RBS Six Nations preview

After the raw emotions of the World Cup, the attention in the northern hemisphere turns to the fight for RBS Six Nations honours.

Europe’s top-tier sides endured – or enjoyed, depending on your allegiance – a plethora of emotions in New Zealand, with Scotland and Italy failing to make it out of the pool stages, England and Ireland toppled in the last-eight, Wales cruelly undone in the semi-finals and France defying the odds to push the All Blacks all the way in the final.

All six sides will now be on a mission to prove they have what it takes to lift the championship title – and it couldn’t be tighter.

England, France and Italy all have new coaches at the helm Рwith all the sides are set to give some young players the chance as they enter the first stages of development for the 2015 World Cup.

Italy might be the underdogs but they proved last year by beating France that you can’t afford to underestimate them, while Les Bleus and Wales will be scrapping it out for the top honour.

That said, defending champions England, the experienced Ireland squad and¬†Andy Robinson’sScotland should not be written off.

The one thing you can be certain of, that there will be five rounds of mouth-watering action as some of the world’s top players collide.

RBS Six Nations team-by-team guide

ENGLAND – Defending champions England will be hoping to let their rugby do the talking following their World Cup debacle.

FRANCE – World Cup finalists France will head into this season’s tournament as favourites following their exploits in New Zealand.

IRELAND – Ireland will be on a mission to put their World Cup heartbreak behind them when they return to RBS Six Nations action.

ITALY – 2012 could well be the year that Italy throw down a serious marker to the rest of Europe’s top-tier nations.

SCOTLAND – Scotland will have to start delivering results on a consistent basis to underline their improvement under Andy Robinson.

WALES – Wales will now be looking to kick on from their World Cup exploits when they launche their RBS Six Nations challenge.