We think the 2015 Six Nations could be a great one for Welsh fans as their in-form side will look to capitalise on the misfortune of others…
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1.Consistency In Selection
Whilst other sides have floundered in their selection policy over the last year or two, Wales coach Warren Gatland has remained relatively steadfast. It is now possibly to pretty much predict the Welsh starting XV barring injuries which brings a much needed element of consistency to the side.
It looks like while the likes of England and France will once again be fielding experimental combinations throughout their team, Wales will be able to select tried and tested units throughout the side. This consistent selection policy helps develop key partnerships throughout the team and allows Wales to exploit other sides with less experienced combinations.
2.Injuries To Competitors
Despite one or two minor injury concerns, the current Welsh side is in pretty good health meaning they go into this years Six Nations able to select their best players in key positions. This isn’t the case for the likes of England and Ireland however as both these sides are currently suffering with a spate of injuries.
Whilst the likes of England and Ireland have the depth to deal with their various injuries, it’s unlikely they will be at the very best given the missing talent. It also means a number of less experienced players coming into the fold which will provide a key advantage to an experienced Welsh side.
3.Home Advantage In Key Games
Although Wales will actually play away three times during this years Six Nations, their two home games are against their main competition for the title. Both Ireland and England will have to travel to the Millennium Stadium over the course of the tournament where they will face a hostile Welsh crowd looking to cheer their boys on to victory.
Whilst home advantage clearly isn’t a guarantee of success, it certainly isn’t going to harm Wales’ chances during the Six Nations. Given that two of their away games are against Italy and Scotland you’d have to say they have a decent chance of winning both given their recent records against the sides, however a trip to Paris could pose some problems.
4.Competition For Places
For the first time in a while there seems to be genuine competition for places throughout the Wales side which is never a bad thing. Over the last 12 months Gatland has done a good job of bringing through a number of talented youngsters who will ensure that the current incumbents are working hard to keep holding of their starting place.
Gatland has already come out and warned the likes of George North and Richard Hibbard that there starting spots are by no means guaranteed. Wales have already seen the likes of Rhys Webb and Samson Lee break into the first team ahead of more established players and we could be about to see several more during the Six Nations.
In previous years a number of Wales’ key players have come into the tournament under a bit of criticism as they’d failed to deliver for club and country in the build-up. Whilst this is still the case for one or two, it seems like the majority of Wales’ more established players are coming into this years Six Nations in fine form.
The Welsh midfield will be a particular positive for Gatland as both Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Davies head into the tournament in top form. They have just helped their respective French sides to massive victories over key English sides and will be keen to carry their good form over onto the international stage.
Wales came in for some major criticism not so long ago for failing to product when it really counted, not least against the major Southern Hemisphere sides. That all began to change during the Autumn Internationals however after they scored a crucial victory over South Africa and started to show some glimpses of their potential.
Heading into this years Six Nations Wales will be buoyed by that victory and will be aiming to carry on improving. This kind of momentum and confidence could be hard to stop, especially if they score a crucial victory over England in their Six Nations opener and could be enough to carry them to the title.
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Do you think Wales can win the 2015 Six Nations?