Press Centre

The Six Nations 2019 Live on ITV

  • Episode: 

    1 of

  • Title: 

    Ireland v France
  • Transmission (TX): 

    Sun 10 Mar 2019
  • TX Confirmed: 

    Yes
  • Time: 

    2.15pm - 5.30pm
  • Week: 

    Week 11 2019 : Sat 09 Mar - Fri 15 Mar
  • Channel: 

    ITV
.
The Six Nations 2019 Live
 
Ireland v France
 
Jill Douglas is joined by Brian O'Driscoll, Jonny Wilkinson and Simon Zebo for live action from the Guinness 6 Nations as Ireland host France at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
 
Joe Schmidt's Ireland side go into the weekend in third place in the table, having closed the gap on England and Wales with a bonus point win in Italy in their last match, and will look for another win to stay in contention in the championship.
 
Commentary is from Miles Harrison and Gordon D'Arcy, with Dimitri Yashvili pitchside to offer his opinions to Gabriel Clarke. 
 
Kick-off 3pm
 
ITV 6 NATIONS SCHEDULE
 
Sat 2 Feb - Ireland v England, ko 1645, transmission from 1600-1900
Sat 9 Feb - Italy v Wales, ko 1645, transmission from 1600-1900
Sun 10 Feb - England v France, ko 1500, transmission from 1415-1730
Sun 24 Feb - Italy v Ireland, ko 1500, transmission from 1415-1730
Sat 9 Mar - England v Italy, ko 1645, transmission from 1600-1900
Sun 10 Mar - Ireland v France, ko 1500, transmission from 1415-1730
Sat 16 Mar - Italy v France, ko 1230, transmission from 1200-1445 PLUS England v Scotland, ko 1700, transmission from 1615-1930
 
This is an ITV Sport production for ITV
 
 
PRESS PACK PUNDIT Q&As
 
MAGGIE ALPHONSI
 
Who do you think will win the 6 Nations and why? 
 
Ireland will win the 6 Nations. Their first fixture is at home and they have a formidable home record. In the last 15 years of the 6 Nations England have only won once in Dublin. Ireland play their best rugby at home. They are also a team in form. They are current 6 Nations champions, they beat Australia in the summer series and had a tremendous autumn beating New Zealand and Argentina in the process. Their provincial teams are also performing well so players will be full of confidence. Just as long as Johnny Sexton stays fit they will be hard to stop. It's also Joe Schmidt's final 6 Nations and final season with Ireland before Andy Farrell becomes head coach, so the team will want to give him a send-off to remember.
 
Which players are you looking forward to watching?
 
Joe Cokanasiga - He had a good autumn, he's back fit and will be looking to kick on and stake his claim ahead of the World Cup. Jacob Stockdale - He is fearless in attack and proved that against NZ when he scored that sole try. He has scored seven tries in five games and is full of confidence. Sam Skinner - Was impressive in the autumn internationals including being named man of the match against Fiji. He has shown he is made for top flight rugby and with Scotland being hit hard with injuries I expect him to be a key man in that squad. Billy Vunipola - I'm looking forward to seeing him get back to his best. When he is on form so is England. Plus the guy just deserves some good luck after the run of injuries he has had. 
 
Who are the dark horses?
 
I guess you could say England. All of the talk is around Ireland and their form, but England showed in the autumn that they are not down and out. A fifth-place finish in last year’s 6 Nations and a series loss in South Africa was not the perfect end to the 2017-18 season, but the narrow loss to NZ has turned their fortunes around. This is a team that is peaking at the right time. On the injury front, England are also in good shape. It will all come down to that first match against Ireland. If they can win that, then I think they could win the 6 Nations.
 
Which matches are you particularly looking forward to, and why?
 
Ireland v England - Ireland are in good form and England are regaining form. Ireland have the weight of the nation on their shoulders and it is expected they will win, especially at home. England go into this game as the underdogs but on their day could take the win. Wales v Ireland - it will most likely be the 6 Nations decider. It’s second versus third in the World, so it is going to be a real contest. 
 
What bearing do you think the teams' performances in this tournament will have in the World Cup later this year, if any?
 
None. There is always a lot of hype around the 6 Nations before the RWC. A successful tournament may instil confidence in a team but it does not necessarily translate into World Cup success. There are about five months between the two tournaments and still a lot of rugby to be played and opportunities for injuries to occur. To win a World Cup you have to time when you peak. You peak to early and you might fail to replicate those performances. In 2011 and 2015 England had a good 6 Nations but failed to perform in a World Cup. It will be interesting to see if coaches use the tournament to test out combinations and build depth or just focus on consistency. 
 
Do you think England's revived showing in the autumn internationals bodes well for the 6 Nations?
 
Yes it does. The team showed character and resilience. To come close and not beat New Zealand could be seen to be a good thing. It showed that they were capable of a win, but the hunger to improve still remains alive. England should and will be full of confidence. Plus key players such as the Vunipola brothers are now back.
 
Can Ireland take their autumn form and translate it into their second Grand Slam in a row?
 
Yes they can. They are on a run and full of confidence. If Sexton can return from his injury and stay fit throughout the tournament then I don't see them losing.
 
How do you think Wales will perform in Warren Gatland's last 6 Nations?
 
Like Ireland with Joe Schmidt departing, I think Wales will leave nothing behind and will want to give Warren something to remember.
 
Do you think Scotland's strong club performances in the Champions Cup will translate into 6 Nations success? 
 
I hope so. Edinburgh and Glasgow through to the knockout stages of the European Rugby Champions Cup can only be good for Scotland. Players will be feeling good and full of confidence. Scotland have been hit hard by injuries - to have up to 19 players out will be tough and will test Gregor Townsend's squad depth.
 
SIR IAN McGEECHAN
 
Who do you think will win the 6 Nations and why?
 
Wales - big first up game v France, but the two home games v England and Ireland I think will decide the Championship. They have moved their game on, only downside are the injuries in the back row, especially Faletau.
 
Which players are you looking forward to watching?
 
James Ryan (Ireland), Finn Russell (Scotland), Manu Tuilagi (England), Liam Williams (Wales)
 
Who are the dark horses?
 
Scotland are the dark horses and could do damage to Wales and Ireland at Murrayfield.
 
Which matches are you particularly looking forward to, and why?
 
France v Wales - a Welsh win will immediately put them in the driving seat, France win, are they back for real with their obvious array of talent. Ireland v England - the current best team in the world at home versus Eddie Jones's strongest England. Wales v England - could be a defining moment for both teams. Scotland v Wales - a chance for Scotland to make real statement of intent. Could upset Welsh Championship challenge. Wales v Ireland - Championship decider. England v Scotland - just because of what it is, the Calcutta Cup.
 
What bearing do you think the teams' performances in this tournament will have in the World Cup later this year, if any?
 
The important Rugby World Cup indicator will be in who has the most consistency in performance, especially away from home. Which playing combinations establish themselves as being key to their team overall performance.
 
Do you think England's revived showing in the autumn internationals bodes well for the 6 Nations?
 
England showed more consistent tactical approach, especially against New Zealand and Australia, even though some players missing. With key players back for the 6 Nations, will this allow continued tactical improvements?
 
Can Ireland take their autumn form and translate it into their second Grand Slam in a row?
 
Ireland will undoubtedly be the team to beat. They have consistency, depth of talent and tactical clarity. Yes, they are capable of being champions again, Wales in Cardiff could define whether it is potential Grand Slam.
 
How do you think Wales will perform in Warren Gatland's last 6 Nations?
 
Wales have every chance of winning the Championship. Gatland has given then clarity and confidence, the two games in Cardiff could well define his last 6N.
 
Do you think Scotland's strong club performances in the Champions Cup will translate into 6 Nations success?
 
Scotland should benefit hugely from the week in, week out confidence shown by Edinburgh and Glasgow. Winning becomes a habit. However, International rugby is another game and challenge. The threat is 19 players injured in a smaller professional environment compared to other countries.
 
GORDON D’ARCY
 
Who do you think will win the 6 Nations and why?
 
I think it is a decider on the final day between Wales and Ireland. With both carrying form from the November internationals, and more strength in depth across their squads. The freshness of centrally contracted players for both could be a telling difference from the rest of the pack.
 
Which players are you looking forward to watching?
 
With an Irish bias - James Ryan, watching his upward momentum is thrilling at the moment. The young Toulouse trio Dupont, Ramos & Ntamack, can they continue to restore traditional French rugby DNA? Liam Williams and Stuart Hogg will be eye catching as well.
 
Who are the dark horses?
 
Has to be Scotland. They have an excellent coach, both teams winning and some young talent poking through. Will need other results to go their way, but you never know.
 
Which matches are you particularly looking forward to, and why?
 
Ireland v England - not sure I need to add anything here. Wales v France - traditionally always a frantic end to end match, great to watch. Last weekend will be glued to all matches - maybe not a grand slam this year for anyone.
 
What bearing do you think the teams' performances in this tournament will have in the World Cup later this year, if any?
 
Huge hindsight bias will come from this 6 Nations post Rugby World Cup. The teams that do well, will look back at the 6 nations and track their path from there, conversely so will the teams that do poorly in Japan. How the manage the success/failure post 6 nations will be more a deciding factor for me.
 
Do you think England's revived showing in the autumn internationals bodes well for the 6 Nations?
 
I'm not convinced, they won and nearly beat the All Blacks. The way they played looked more like individuals under pressure to perform rather than a team that pulled together to win close games (NZ/SA). It is a good place to build from and Eddie is the master of that.
 
Can Ireland take their autumn form and translate it into their second Grand Slam in a row?
 
The more success a team has, the larger a target they become, Ireland are a giant target at the moment. However Ireland have become very adept at looking after their own performances, I don't see them wavering from that formula during the 6 nations. They can't control everything, so a bounce of a ball may go against them or a decision - can they win yes, they might need a little luck along the way.
 
How do you think Wales will perform in Warren Gatland's last 6 Nations?
 
Wales always perform for Gatty, he has always been able to pull wales together regardless of what going on around them. Typically he will play it down, the players completely respect him and that will drive an extra couple of percent - hopefully making the last weekend one to remember (but for who?)
 
Do you think Scotland's strong club performances in the Champions Cup will translate into 6 Nations success?
 
Winning is a habit. Scotland have needed a couple of things, like a decent 10 and some belief from their performances. They have that now, the success from the clubs will only enhance all the good work that they have done.
 
SHANE WILLIAMS
 
Who do you think will win the 6 Nations and why?
 
Ireland. They have proven over the last 12 months that they are the most consistent northern hemisphere team. Beating the All Blacks twice in as many years will give them huge confidence. The Irish provinces’ success also shows how strong the country’s rugby is at the moment.
 
Which players are you looking forward to watching?
 
I am enjoying watching Jacob Stockdale. He has continued to play great rugby with Ulster and Ireland after winning 6 Nations player of the championship last year. I also hope Steffan Evans has an opportunity in the Welsh jersey after time out with injury and non-selection at the Scarlets.
 
Who are the dark horses?
 
Scotland would have to be the dark horses as they continue to improve under Townsend.
 
Which matches are you particularly looking forward to, and why?
 
Both of Wales’s home games versus Ireland and England are always exciting however Ireland v England could potentially be the decider and is always a nail biter.
 
What bearing do you think the teams' performances in this tournament will have in the World Cup later this year, if any?
 
Winning the 6 Nations doesn't always mean you'll be successful at the World Cup but it does give you huge momentum and probably more importantly confidence. I think there are three potential Rugby World Cup winners that will be involved in the 6 Nations.
 
Do you think England's revived showing in the autumn internationals bodes well for the 6 Nations?
 
Having a successful autumn series will help Eddie Jones and his team going into the 6 Nations after a tough year, however it’s going to be the most contested 6 Nations we've seen for some time with a number of teams able to win it.
 
Can Ireland take their autumn form and translate it into their second Grand Slam in a row?
 
Yes. Ireland have such depth in their squad and confidence is at a high as the international team and the provinces are dominating the Pro 14/European and the international stage. Wales in Cardiff are the only stumbling point as far as I can see but they do know how to beat Wales at the Principality Stadium.
 
How do you think Wales will perform in Warren Gatland's last 6 Nations?
 
Wales are in a good place at the moment after a successful autumn series and will want to give Warren a great 6 Nations send-off! However they do have a lot of injuries and will have some big selection decisions to make over the next few months. Having Ireland and England at home will definitely help as these will potentially be their toughest games.
 
Do you think Scotland's strong club performances in the Champions Cup will translate into 6 Nations success?
 
With Glasgow Warriors’ and Edinburgh's success in Europe, Gregor Townsend has to take advantage of that, as the provinces consist of the majority of the international squad. With three games at home they will be very confident going into the 6 Nations as they play their best rugby at Murrayfield. They play an exciting brand of rugby which I enjoy to watch.