Brent Pope - Six Nations Preview
Friday, 5 February 2010
New Zealand born rugby player, coach and TV commentator Brent Pope played rugby with top New Zealand side Otago University before finally settling in Ireland in 1991 and lining out for three seasons with St Marys RFC. Later Brent coached Clontarf RFC for two seasons, leading them to promotion to Division One of the AIL. Brent has worked as a TV rugby pundit for nine years and can regularly be seen on RTE with George Hook & Tom McGurk. Brent is also a childrens author having published his fourth children's book, Arnold the Anteater last Christmas the proceeds of which went to Children's Hospice Homecare.
RBS 6 Nations Championship 2010 Fixture Schedule
Saturday 6 February:
14:30 - Ireland v Italy
17:00 - England v Wales
Sunday 7 February:
15:00 - Scotland v France
Saturday 13 February:
14:00 - Wales v Scotland
16:30 (17:30 local) - France v Ireland
Sunday 14 February:
14.30 (15:30 local) - Italy v England
Friday 26 February:
20:00 - Wales v France
Saturday 27 February:
13:30 (14:30 local) - Italy v Scotland
16:00 - England v Ireland
Saturday 13 March:
14:30 - Ireland v Wales
17:00 - Scotland v England
Sunday 14 March:
14:30 (15.30 local) - France v Italy
Saturday 20 March:
14:30 - Wales v Italy
17:00 - Ireland v Scotland
19:45 (20:45 local) - France v England
Last year was such a great year for Irish Rugby
Ireland won Grand Slam after 61 years of waiting. Leinster won the Heineken Cup, Munster won the Magner's League and the Irish national team went undefeated for the entire year, so it was a truly momentous year for Irish rugby.
Can we do the Grand Slam again this year?
It will be TEN times more difficult for Ireland this year due to the England and France matches being away from home. The schedule is tough but at least the fact that Italy come first means it gives Declan Kidney a chance to assess the form of the players and given the couple of injuries Ireland have suffered it has worked out quite well.
But it gets much more difficult after that and is a harder slate of matches than last year with both France and England away this time. Winning in Paris in particular will be very difficult. Ireland won there in 2000 for the first time in 28 years when Brian O'Driscoll scored his three tries, but they haven't managed to do it again since. Coming in the second week, that match will obviously dictate how the Championship really sets up as Italy and Scotland are bankers for Ireland.
Who should we watch out for on the Ireland team?
Who could give us a tough time on the Italian team?
Italy have only got one world class player, Sergio Parisse, who is currently injured. However, the entire scrum is extremely strong and will give the Irish forwards something to think about.