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best

Rory Best. Ulster hooker Best was recently announced as the new Ireland captain after the retirement on Paul O’Connell. Best’s performances in the World Cup and recently with Ulster propelled him to the fore for the vacant position. His half-time speech during Ulster’s Champions Cup game with Oyonnax inspired the side to a spectacular comeback and cemented his reputation as a natural leader. The 33-year-old has won 89 caps for Ireland since his debut against the All Blacks at Lansdowne Road in 2005. With three Six Nations medals to his name he looks to be the perfect man to lead Ireland in search of history.

The Opposition

Team Won Lost Draw
Argentina 3 2 0
Australia 3 4 0
Canada 3 0 0
England 5 6 0
France 4 6 2
Georgia 1 0 0
Italy 11 1 0
Namibia 1 0 0
New Zealand 0 8 0
Pacific Islands 1 0 0
Samoa 2 0 0
Scotland 7 3 0
South Africa 1 1 0
USA 2 0 0
Wales 7 5 0

England

Dylan Hartley. A controversial selection to say the least. England coach Eddie Jones has said that he wants to bring the bite back to English rugby and make them “a team to be feared again”. Well Hartley certainly brings the bite, the only worry for Jones being that his bite is occasionally too severe. Hartley missed last year’s World Cup as well as the 2013 Lions tour as a consequence of disciplinary indiscretions. The 29-year-old hooker has made 66 appearances for England and has played his club rugby for Northampton Saints since 2005. Jones has trusted him as being the man to lead England to a first Six Nations title since 2011 but will surely be wary that he might just be dealing with a ticking time bomb.

The Opposition

Team Won Lost Draw
Argentina 4 1 0
Australia 3 2 0
France 5 3 0
Georgia 1 0 0
Ireland 4 4 0
Italy 7 0 0
New Zealand 0 7 0
Pacific Islands 1 0 0
Samoa 2 0 0
Scotland 7 0 1
South Africa 0 5 1
Wales 5 3 0

Scotland

Greig Laidlaw. Gloucester outhalf Laidlaw will lead his Scottish team into this year’s Six Nations determined to make up for the injustice suffered at the World Cup. South African referee Craig Joubert broke Scottish hearts last October when he awarded Australia a last-minute penalty to knock the Scots out of the World Cup when he should have ordered a scrum. After a superb kicking display all tournament Laidlaw was heartbroken as his team went out and will certainly be pumped up going into this year’s tournament. The 30-year-old will add to his 46 caps for his country.

The Opposition

Team Won Lost Draw
Argentina 1 0 0
Australia 1 2 0
Barbarians 1 0 0
England 0 4 0
Fiji 1 0 0
France 0 5 0
Ireland 2 3 0
Italy 4 2 0
Namibia 2 0 0
New Zealand 0 3 0
Samoa 2 1 0
Scotland 0 4 0
South Africa 1 1 0
USA 2 0 0
Uruguay 0 4 0

wales

Sam Warburton. The most experienced captain in the tournament Warburton leads Wales into this year’s Six Nations after first captaining the team in the 2011 World Cup at the age of just 22. Despite battling with injuries during the 2012 Six Nations Warburton picked up his first medal at the tournament as Wales completed the Grand Slam. The Cardiff flanker has appeared 60 times for his country and will be looking to captain Wales to a 27th title this year as they go into the tournament as favourites.

The Opposition

Team Won Lost Draw
Argentina 1 1 0
Australia 1 11 0
Barbarians 0 1 0
England 4 4 0
Fiji 2 0 0
France 3 2 0
Ireland 4 3 0
Italy 6 0 0
Namibia 1 0 0
New Zealand 0 3 0
Samoa 2 1 0
Scotland 5 0 0
South Africa 1 4 0
USA 1 0 0
Uruguay 1 0 0

France

Guilhem Guirado. New head coach Guy Noves named Guirado as the man to lead the team after Thierry Dusautoir retired from international rugby after the World Cup. Guirado started four of France's five World Cup games including the losses to Ireland and New Zealand. He has played 38 times for Les Bleus. The 29-year-old has excelled in the club game, as Toulon have won the European title in the past three years. He started last year's final at Twickenham, as the French side defeated rivals Clermont Auvergne.

The Opposition

Team Won Lost Draw
Argentina 1 2 0
Australia 1 5 0
Canada 2 0 0
England 1 3 0
Fiji 2 0 0
Ireland 2 3 1
Italy 3 1 0
New Zealand 0 2 0
Samoa 1 0 0
Scotland 5 0 0
South Africa 0 1 0
Wales 1 1 0

Italy

Sergio Parisse. At 32 the great warrior is getting towards the twilight of his career, but he remains just as integral to Italian hopes as he ever has done. Indeed, Italy are the closest thing to a one-man team there is in world rugby – they are simply a different proposition with their talismanic number eight in the saddle. Whether it is his consistently destructive ball carrying, his athleticism in the air or his ability to galvanise those around him, the Stade Francais skipper is still one of the best in the world. Parisse said recently he would trade his 114 caps for a Six Nations win, but that’s one of the few things Parisse will not be able to affect.

The Opposition

Team Won Lost Draw
Argentina 2 8 0
Australia 0 10 0
Canada 2 0 0
England 0 11 0
Fiji 3 1 0
France 2 9 0
Georgia 1 0 0
Ireland 1 12 0
Japan 2 0 0
New Zealand 0 6 0
Pacific Islands 0 1 0
Portugal 2 0 0
Romania 2 0 0
Russia 2 0 0
Samoa 1 1 0
Scotland 5 10 0
South Africa> 0 5 0
Spain 1 0 0
Tonga 3 0 0
USA 1 0 0
Wales 1 8 1