Six Nations: Ones to watch ahead of the Championship
The Six Nations squads have no shortage of grizzled stalwarts, but this year’s Championship also sees youngsters from across the big domestic leagues given the chance to shine over the coming weeks. Here, City A.M. picks one player to watch from each of the countries.
Italy – Ange Capuozzo
Current world breakthrough player of the year Ange Capuozzo returns to action for the Azzurri with a lot of expectation on his shoulders.
The French-born player scored a brace on his debut against Scotland in last year’s Six Nations and was pivotal in his side’s victory over Wales.
The zippy 23-year-old back-three player plies his trade at French giants Toulouse, having joined them from Grenoble last summer.
Capuozzo is a fan favourite and one of those the game will undoubtedly look to market going forward. He’s well worth a watch.
France – Ethan Dumortier
Uncapped Ethan Dumortier is 6ft 3ins, 93kg, 22 years old, full of promise – and straight off the French wing-centre crossover player conveyor belt.
Playing in Lyon, Dumortier has earned spots in the French youth set up and has also played for his nation in the sevens format.
He is youthful and daring, something that the French set up has been lauded for lately, and will do doubt be one to watch should he get game time off the bench.
England – Ollie Hassell-Collins
England are currently seeing an overhaul of their wing options; out are going the likes of Jonny May and Jack Nowell and in are coming Ollie Hassell-Collins and Cadan Murley.
Hassell-Collins has been a revelation at London Irish over the last couple of years, not only scoring at a healthy rate but taking part in game-changing moments such as one-on-one tackles and closing off breaks.
He was first called up by ex-England coach Eddie Jones in 2021 but is yet to receive his first cap. New boss Steve Borthwick has waxed lyrical about the 24-year-old, however, and it would be no surprise to see him named in England’s 23 when the squad is released later today.
Scotland – Ben Healy
We have seen a number of players switch allegiances in the past – this year’s Scotland squad includes a winger who has previously played for England – but in Irish-born Ben Healy Scotland have got an uncapped player who has so much promise.
Having confirmed a move from Munster to Edinburgh for this summer, Healy was swiftly drafted into the national squad by head coach Gregor Townsend.
The 23-year-old from Tipperary was tempted by a deal to move to Scotland back in 2020 but refrained, and is now heading across the Irish Sea as a more mature fly-half.
And given the injuries at No10 in Scotland, there’s a high chance of seeing Healy in action across the next couple of weeks.
Wales – Dafydd Jenkins
One-cap forward Dafydd Jenkins broke through at Exeter Chiefs and continues the West Country side’s tradition of blooding good quality forwards.
He became the youngest Premiership captain in November last year at the age of 19 and led his side out against Gloucester last weekend.
The 20-year-old is a bruising ball-carrier from Bridgend and made his international debut in Wales’s loss against Georgia in the autumn.
He has been backed by former Wales captain Sam Warburton, alongside fellow back row Christ Tshiunza, to make a big impact for Wales for a number of years to come.
Ireland – Gavin Coombes
Gavin Coombes has been a Munster stalwart since 2018 but has only two caps to his name – both from the 2021 Ireland summer tour.
The No8 has been sensational for his province across this season, catapulting him into contention for a starting spot in this year’s Championship.
He is nimble but has the ability to crash the ball through the midfield; a modern all-rounder and in the mould of former international No8 CJ Stander.
The 25-year-old is the most experienced in this selection but that is to his advantage. Coombes looks like being a great asset for Andy Farrell’s Ireland in the Six Nations and the World Cup.