BY Ruaraidh Britton
The countdown is on, and the excitement is building. For northern hemisphere rugby fans, the greatest show on earth is creeping ever closer in what is set to be the closest Six Nations ever.
Defending Grand Slam champions Ireland look to do the double, England aim to restore their pride. Wales want to back up their third in the world ranking with a trophy, while Scotland hope to derail their ambitions and go for their first title in 20 years. France continue their rebirthing under Jacques Brunel, and Italy continue to build under Conor O’Shea. But nevertheless, the ones who make it count are the ones on the pitch putting in the big shift.
Here are my 10 players to watch during the 20th annual Six Nations tournament.
1 – Jordan Larmour
Rob Kearney is like a fine wine, and with every cap he earned in that green 15 jersey, he just got better and better. But all good things must come to an end, and Joe Schmidt has found what could just be the best replacement. Larmour has been in electric form in Leinster colours and has shown that attacking ability that we’ve desired in the likes of Stuart Hogg and Leigh Halfpenny in recent years. But the youngster has shown his worth in the autumn and certainly given Schmidt a headache when it comes to selecting his final third. With that said, a young back three of Jacob Stockdale, Larmour and Andrew Conway running the show, it’s scary to think how quickly this Irish side will be hitting their bonus point scores.
2 – Blair Kinghorn
Another name who’s been sending shockwaves around British rugby is that of Edinburgh’s versatile back Blair Kinghorn. Making his debut in a first Calcutta Cup win in a decade, Kinghorn became a vital artery to Scotland’s scoreline, with his ability to kick for goal and his attacking prowess working Gregor Townsend’s men wonders. It won’t be easy to win that starting jersey, with Hogg, Tommy Seymour and Sean Maitland staking their claims for a run out in the Six Nations, but with the form he’s been in under Richard Cockerill, it’s proving pretty hard to ignore him.