2022 GUINESS SIX NATIONS Virtual Media Launch. Photo ©INPHO/GUINNESS Six Nations Courtesy Press Office Six Nations. https://www.sixnationsrugby.com

Favola, storia e leggenda del rugby europeo e internazionale. Le vittorie della Francia e dell’Irlanda con la Nuova Zelanda negli ultimi test match di Novembre aumentano le aspettative e la crescente qualità di un 6 Nazioni dove ogni pensato pronostico vincente potrebbe cambiare. Un virtual media launch che ha visto tra gli altri gli scambi di battute tra Sexton e Biggard ad anticipare l’incontro di apertura tra l’Irlanda e i campioni in carica del Galles. Inizio con tutti i capitani eccetto per Francia ed Inghilterra, il primo di un All Blacks, Kieran Crowley, come coach per l’Italia. Galles, Francia, Inghilterra, Irlanda, Scozia, Italia; favola e storia, Guinness Six Nations 2022. (m.g.)

2022 GUINESS SIX NATIONS Virtual Media Launch. Photo ©INPHO/GUINNESS Six Nations Courtesy Press Office Six Nations. 26 Gennaio 2022 Immagini Video Virtual Media Launch ©Giornalista Indipendente. https://www.sixnationsrugby.com

REPRO FREE***PRESS RELEASE NO REPRODUCTION FEE*** EDITORIAL USE ONLY 2021 GUINNESS Six Nations Championship Launch 26/1/2022 Presenter Nick Heath speaks to the captains during the launch Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/GUINNESS Six Nations
2019 Guinness Six Nations Championship Round 2, Twickenham, London, England 10/2/2019 England vs France A view of the Guinness Six Nations trophy before the game Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie
GUINNESS SIX NATIONS 2022 Backstage GI Virtual Media Launch – Kieran Crowley Coach Italia



England vice-captain Tom Curry: “We are a different team from what we were a year ago – not just players but the way we play. We know what we need to do, moving forward and how we were with the Autumn Nations Series and how it’s been, it’s a different challenge this year. 

“We’re probably a bit more attacking, we’re more at teams which is big for us and that’s when we play our best rugby. That’s the big difference, especially what we showed in the Autumn. 

“We had to deal with Covid through the Autumn, so we’re pretty prepared. The way we train, with different combos, we’re used to this, so we’re excited to get going.”

Italy captain Michele Lamaro: “We are still a new team, so we are adapting. We have a few new guys who need to adapt to the system but we are young and have lots of energy to give.

“Most of us have played in the Guinness Six Nations before, so we have that experience this year as a group and hope to combine that with our energy.

“We have 23 players from Benetton and that group has a connection. Our form in the United Rugby Championship gives us confidence on the field but this is a different stage.

“France are in form, so the first game will be difficult. We have to bring our energy and passion.”

Ireland captain Johnny Sexton: “I have very fond memories of going to Six Nations matches with my old man. They are very special memories for me, so I look forward to this ever year.

“I feel great, I have had a couple of frustrating months but thankfully I’m back on the field.

“I think we have a young squad and the guys bring great energy and I am glad to be part of it.

“We put things together in November and hope to continue down that line. We have the champions first up at home and all our focus is on that at the moment.”

Scotland captain Stuart Hogg: “We are very much looking forward to the first game, for us England is the best way to start.

“We love the game, as a proud Scotsman I can speak for the boys and say it is the game we are most looking forward to. And then it doesn’t get easier by going to Wales.

“We have been working hard on our gameplan and having one we are excited to be a part of. We have young boys coming in with energy and excitement and hopefully they bring something to the job.”

Wales captain Dan Biggar: “It is a really tough start. Ireland showed how impressive they are in the Autumn Nations Series and we have not had much success there in the last few years.

“This Championship is all about momentum, if you get a good start, everything flows. It is important for us to start well, we then welcome Scotland at home, which we know will be hard.

“The opening couple of weeks will be pivotal. We want a good start and go from there

“On any given day, everyone can beat each other. We need to win our home games and then our away games to England and Ireland are tough. It really is a tough challenge this year, we have lost some experienced players but it gives a chance to come young players to stake a claim too.”

France flash quotes.

Est-ce que ce n’est pas le Tournoi le plus dur qui arrive depuis de nombreuses années ? 

Galthié : Le Tournoi est une compétition qui est très difficile, très relevée. Chaque équipe est en mesure de le remporter. Chaque match face à chacun de nos adversaires est une histoire totalement différente avec des complexités tactiques et stratégiques totalement différentes. C’est vrai que notre ambition depuis le début et notre conviction c’est de gagner les matchs et gagner les compétitions dans lesquelles nous sommes engagées. Ça reste toujours notre ambition. 

Nous apprenons en chaque compétition, nous avons appris de chacune de nos sorties. Nous améliorons, notre staff s’améliore dans sa préparation, les joueurs s’améliorent dans leurs méthodes, dans leur préparation. Ils accumulent de l’expérience. Cette expérience-là va nous permettre de construire la dernière marche, cette dernière marche qui va nous permettre de remporter les compétitions à venir. Notre objectif est de construire cette dernière marche pour la gravir. 

Est-ce que depuis la victoire contre la Nouvelle-Zélande vous avez observé un changement dans le niveau de confiance chez vos joueurs ? 

Galthié : Pas encore, nous n’avons pas eu assez de vécu commun. On s’est dit au revoir le soir du match, on ne se revoit plus. On s’est retrouvé depuis deux jours à peine. On s’est remis au travail alors c’est difficile d’avoir un peu de temps de discuter pour se rendre compte, quel a été l’impact de cette victoire sur les joueurs. Pour les avoir suivis en club, ils ont l’air d’être heureux, d’être bien en leur peau, ils ont l’air de continuer à grandir, de prendre du plaisir sur le terrain avec leurs clubs. Ce sont les impressions que je peux avoir, tout simplement. 

Is it the most difficult Championship you have played? 

Galthié: Yes, this Championship is always very difficult because every team has great potential to win and every game is different and unique. They have different strategies and tactics. Our ambition is to win our games and win the competitions. Our ambition has remained the same and we have learned a lot from all these experiences. We keep improving as a staff and as players, who have improved the level of maturity. We want with this great experience that we keep nurturing, to be able to build the last step and achieve the last stage in the process. We are building that last step. 

Have you seen a noticeable shift in confidence and belief among the players since the win over New Zealand? 

Galthié: Not yet, we had the game and said goodbye. We’ve been together again for two days and haven’t had time to talk about it. We’ve not had time to realise the impact of the victory on the players. As far as I could see when they have been in their clubs, they have looked happy and kept growing and enjoyed playing. They look happy and physically well. 

Flash quotes – Wales coach Wayne Pivac and captain Dan Biggar

Are you looking forward to your third Championship as much as you were the first?

Wayne Pivac: “Yeah definitely so. Obviously to win the tournament last year, it was such an exciting campaign the way it built from Round 1 through to the final weekend.

“All the drama that unfolded and then we had to wait a week – and no crowds for the first time in the Six Nations so it had a bit of everything really, but ultimately the rugby was great.

“I thought there was really good intent from the sides that took part so if we can emulate that this time around and have some of the great rugby that was played and some of the tries that were scored then it’s certainly going a good competition.

“We’re really looking forward to it. We know it’s going to be a big challenge with some absentees that have been well documented but as we say in camp, that’s opportunities for others and those great players who are missing they started off campaigns had their first Six Nations so it’s time now for others to step up and it’s going to be a great challenge.”

Has Alun Wyn Jones had any advice for you Dan?

Dan Biggar: “I had a chat with Al last week actually. Similar to what I said to Wayne when he asked me to do the job, I said to Wayne I didn’t want to change who I was as person around the team room, on the training pitch.

“Al echoed that really, he said be your own man. I suppose I’ve worked with Al for a number of years now so to pick up one or two small bits which Al has from the way he conducts himself around the place is going to be a benefit to me.

“In my position, we’re really encouraging other senior boys and even some of the younger lads to really take ownership and speak up in meetings so it’s not just one voice all the time and white noise so I think that’s a big part of the next ten days in terms of growing people to being able to speak in front of other players and management.

“I’ve gone for the full double whammy as fly-half and captain! I can’t have too much more pressure on it! Joking aside, I like that side of it, the pressure that comes with it.

“To have played 10 for Wales for nearly 13 years, you have to be fairly used to that but as I said, it’s really exciting, it’s almost like my first campaign in a sense as it’s a first for me [being captain] and it’s just really exciting. We have a good group of boys who are young, energetic and keen to learn and make sure we get right for Saturday.”

Lazarus-style comeback from Alun Wyn Jones?

Wayne Pivac: “Never say never. I probably wouldn’t enter into the conversation if it was anyone else to be quite honest but the guy has broken so many records.

“I honestly say that I would never say never but it’ll be a longshot, let’s just say that, but Alun Wyn is working incredibly hard behind the scenes to get himself in the best shape possible to be as ready as quickly as he can for Ospreys or Wales.”

How important is momentum in the Guinness Six Nations?

Wayne Pivac: “Momentum is everything. Dan has talked about it throughout the day from a player’s perspective it’s so true. If you look at last year’s competition, we got that all-important win over Ireland, a tough opponent in Round 1 and then there was the Scotland game away.

“Those two games were so important to us. We got that momentum, we got the points on the board, teams were chasing us and you grow in confidence with the time together in camp.

“You expect things to improve and last year they did. We came out playing some really, really good rugby and probably some of our best rugby in our only defeat in France.

“Time together is vital and momentum is everything in this tournament. Ireland, Dublin away needless to say is a massive occasion for us and one we’re going to prepare well for. We’ll look to play some good rugby like we did in the last campaign. Playing that way paid dividends for us and we’re going to try and build on those performances from last season.”

Who are the new faces you are looking forward to working with in this campaign?

Wayne Pivac: “There’s a number and for different reasons. There’s a number of guys who have played in the competition before but haven’t had major leadership roles. I’m really excited for Dan [Biggar] and Adam Beard.

“And then there are other players who will be assisting those guys in and around, on field and off field, so I’m really interested to see how people step up to those challenges.

“Also the younger guys coming in. If you look at a guy like Dewi Lake, if you look at him he is a big man for a hooker who brings a physical presence to the position. He hasn’t played at this level of the game but has been around the squad in the past from a learning development point of view.

“There’s guys like that who given the opportunity I’m sure are going to look forward to it. I’m pretty sure you’re going to see a guy grow and grow throughout his time in a Welsh shirt.

“There are so many guys to go through opportunity-wise. This is a massive opportunity for so lots of players to show some form. A guy like Josh Adams, can play multiple positions and where he’ll end up in this Championship, we’ll work that out in training.

“There are good challenges, not just for the young players but also for some of the more senior players as well. I’m excited by the opportunity to work with the group we’ve got.

“I’m disappointed for those who are injured because there are some great players there and 680- caps don’t get replaced overnight but certainly it’s going to be more opportunities for players to develop and put a hand up for what’s round the corner. We’re here to get a job done.”

England Flash Quotes – Eddie Jones

How much will Smith miss Farrell?

Jones: “We’ve got other experienced players and we may move Sladey (Henry Slade) in from 13 to 12.

“It’s important for any 10 in the world whether that’s Smith, whether that’s Finn Russell or Ntamack for France, it’s important that the 12 is a good communicator and takes some of the pressure away from the 10, as well as giving good information and assisting in the defence role.

“So, the Marcus situation is no different from any other team in the world.”

How impressed were you with Marcus Smith’s Autumn Nations Series performance?

Jones: “He’s a young guy who played against the number one side in the world and the number three side in the world and steered the team to victory.

“What I enjoyed most was that against South Africa, which was one of those games that we were going to have to win two or three times, he showed a lot of courage and attacked the space which is not easy to do against South Africa.

“He showed a lot of courage during the Autumn and a lot of composure and skill. He’s only going to get better during the Six Nations.”

How long is Owen Farrell due to be out for?

Jones: “I don’t know any more about that at this stage, I know a surgeon saw him on Sunday.

“They’re making the plan and they hope to operate as soon as possible. I’m not a doctor but I would imagine the rehab will be similar to his previous injury.

How good was Jess Ennis-Hill when talking to the players?

Jones: “She was an outstanding athlete. It’s a great story with the resilience that she showed and the expectation that she had to cope with.

“Maro Itoje and George Furbank organised a Q&A in which I embarrassed myself at the start by calling her the wrong name, that’s a bit embarrassing for the players that their head coach is such a do-do.

“She gave really good messages, particularly to the young guys coming through – they’re all dealing with expectation and there were some really good points for the players to absorb about how she dealt with social media and expectation.

There is a leadership group in the absence of Owen Farrell and Courtney Lawes, who exactly is in it?

Jones: “We’re not going to name it yet we’ll wait until we name the team for Scotland, but we’ve got a group of players that are assuming that responsibility.

“The reason I’m not going to name it, is because we have a core leadership group and a greater leadership group.

“Yesterday, we had two events run by the team with Jessica Ennis-Hill. Maro (Itoje) and George Furbank led the Q&A session and then at night-time we had team communications in a pub and Maro took responsibility for it.

“There will be a core group of four or five vice-captains, but they’ll almost be like the cabinet and make sure they devolve responsibility between them.

How impressed have you been with George Ford since he came back?

Jones: “George has come in with a fantastic attitude, he’s always been a guy that’s played hard for the team and he deserves the opportunity to come back into the team.

“There are still areas of the game that we’re asking him to keep moving forward and he’s committed to do that.

“Yesterday, we had our smaller group meetings, and after the inside backs meeting, we saw George, Marcus and George Furbank altogether looking at video and talking about various things we want to do.

“He’s played a fair few test matches, he’s got a lot to prove and he wants to improve, so his competition with Marcus Smith and George Furbank over who starts at ten and who finishes at ten is going to be vital for the team.”

Flash Quotes Ireland – Andy Farrell and Johnny Sexton

After the Autumn Nation Series, three home games and fans coming back to the Aviva, you must be confident?

Farrell: “We will see if we have the courage to kick on and get better because that is what is going to be needed. We want to be living on the edge of where we are at and keep pushing the boundaries to get better.

“If we have a single focus then, as the saying goes, the scores will take care of themselves.”

Johnny, have you set a big target for this Championship?

Sexton: “We only came together yesterday, which was mainly about getting our head around plays and terminology because Ireland do things differently the provinces.

“We have not had that conversation yet, but we will keep it in-house. We are on a journey and this is a big part of it, we want to win here and now.

“I don’t think you ever come into this Championship with a goal to finish second, third or fourth, you want to win. But how we do that is prepare really well and get off to a good start against Wales.”

Andy, there is a view in Wales that they will be limping into Dublin. Can you give your view on that?

Farrell: “We all know the truth. We all know how the Welsh come together and how they are a proud rugby nation.

“They certainly lift when they come together and they have some world class players in their team that will push them. We expect them to be at their brimming best in a couple of weeks’ time.”

Johnny, can you talk about the provinces doing so well in the Heineken Champions Cup and how that could help?

Sexton: “To be honest, it has no correlation to how the Six Nations starts.

“I can rewind five or six years ago when the provinces were flying Welsh struggling and then they beat us. There is no correlation between province form and international form, once we come into the Ireland environment and put on our jerseys, we believe we are one team and leave the provinces at the door.

“We will be focussed on preparing for the reigning champions. Wales almost won the Grand Slam last year and then had a great November. Facing them is all we have on our minds.”

What is the latest with Joey Carbery, because to some it was a surprise he made the squad, which is great news?

Farrell: “Joey has been keeping fighting for from week two after his elbow injury. He is as fit as a fiddle and has been doing all the ball skills.

“The only thing he has had to wait for is the all-clear to get back into contact, so he is good to go.”

Flash Quotes – Scotland captain Stuart Hogg and coach Gregor Townsend

What’s the vibe in the camp like at the moment from the first few days?

Townsend: “It seems enjoyable. We’re loving the players coming back in, working with them and coaching them again.

“Yesterday we trained and the session was full of energy and quality. We’re training now – Stuart and I just managed to watch two minutes of the forwards session on the outside which was full on, tackling and live mauling. I think Stuart’s glad it’s the Six Nations launch today so he’s not involved in that!

What have you made of England’s progress since you last played them and what sort of game are you expecting against them?

Townsend: “They played well later on in last year’s Championship, the game against France was their best performance. Then in November they built on that – beating the world champions South Africa shows that they’re a quality side.

“They were moving the ball and had various attacking threats. We’ll see if that’s still the case in the Six Nations – it’s a different feel to the November internationals but it looks like they’re going to add more of an attacking side to their game on top of the strong defence and set-piece that they’ve built their game on for the last Championship

With supporters being back and the Calcutta Cup being the first game of the Championship, is this the most-eagerly awaited Scotland game for a couple of years?

Townsend: “I believe so. The November games were great for having fans back, the noise they generated when we came on the field, so having them there for our biggest fixture of the year will be a great boost for us.

“But we’ve also got three away games this year, so we know we’ve got to handle those matches where the crowd will be against us. Everyone involved in rugby can’t wait to play in front of supporters again for this Six Nations.”

That third place in 2018 was your highest with the team – do you feel this squad is as prepared as any to break through, get that fourth win and beyond?

Hogg: “I believe so. The boring answer is, we have to take every game as it comes and we can’t look too far ahead because if we do tha,t that’s the time you’ll slip up.

“I know I speak on behalf of Gregor and the rest of this camp when I say we are full focused on England next Saturday and that’s it. Once that game’s done, we’ll learn from it and move on.

“We’d love to be in position to be competing for trophies at the end of the campaign but it counts for nothing unless we kick off in the best possible way.

What does Marcus Smith offer that maybe Owen Farrell doesn’t have for England?

Hogg: “They’re both fantastic rugby players. Owen has got that huge amount of experience and is a born winner.

“Marcus is young, coming through, an incredible talent and he doesn’t take himself too serious off the field. He works incredibly hard on the training field.

“Look, I think he’s an exciting talent, a really exciting talent. We [Exeter Chiefs] played against him a few weeks ago and at times he was winding me up with his eyes and hand signals of what he was going to be doing.

“He was putting me left, right and Chelsea, so I didn’t know what he was going to be doing.

“He’s a quality player and no doubt he’ll have a big impact on how England do in this campaign.”

Eddie Jones said this morning that England are starting the greatest Championship in the world, playing the most historic game in the world. What have you got in store for England in the opener?

Townsend: “I agree with Eddie’s comments – the Six Nations is a brilliant Championship. It’s a privilege to be involved in it and having crowds back makes it even more special this year.

“We know this is the biggest game we face, such an historic game. We play for an historic trophy and it’s 151 years old now this fixture.

“Having it first up adds a buzz around the Six Nations. It will focus our minds next week when we start to analyse more of what England could bring but now it’s about us – how we get our game together, that shared model of how we play and how we act as teammates. It’s been great to see everyone back together.”

Stuart, how buoyed are you by the result against England last season?

Hogg: “We’d been building up to it for a long, long time but the honest truth is it counts for absolutely nothing this season.

“We need to make sure we go out there and have an 80-minute performance on both sides of the ball. If we do that and do the simple things well, we give ourselves every opportunity of winning.

“We know it’s going to be tough and physical but these are the games you want to be involved in. I know I speak on behalf of everyone involved in Scotland camp when I say we’re excited for next weekend.”

How big a loss is Owen Farrell going to be for England now that he’s out of the Six Nations?

Hogg: “Owen is a huge loss. We touched on it earlier – Owen is a born winner, he works incredibly hard to bring the best out of himself and everyone around him.

“He’s been an unbelievable leader for England over the last few seasons. He’ll be a huge loss and obviously we want to see him fighting fit as soon as we possibly can.

“Like anybody out injured though, it gives an opportunity for somebody else to come in. England have got an embarrassment of riches.

“Marcus Smith is coming through and he’s an unbelievable talent, so he’s somebody we’ll have to keep a close eye on.

Citazioni flash Italia – Kieran Crowley e Michele Lamaro.

Tutti sembrano forti. Quali sono le tue aspirazioni a questo punto?

Crowley: Tutti sembrano forti, se guardi i risultati di novembre, il miglior rugby è probabilmente quello giocato nell’emisfero settentrionale dal punto di vista dei risultati. Guardiamo Francia, Irlanda, Inghilterra, Galles, Scozia, hanno battuto tutte le squadre dell’emisfero meridionale e hanno avuto tutte molto successo. La gente dice che sembra essere il Sei Nazioni più competitivo e aperto nella storia della competizione.

In termini di aspettative, sono stato con questa squadra ora, a novembre abbiamo trascorso quattro settimane insieme. Questa volta abbiamo un gruppo più nuovo, quindi le nostre aspettative sono di crescere come prestazioni. La nostra aspettativa è che ci impegneremo nel miglior modo possibile in ogni partita particolare. Speriamo in questo modo di vincere alcune delle battaglie più piccole attraverso il gioco e la nostra aspettativa che se riusciamo a vincere alcune di quelle battaglie più piccole alla fine queste si combinano in una vittoria più grande da qualche parte e ci mettiamo in una posizione in cui possiamo ottenere risultati positivi sul campo. Speriamo che questo ci porti in una posizione in cui possiamo superare il limite in una delle partite. Se riuscissimo a farlo, sarebbe un risultato eccezionale per noi. Ma non ci facciamo illusioni sulla sfida che ci attende.

Michele, quali sono le tue speranze e ambizioni e ti stai godendo la sfida?

Lamaro: Per me è una grande opportunità per entrare in contatto con l’intero gruppo, per gestire il gruppo. È la grande sfida per me fuori dal campo. Devo preservare la mia energia sul campo ed esibirmi come voglio. È il mio primo Sei Nazioni da capitano, quindi sono davvero entusiasta di iniziare. Sarà una sfida difficile, ma sono sicuro che il gruppo rimarrà unito e andrà avanti.

Hai ricevuto elogi da come hai giocato contro gli All Blacks in autunno. Quanta fiducia prendi da quelle esibizioni?

Crowley: Dobbiamo andare avanti. Sono stato abbastanza soddisfatto della nostra prestazione contro la Nuova Zelanda, sono rimasto molto, molto deluso dalla nostra prestazione contro l’Argentina. Visti i risultati, sembriamo giocare abbastanza bene contro squadre dove non ci viene data alcuna possibilità. Quando ci viene data la possibilità, magari non di vincere ma di fare una partita equilibrata, forse ci spaventiamo un po’. Penso che l’abbiamo fatto in maniera evidente contro l’Argentina. Contro l’Uruguay non siamo stati abbastanza precisi ma abbiamo vinto. Abbiamo vinto e non mi interessa come si ottiene una vittoria, se si ottiene una vittoria, è una vittoria. Anche se le prestazioni non sono state eccezionali, dobbiamo usare quel risultato come trampolino di lancio. Ci sono alcuni nuovi giocatori ora. Speriamo di poter usare la conoscenza di una vittoria contro l’Uruguay per andare avanti ora.

Quanto è cresciuto Paolo Garbisi dal suo trasferimento a Montpellier?

Su Paolo, penso che sia stato fantastico che sia andato al Montpellier. Gli ha dato una cultura e un modo di giocare diversi. Il modo in cui giocava il Montpellier è diverso da come giocava in Benetton. Il Montpellier ha una politica senza rischi, se guardi le loro partite, hanno un enorme pacchetto di attaccanti, calciano molto per il territorio. Quindi è progredito e ha imparato a giocare in un modo diverso. La sua sfida, visto che è ancora solo un giovane, sarà quella di adattarsi a diversi stili di gioco. Giocheremo in modo diverso da come giocava la Benetton e come giocava il Montpellier. Dovrà sfidare se stesso a cambiare la sua mentalità in determinate aree, e lo farà, ne sono sicuro. È un giocatore professionista che lavora sodo nel suo gioco. È una prospettiva eccitante che va avanti. Ha ottenuto qualcosa che non molti italiani hanno raggiunto. A parte Sergio Parisse e potrebbero esserci uno o due altri che hanno giocato costantemente nella Top 14 in Francia in così giovane età.

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GIORNALISTA INDIPENDENTE – Riproduzione Riservata – Testata Giornalistica Telematica Quotidiana N.168 del 20.10.2017. Direttore Responsabile MANUEL GIULIANO.