England’s Forwards Conundrum

England look set to field a new look pack in their Six Nations opener with a number of frontline players injured for the start of the tournament.

Billy Vunipola, Mako Vunipola, George Kruis, Jack Clifford and Joe Launchbury could all be missing, Chris Robshaw will also now be missing after picking up a shoulder injury at the weekend.

Nathan Hughes looks set to step up at number eight following impressive displays in the autumn. His power and athleticism make him a useful attacking player. He will not be making the hard yards like Vunipola but will be lurking in the wide channels similar to Tom Croft.

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Hughes looks set to replace Vunipola.

James Haskell made a very brief return to action at the weekend but assuming his concussion isn’t too bad he should start at openside against France.

The blindside is a bit of a tough one, Tom Wood played fairly well during November but there is the option of Maro Itoje moving to the blindside flanker position, this option was one Eddie Jones looked willing to explore before Itoje picked up an injury prior to the Autumn Internationals.

The only problem with moving Itoje into the back row could be the fact that England already look short in the second row if Kruis and Launchbury cannot prove their fitness, Courtney Lawes, Dave Attwood and Charlie Ewels all played in November though and have been in good form for Northampton and Bath.

The loose head prop position could also be an interesting one, Ellis Genge has been replaced in the squad by Bath prop Nathan Catt and Joe Marler is still in the squad.

Marler may have the experience but the question is who would offer more to an England squad. Catt has for a long time been knocking on the England door, his scrummaging is powerful and his work in the loose is strong.

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Catt has been included ahead of Ellis Genge.

Catt would be my pick to take Mako Vunipola’s place as England’s starting loose head. Marler is a good player but his discipline problems in the past and his sporadic form for Harlequins count against him.

In the second row is a tough one, Kruis and Launchbury could yet prove their fitness, but if not then Itoje moving to the back row becomes a tough option, Launhcbury looks set to certainly miss the opening weekend. With this in mind Charlie Ewels and Lawes could start as the only two fully fit locks excluding Itoje included in the squad.

Potential England 23 to face France

1 Nathan Catt 2 Jamie George 3 Dan Cole 4 Charlie Ewels 5 Courtney Lawes 6 Maro Itoje 7 James Haskell 8 Nathan Hughes

9 Ben Youngs 10 George Ford 11 Jack Nowell 12 Owen Farrell (Captain) 13 Jonathan Joseph 14 Anthony Watson 15 Mike Brown

16 Tommy Taylor 17 Joe Marler 18 Kyle Sinckler 19 Tom Wood 20 Mike Williams 21 Danny Care 22 Ben Te’o 23 Elliott Daly

History Made

Wales are through to the semi-finals of the Euro’s, they beat Belgium 3-1.

Not such a one man team anymore, goals from Ashley Williams, Hal Robson-Kanu and Sam Vokes sealed the win. A win orchestrated by Chris Coleman.

Gareth Bale is the star he puts his team on this level, this unattainable level without the Real Madrid star.

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Wales’ star man, Gareth Bale.

Bale’s sheer brilliance, this raw talent honing his skills amongst the best players in the world, he in his right up there with the best in the world.

It is not just Bale that has been good though, Aaron Ramsey has endured a mixed season for London club, Arsenal but in the red of Wales has been immense.

Robson-Kanu looks like a quality striker, surely a club won’t be too hard to find after a performance like that.

The whole back four including captain Ashley Williams has been tremendous, the team have only conceded four goals, two of which came against England in the only game in which Wales looked slow.

England have been humiliated whilst Wales have risen to a level that may well take them to a European title.

It’s all set up to be a cracker brilliance v belligerence, Bale v Ronaldo, Wales v Portugal.

Is Muguruza Destined for Greatness?

The women’s game is drawing more and more viewers every year and as it grows the former greats are declining and retiring.

Venus Williams is no longer the player she used to be, the same is true of Caroline Wozniacki. Sharapova has left the sport following questionable drug test results. Serena Williams is also very close to ending her illustrious career.

Her waining power was illustrated in the French capital as Spanish number one Garbine Muguruza defeated one of the greatest female athletes of all time and a woman that has been at the top of her game for years. She forged a famous rivalry with her sister which has become one of the most hotly contested rivalries ever in tennis.

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Muguruza the moment she won the French Open.

Muguruza is coming of age. She came through her first round match of Wimbledon after suffering a scare from the young Italian, Camila Giorgi.

Wimbledon is a huge chance for Muguruza to prove that she is the real deal and at 22 she truly could be part of another wave of greats in women’s tennis. The Spanish player only turned professional in 2012 she has made remarkable progress since then.

Muguruza’s win at Roland Garros could act as a springboard for her to propel herself into pole position to lead in a new age of women’s greats.