Five Players who will miss 2018 NatWest Six Nations

It’s that time of the year again… no, it’s not the beginning of the 2018 NatWest Six Nations [just yet], but with only three weeks before the best Continental Championship (or the oldest) in the World starts, there are some issues to discuss.

Fans (even the Italian ones) can dream with the prospect of great matches to come, wins and trophies to achieve. With everything yet to be played for, the anticipation is incredibly high – Last Word on Rugby will devote full coverage to all rounds of the 2018 NatWest Six Nations.

Nonetheless, it’s also the time that fans shake their heads with injury-fears. Europe’s best players are always at risk of developing an injury. One that will brush them aside from the coveted championship, and could disable a sides probable chances.

Last Word on Rugby gives a brief injury-report of some of the biggest starts that will miss all Six Nations games without a doubt (even if a witchdoctor tried to help them!)

Five Players who will miss 2018 NatWest Six Nations. (But, will there be more?)

#1 Jamie Heaslip

The 34 year old flanker will miss (at least) the next couple of months, with his rugby career hanging on a thin thread. An operation to his back went OK, but the Irish charger won’t be able to help his team in this years championship.

CJ Stander has filled the role of number eight with superb performances. He was a leading figure in the sides ‘brightest day’ in Chicago – beating the All Blacks, 29-40.

Driving the third row with power and super physicality, essential for Joe Schmidt’s game plans. But, Heaslip’s absence ‘will hurt’ Ireland as the 100-cap international brings flair, skills and leadership to the game. He overpowers tacklers, with his strong runs from set, or broken play.

Jamie Heaslip has made a name for himself in the Six Nations, which he won three times with Ireland in the last ten years. A highlight being his superb try against France in 2009, as one of the best moments for the Leinster player.

Most Six Nations fans will agree, he is a key man–injury will diminish his play in 2018–but, is this goodbye for Jamie Heaslip? Most will hope not.

#2 Taulupe Faletau

Ross Moriarty is back and that’s very good news for welsh fans, because sadly Taulupe Toby) Faletau will not be able to play for Warren Gatland’s Wales, in 2018 NatWest Six Nations.

Why Faletau’s absence will be noted? The Tongan-born number Eight can burst out of (almost) any tackle. Couple that with brilliant handling skills that can ‘open’ any defense with ease. Remember Rhys Webb try against England back in 2015 in Cardiff? Who made that awesome pass to the scrumhalf? Yeah, that’s right. Toby did.

This is what a Pacific player brings to the European sides: that kind of energy, brutality and genius game play that lifts the game to another level. Faletau has a strong sense of the game, looking for the best area’s to wreak chaos on, and destroy the advantage line. His ball running almost always helping the backline to create the prospect of a try scoring play.

Without Sam Warburton [knee], Dan Lydiate [bicep] and primarily, Taulupe Faletau, Welsh aspirations to win the 2018 NatWest Six Nations seam grim….. but never play in the Dragons Den!

#3 Jonathan Davies

British and Irish Lions Player of the the Tour, Jonathan Davies won’t be able to help Wales title run this year. A fabulous center, the Scarlets player unfortunately sustained a foot injury against the Wallabies in the past Autumn Internationals causing some ruckus amongst Welsh fans.

Jonathan Davies of Wales evades Waisake Naholo and Seta Tamanivalu of the All Blacks, during the International Test match between New Zealand and Wales at Westpac Stadium. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

Jonathan Davies is one of the most complete football players in the World. Not only with his strong running skills, but also holds great ability with the boot. Giving a new dimension to the middle of the field for the Welsh team. Cunning and smart, understanding the game like few others, seeing and seizing the best opportunities to rush upon.

Davies Impresses Many with his Success Rate

But what about his hard-tackling approach? The number 13 doesn’t let anyone escape through him, recording an almost 90% efficiency in that department (OPTA data from the BIL Tour and 2017 Six Nations only). Recording 63 successful tackles in his last eight test-matches alone.

Strong and spirited Jonathan Davies is a force to be reckoned and in time, will leave his mark on the Northern Hemisphere scene [like Brian O’Driscoll did]. Unfortunately, it won’t happen in this years NatWest 2018 Six Nations competition.

And that could cause some migraines to Welsh fans.

#4 WP Nel

The Scottish dream to conquer (after almost 19 years) the Six Nations, can be hurt by some of their recent injuries. A very good example of that issue is WP Nel’s broken-arm, that will sideline the prop for the next 12 to 14 weeks. It leaves the Scotland’s first row on ‘Defcon 5’ alert.

The 31 year old Edinburgh prop has been definitely with of doubt, the best acquisition for the Scotland Union. He has brought cohesion, stability and smart moves on to the scrum, boosting his team to a new degree. Scotland’s forward pack is safer and stronger with the South African-born in the field, as his intensity, toughness and never-giving in spirit raises the Thistle side to it’s best.

Nel’s work rate is quite outstanding, as he shows a predisposition to either work around the ruck or help a quick offensive move. That is the instinct which can be found in International players like Mako Vunipola, Tadgh Furlong, Agustín Creevy or Joe Moody.

Without WP Nel and Zander Fargerson (the Glasgow Warriors prop will certainly miss the first games, after a freakish accident in the gym), Gregor Townsend will have to contemplate Plan B to sustain England’s ‘cruel’ and harsh front row, in the championship-opening game at Murrayfield.

#5 Elliot Daly

Before reading Elliot Daly’s entry, see his tremendous try (below) against Wales in one of the best games of last year’s Six Nations. Done? So, do we need to add anything more prove that Daly’s absence in Eddie Jones’ setup is damaging

For rugby fanatics Daly’s injury will certainly mean “no electricity or creativity on the England’s” wing, resting all upon Anthony Watson (in superb form the Northampton Saints player) and Solomona/Nowell/May shoulders.

Elliot Daly had a monstrous 2017, earning a place on England’s first XV as well on the British and Irish Lions, making him of the top players of last season. Gifted with the ball in hand, Daly’s very quick pace and top acceleration can brake enemy’s lines with such ease and beauty that deserves almost an Academy Award winning Oscar.

His magnificent try against Wales, was decisive to England’s double, scoring in the last minutes of play. Adding to his skills is his well-placed quick, that can find the middle of posts even if he takes the spot from the midfield.

The Wasps wing/fullback won’t be able to comeback soon enough; and Eddie Jones will have to find an ideal substitute (or close to it), for the electric Elliot Daly.


While we are still only in mid-January, more injuries could haunt all six nations. LWOR will keep a close eye to any big stars missing by the beginning of the competition.
Will Stuart Hogg comeback in time? And can Eddie Jones’ England team get through to the Six Nations without ‘winning’ any new injuries? Plenty of questions to be answered, before fans can enjoy their men running out onto the field.


“Main Photo Credit”

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