TikTok Women’s Six Nations 2023 Guide & Team Fixtures | Priority | The Drop | Inspiration | O2
TikTok Women’s Six Nations 2023: your essential guide
Here’s all you need to know about the Red Roses and the sides looking to stop them on their way to their fifth consecutive Six Nations crown
While they were narrowly beaten by the Black Ferns in New Zealand, the Red Roses go into the 2023 TikTok Women’s Six Nations as clear favourites and the world’s number one ranked side. Coach Simon Middleton will be without influential forward Shaunagh Brown, who retired at the end of last year. But with so many standout performers staking a claim to a place in the starting line-up, including Helena Rowland, Zoe Aldcroft and Sadia Kabeya – and the prospect of retaining their title and winning the championship on Super Saturday at Twickenham – this team is looking to make history again.
The excitement of stepping out at Twickenham on 29 April will be in the minds of Les Bleues throughout this series. And after the Red Roses beat France on their home soil in last year’s Six Nations finale, France will be desperate to avenge the defeat here. It’s a tournament they haven’t won since 2018 when they secured the Grand Slam. But after bagging bronze in New Zealand, and with new management in Gaëlle Mignot and David Ortiz, England will know France are their most dangerous opponent and will be all the more determined to see them off in front of a huge Twickenham crowd.
With all their Six Nations rivals involved in New Zealand, Ireland agonisingly missed out on the finals last year – a real blow after coming fourth in the 2014 tournament. Ireland will enter this series with a point to prove: in the 2022 Six Nations, they recorded a notable five-try victory over Italy and a dramatic win against Scotland with an 83rd-minute try – but finished fourth. They welcome England in Round 4 on Saturday 22 April, at Cork’s Musgrave Park. Last time around, the Red Roses set a new attendance record for a home match when they beat Ireland 69-0 at Welford Road in Leicester.
Despite their best-ever World Cup performance in New Zealand, where they reached the quarter-finals, Italy begin their series under new management. Giovanni Raineri has taken over as head coach as he seeks to herald a new era and improve their Six Nations record – the closest they’ve come to winning it was a solitary second place in 2019. England host Le Azzurre at Franklin’s Gardens in Northampton on Saturday 2 April, in Round 2. The visitors will be eager to avoid the 74-0 drumming they received in Parma last year and to better their two wins and fifth-place finish.
The stats for Scotland in last year’s Six Nations: played five, lost five and bottom of the table. But their efforts in New Zealand, where they took Australia and Wales to the wire, suggest this is a team moving in the right direction. Yet Scotland’s 2023 series realistically begins with damage limitation in Round 1 when they travel to Kingston Park in Newcastle to face the Red Roses on Saturday 25 March. In 2022’s tournament, England scored a 57-5 victory, including a Marlie Packer hat-trick of tries. With more Wooden Spoons than any other nation, the only way is up for Scotland.
Last year Wales achieved their highest Six Nations finish since 2009, beating Ireland and Scotland on their way to third position. Second row forward Gwen Crabb was Wales’ key player as she seemed almost unbeatable at the lineout, winning more across the team’s five games than even England’s dominant Abbie Ward. They’ll need Crabb at her very best to avoid last year’s scoreline of 58-5 when they welcome England to Cardiff Arms Park in Round 3 on Saturday 15 April. Can Wales go one better this year and break up the England-France hold on the top two?