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Six Nations round-up

Date
Lee Byrne's stellar form for Clermont has the fullback in line for a recall to the Wales side.

Lee Byrne's stellar form for Clermont has the fullback in line for a recall to the Wales side. Photo: Getty Images

French trip puts Byrne back on road to Wales
by Brendan Gallagher

Lee Byrne, one of the players of the tournament in the 2008 Six Nations and a Lion in 2009, seems poised to regain his place in Wales's starting XV at full-back after a move to Clermont breathed life back into his career.

Byrne, who fell out of favour during the World Cup, has been a mainstay this season in a star-studded Clermont team who are second in the T14 and have qualified for the knockout stages of the Heineken Cup. While his Wales colleagues Mike Phillips and James Hook have been on the back foot with struggling Bayonne and Perpignan respectively, Byrne has rediscovered his 'A game'.

South African-born Tobias Botes will make his international debut for Italy.

South African-born Tobias Botes will make his international debut for Italy. Photo: Getty Images

Wales backs coach Rob Howley went out of his way yesterday to highlight how sharp Byrne looked during a two-day spell at the Wales camp in Gdansk last week.

To accommodate the return of Byrne, Warren Gatland would have to move Leigh Halfpenny back on to the wing but that might be a timely switch anyway given Wales's continuing injury problems in midfield.

With the medical reports on Rhys Priestland and Jamie Roberts, who have both been suffering from knee injuries, not overly optimistic - they have been given 48 hours to prove their fitness along with blindside flanker Dan Lydiate - Wales could well have to shuffle their cards in midfield.
The Telegraph, London

Botes receives Italy call up
ROME:
South African Tobias Botes has been called up to the Italy squad for this weekend's Six Nations opener against France in Paris following an injury to Luciano Orquera.

With Argentina-born Aironi fly-half Orquera ruled out with a hamstring problem, scrum-half Botes has been given his opportunity.

Botes is the first choice number nine at Treviso, ahead of Italy pair Fabio Semenzato and Eduardo Gori, but he has the versatility to also play at fly-half and even on the wing.

Having spent four years playing in Italy he is now eligible for the national team.
AFP

England preparing to thrive on the fear factor
by Mick Cleary

As England's match-day 22 for the Calcutta Cup encounter against Scotland on Saturday took shape last night (Tuesday) with eight players returning to their clubs, forwards coach Graham Rowntree revealed that England would travel to Murrayfield with some trepidation about stepping into the unknown.

"We will go up there with a fear," said Rowntree, the only survivor on the coaching panel from the Martin Johnson regime. "We haven't really tried out this outfit. We're new and that puts pressure on us in terms of time we have available. We are underdogs. No one expects us to do well. We will have something to say about that. Going up there, especially at this point in time, given where we have been, the unspeakable past, they will be licking their lips. We will be expecting that. Scotland always save up a passion for us."

England broke camp last night and will name their side tomorrow. Those released from the 32-man squad suggest that England will take the field with three new caps - Saracens centres Owen Farrell and Brad Barritt, as well as Northampton's Phil Dowson at No?8, although uncapped Scarlets player Ben Morgan is also pushing for that position.

In the back line, Saracens wing David Strettle appears to have held off Gloucester's Charlie Sharples.

Two other players, captain Chris Robshaw and lock Mouritz Botha, have only one cap apiece. Northampton's Lee Dickson has won the nod ahead of Wasps scrum-half Joe Simpson, who was at the World Cup, to be back-up to Ben Youngs.

The players returning to their clubs are Dave Attwood, Matt Banahan, Calum Clark, Alex Goode, Lee Mears, Simpson, Thomas Waldrom and David Wilson.
The Telegraph, London

Ten from France Cup team to face Italy
PARIS:
Clermont duo Vincent Debaty and Wesley Fofana have been called up by new France coach Philippe Saint Andre for the World Cup finalists' Six Nations opener against Italy in Stade de France on Saturday.

Saint-Andre, the 44-year-old who succeeded Marc Lievremont, has called up ten of the team that were runners-up to New Zealand in the World Cup final on October 23.

"We have enormous respect for the Italians, their team and Jacques Brunel (coach) whose competences we are aware of," said Saint-Andre.

"The aim is to get a good start in the Six Nations. We're going to focus and do all we can to win this first match on front of our public in Stade de France."

France: Maxime Medard, Vincent Clerc, Aurelien Rougerie, Wesley Fofana, Julien Malzieu, Francois Trinh-Duc, Dimitri Yachvili; Louis Picamoles, Julien Bonnaire, Thierry Dusautoir (capt), Lionel Nallet, Pascal Pape, Nicolas Mas, William Servat, Vincent Debaty. Res: Dimitri Szarzewski, Jean-Baptiste Poux, Yoan Maestri, Imanol Harinordoquy, Morgan Parra, Lionel Beauxis, Maxime Mermoz.
AFP

Jones to make debut as Robinson rings the changes
by Alasdair Reid

If Scotland coach Andy Robinson wanted to tap into his players' thirst for revenge in this weekend's Calcutta Cup match he would probably have chosen a few more who had reasons to harbour resentment.

As it is, only seven of his side to face England on Saturday were in his starting line-up when the Scots lost 16-12 to the same opponents at last year's Rugby World Cup - a result that meant they took their leave of the tournament before the knockout stages got under way.

Of the eight changes made by Robinson, one has been forced on him by the retirement from Test rugby of Scotland's record cap holder, Chris Paterson. Another two, Joe Ansbro and Ruaridh Jackson, have been left out because of injuries. The remaining five changes are simple issues of form.

Simon Danielli, who was on the left wing in the World Cup match, has been left out as he has not had sufficient game time with Ulster. In his place, Robinson has chosen the fast-improving Edinburgh player Lee Jones for a debut cap.

Jones delayed his entry into professional rugby while he completed a degree in mechanical engineering, but he has been picking up pace and admirers with every game he plays.

Jones's Edinburgh colleague Dave Denton, who replaces Richie Vernon at No.8, may consider this game to be his first 'real' Test as well. Denton was capped as a replacement against Ireland in the World Cup warm-up match last August, but that was clearly an experimental selection. The Zimbabwe-born forward missed selection for the World Cup, but his performances this season have been outstanding.

In the other backline changes Dan Parks and Chris Cusiter return to the half-back berths, with Nick De Luca restored at outside centre. In the forwards, Jim Hamilton, and Ross Rennie take over from Alastair Kellock and John Barclay respectively.
The Telegraph, London

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 0vs FJI 0 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

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