Six Nations team guide: Wales

Shane Williams' pundit view, captain Sam Warburton's comments, video highlights and Six Nations predictions

Game guide

Fri 6 February Wales v England 7.30pm BBC1 (kick-off 8.05pm)

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Sun 15 February Scotland v Wales 2.30pm BBC1 (kick-off 3pm)

Sat 28 February France v Wales 4.30pm BBC1 (kick-off 5pm)

Sat 14 March Wales v Ireland 2pm BBC1 (kick-off 2.30pm)

Sat 21 March Italy v Wales 12.15pm BBC1 (kick-off 12.30pm)

Sing along

Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau The clichés are true: no one sings quite as passionately or as tunefully as the Welsh. We could have picked any number of tunes, from hymns like Bread Of Heaven to Tom Jones belter Delilah. But in the end we chose Land of My Fathers, a national anthem that even has bitter English rival Jeremy Guscott welling up. “We all hum it, even though we don’t know the words,” he told us. Have a stab at the Welsh lyrics here, or just make up your own random noises. 

In a sentence

Gatland’s giants aren’t quite the same force as the Grand Slam winners of 2012, but at home in Cardiff, they are still England’s worst nightmare. George North rampaging on the wing, Jamie Roberts bashing through the centre… would you stand in their way?

Pundit’s view: Shane Williams

What will the atmosphere be like when England come to Cardiff?

There’s more of a special feel that comes with playing England. There’s so much history between the two countries playing rugby, although I think the fans enjoy it more than the players sometimes.

Cardiff was absolutely bouncing whenever I played, and we saw the same two years ago. I hope it’s the same this year.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JT7lcZf6dBQ?controls=0

There were always words in the dressing room – nothing I can broadcast unfortunately! As Welsh players growing up we always knew what it meant to win those games. We never needed much more than that.

Predictions for Wales in general?

Defensively Wales were superb against South Africa. I do feel though that Wales have gone slightly one one-dimensional in attack. They use centre Jamie Roberts a little too negatively for me, sending him up and then hoping they can create something from that. And it isn’t going to work against the best in the world.

Ireland and England are the frontrunners for this championship, so it helps Wales massively to have both of them at home. Ireland easily were the best home nation in the Autumn, and their coach Joe Schmidt is the best tactician out there. I don’t think any of the Welsh players would have liked to go to Dublin to play and Irish side on form.

Key players?

Wales have to start using the wingers George North and Alex Cuthbert more effectively in the wide channels. Wales didn’t do that in the Autumn, they didn’t create much.

Full back Leigh Halfpenny has been arguably the best player for Wales for a long time, and he can be very dangerous in attack. But Wales don’t use him enough either. He’s a creative talent but he seems to do more work with his kicking game. I’d like to see Leigh Halfpenny get a little bit more of a free role. 

Captain Sam Warburton says…

“The Welsh public absolutely love the Wales v England game. For them I imagine this is the best fixture to open up the Championship with. It can either give us great momentum if we win, or it can be a poor start, having three away games and having to chase the competition.

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“Every year is always very different in the Six Nations. A lot happens in six months, and one team’s form can change from one year to another. In 2012 we won the Six Nations and then lost eight games in a row before winning the Six Nations again.”