Six Nations 2020: Tournament preview, fixtures and odds

On the eve of the 2020 Six Nations Matthew Crist assesses the chances of England and Wales following heartbreak in Japan as well as looking at how Ireland, France Scotland and Italy will fare.

Matthew Crist

The 2020 Six Nations kicks-off on Saturday as reigning Grand Slam champions Wales host Italy at the Principality Stadium to begin over two months of high-octane Rugby Union action.

With impressive performances from Wales and England in last year’s World Cup in Japan, it will be interesting to see how these two sides respond, with England 1.80* pre-tournament favourites, while Ireland will be looking to bounce back from a relatively disappointing showing under new coach Andy Farrell.

As has been the way for as long as anyone can remember, it will no doubt be a battle between Italy and Scotland to avoid finishing bottom, but with the two meeting in Rome next month, the Azzuri might just have their eye on a first Six Nations win for five years with Scotland 9.00* to claim the wooden spoon.


Coach: Eddie Jones

Captain: Owen Farrell

Key Man: Owen Farrell

Grand Slam Odds: 2.40*

England come into the tournaments at hot favourites though it’s worth noting that the last two times they have reached the World Cup final they have failed to deliver in the Six Nations.

On paper, they certainly look the team to beat and have the added bonus of hosting both Wales and Ireland, arguably their biggest title rivals at Twickenham this time around.

As always, the impact of Skipper Owen Farrell will be key to Eddie Jones’ side’s performance while there may be concerns over how the Saracens spine of the side reacts to the fall-out from the recent salary cap scandal.


Coach: Fabien Galthie

Captain: Charles Ollivon

Key Man: Antoine Dupont

Grand Slam Odds: 15.00*

Once again France failed to deliver when looking to be in a commanding position against Wales in the World Cup and how they respond to that disappointment in the Six Nations will be fascinating.

Since that defeat in Japan France – who so often blow hot and cold in this competition – have drafted-in Shaun Edwards as their defensive coach who won the Grand Slam at the first time of asking with Wales.

There is no argument that Franc have all the tools to make a fist of this but their tournament very much depends on two factors: how they get on in their opening game against England and the attitude of a squad that so often fails to deliver when it matters most.


Coach: Andy Farrell

Captain: Johnny Sexton

Key Man: Jordan Larmour

Grand Slam Odds: 9.00*

This time last year, much of the talk was whether an impressive Ireland could complete another Grand Slam and go on and win the World Cup, but 12-months on a lot of that swagger appears to have disappeared heading into the Six Nations championship.

Much of that confidence came from Head Coach Joe Schmidt, who has since departed, though his replacement, Andy Farrell, will certainly bring a fresh approach to a side who have drifted badly over the past year.

As well as Farrell, Ireland have also employed the services of former World Cup finalist Mike Catt as attack coach and how these two former England internationals gel will be one of the talking points of the competition with the Irish 7.00* to win the Tripple Crown.


Coach: Wayne Pivac

Captain: Alun Wyn Jones

Key Man: Dan Biggar

Grand Slam Odds: 13.00*

New coach Wayne Pivac has the unenviable task of stepping into the shoes vacated by his predecessor Warren Gatland, who led Wales to a World Cup semi-final in Japan last year.

But the new boss will be keen to stamp his own authority on a squad who came oh-so-close to a World Cup final meeting with England less than six months ago and clearly has plenty of talent to work with.

The difficulty for Wales is that they face daunting away games in London and Dublin which make it difficult to see them retaining their crown, though two Grand Slams in their last six Six Nations following a World Cup is a pretty impressive statistic and can’t be ignored and are 13.00* to win the tournament prior to kick-off.


Coach: Gregor Townsend

Captain: Stuart Hogg

Key Man: Finn Russell

Grand Slam Odds: 67.00*

If Scotland were at full-strength there might be a case to be made for them pushing for a top-3 finish but their chances have been severely hampered due to the fact that Fin Russell will miss their opening game against Ireland due to a disciplinary matter.

For that reason, it’s difficult to see anything other than another wooden spoon battle with Italy as the two least fancied sides look to avoid propping up the Six Nations table come March.

A win and an epic draw with England has no doubt provided Townsend’s men with a little confidence coming into the tournament but it’s often a case of too little, too late, and it’s difficult to see Scotland sustaining a serious challenge for the seven-week duration of the tournament.


Coach: Franco Smith

Captain: Luca Bigi

Key Man: Jake Polledri

Grand Slam Odds: 1001.00*

Still looking for their first Six Nations win in five years it’s hard to see anything other than a last place finish for Italy once again in this year’s tournament.

However, the fact that they have appointed former Springbok Franco Smith in an attempt to reverse their fortunes suggests they are not happy to just be perennial wooden spoon candidates and are looking to the future.

Smith certainly knows his way around the Italian rugby circuit and although it’s impossible to make a case for anything other than another foot-of-the-table finish, they might just have their sights set on Scotland on February 22nd when it comes to ending their miserable run.

Six Nations fixtures


Wales v Italy
Saturday, February 1, 2.15pm 

Ireland v Scotland
Saturday, February 1st, 4.45pm

France v England
Sunday, February 2nd, 3pm


Ireland v Wales
Saturday, February 8th, 2.15pm

Scotland v England
Saturday, February 8th, 4.45pm

France v Italy
Sunday, February 9th, 3pm


Italy v Scotland
Saturday, February 22nd, 2.15pm

Wales v France
Saturday, February 22nd, 4.45pm

England v Ireland
Sunday, February 23nd 3pm


Ireland v Italy
Saturday, March 7th, 2.15pm 

England v Wales
Saturday, March 7th, 4.45pm 

Scotland v France
Sunday, March 8th, 3pm


Wales v Scotland
Saturday, March 14th, 2.15pm 

Italy v England
Saturday, March 14th, 4.45pm

France v Ireland
Saturday, March 14th, 8pm


*Odds subject to change

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