The much-anticipated RBS Six Nations kicks off this weekend and it is set up very nicely this year.
There are always injured players heading into any major tournament, but every team seems to have suffered knocks this time around, which will hopefully make for a more level playing field.
I don’t think you can look past England when you’re looking at the strongest side and a favourite.
Here I’ll take a look at the sides and pick out a key man for each one.
Look very strong and have to be favourites. Stuart Lancaster has tough choices to make at scrum-half, centre and on the wing.
It’ll depend on the whether they can handle the pressure.
Key Man: Tom Wood
They have pretty bad injury problems and their skipper Sam Warburton is struggling.
In George North they have the most influencial player in the northern hemisphere.
Key Man: Leigh Halfpenny
I would think their expectations will be modest as usual.
They will look to beat the Italians and also play England at home in the Calcutta Cup.
Key Man: Greig Laidlaw
The Irish have an ageing squad and they could struggle this year.
Key Man: Jonny Sexton
Can’t perform any worse than last year after they won the wooden spoon.
They’ve also lost the influential Thierry Dusautoir.
Key Man: Wesley Fofana
Another team with injuries and they’ll struggle to manage without their key players as they don’t have a massive pool of players to call upon.
Key Man: Sergio Parisse
Scarborough RUFC have a big cup quarter-final clash against Guisborough at Silver Royd on Saturday.
Their league season is all but over now after a poor run of form of late.
They had a great start but have fallen off the pace a little, and they’ll be keen to keep their hopes of some silverware alive by winning this weekend.
Best of luck to Lee Douglas and his team.
He’s had his bad press over the years, but Steven Gerrard needs a mention and a pat on the back for his donation to the Hillsborough Family Support Group.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK:
Has to go to Stanislas Wawrinka after his maiden Grand Slam success at the Australian Open against Rafael Nadal.
Despite Nadal’s injuries, winning a first major tournament is a massive achievement.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
“The players have to perform. If they want to be here and making sure they have a jersey, they have to show it in the games.”
Manchester United manager David Moyes.