Ireland are clearly the frontrunners heading into the Six Nations as they capped a successful 2018 by beating the All Blacks following their 2-1 tour win in Australia over the summer.
Guided by fly-half Johnny Sexton they have the firepower in the forwards with Tadhg Furlong leading the charge, then they have the lethal finishing ability of Jacob Stockdale out wide.
It will be no walk in the park though, Wales look like a different team to the boring, one dimensional Welsh team we have come to associate with two time Lions boss, Warren Gatland.
Gareth Anscombe has changed the game, his attacking ability makes the talented Wales backline tick.
Ireland and England both face the trip to Cardiff’s cauldron like arena and following an unbeaten autumn Wales will fancy their chances.
England look rejuvenated their excellent win over Australia and bullish victory over South Africa showed that Eddie Jones’ side still have that hard edge. They also ran the mighty New Zealand very close.
Not to mention they did all this without frontline stars like Mako Vunipola, Billy Vunipola, Anthony Watson, Jonathan Joseph, Nathan Hughes, Joe Launchbury and Dan Cole.
England do arguably face the toughest task in terms of fixtures with both the Ireland and Wales ties away from the fortress of Twickenham. They are also set to bear the burden of injury again with Bath trio Sam Underhill, Anthony Watson and Jonathan Joseph unlikely to play any part in the competition.
Scotland are still strong, France look to have some rhythm back and Italy seem to have found an identity but it’s unlikely that they’ll challenge the other three this year.
The likelihood of a Grand Slam is low as it will be difficult for Ireland to win in Cardiff, England won’t fancy their chances in Dublin and last time Wales beat England was in the 2015 World Cup.
The countdown to the World Cup is on and with September approaching, this Six Nations is crucial step towards Tokyo and the William Webb Ellis Trophy.