has recently been made captain at the relatively young age of 26 could have a massive tournament.

Scotland in London for their opening game

Prediction: 4th


Wales are a team low on confidence winning just 3 out of 12 games in 2022 and with losses last year to both Georgia and Italy which they have expected to win pretty comfortably. As such, they have seemingly reverted back to the tried and tested with the returning of head coach Warren Gatland. Gatland is placing his faith in many of the players who in the past have brought him much success, the open question is, have teams figured out how to play against Gatland’s Wales enough to mitigate their threat or do they have something else up their sleeve.

Wales face Ireland at home for their opening game of the tournament and if they could pull off a win here, it would certainly give Gatland the feel good factor he needs to build momentum.

George North at second center will be an interesting watch given his massive physicality going forward. Whilst Justin Tipuric in the forwards has played consistently well for the past number of years and is always will to rise to the occasion.

Prediction: 5th

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