The 2018 NatWest 6Nations launch event began with the usual rousing highlights clips, that have the hairs standing on the back of one’s neck. Soon followed by the eagerly awaited 6Nations captains’ press conference, coaches session and both the women’s and Under 20 sides – the Championship is now a much larger proposition, as the anticipation levels rise towards next weekend.
In the fine surroundings, with Last Word on Rugby huddled in the media pack, each sides captain was introduced and ready to answer questions from the floor. That was the plan – unfortunately, the six brooding forwards’ patience was tested, when the fire alarm went off at the Syon Park Hotel.
— Steve Kendall (@LWOSSKendall) January 24, 2018
Once it was confirmed that we were not all about to evacuated, the question and answer session during the 6Nations Captains’ Press Conference continued. Each team’s leader gave their views on what lay ahead. The only change in the line-up from last years event, was Scotland’s John Barclay. Incidentally, who when asked about ‘what Gregor Townsend had brought to the setup?’ said:
“He’s brought a new methodology to training and our style of play compared to Vern (Cotter)…..although we had a good autumn, we go into the tournament with an element of caution but also confidence”.
— NatWest 6 Nations (@SixNationsRugby) January 24, 2018
2018 NatWest 6Nations Captains’ Press Conference
All six men were typically humble, stating a blend of confidence mixed with respect for each opponent; none more so than England captain Dylan Hartley (see main picture). He responded to the question about England’s focus on the 2019 World Cup, by saying:
“Our focus is on preparing for Italy – nothing more….we want to start the tournament with a big bang.”
His positive response belies the strain that all squads are under. No doubt the PR teams were busily planning strategy, but when face-to-face with the rugby media, all men were forthright and eager to ‘get onto the park’.
The same sentiment followed, with the women, coaches and the U20 representatives all singing a similar message; we can’t wait for the whistle to blow!
The first round matches begin on February 3, with Wales v Scotland proceeding the France v Ireland clash. England visit Italy, for the Sunday fixture.