In his latest TRU column, Josh Beaumont assesses England’s hopes for the Six Nations, why a positive result in Paris could be vital, plus he talks all things Sale Sharks.
There wasn’t as many surprises as there has been in other squads! There are a few young guys in there coming through who you might not have expected to be in there, but Eddie has kept a lot of that core squad from the World Cup so there is a lot of experience.
It is going to be an interesting tournament. It is completely different to four years ago when England didn’t get out of the World Cup group stages.
It meant they were hugely motivated under Eddie to perform well in the 2016 Six Nations whilst this time, they haven’t really had that break since the World Cup. It is quite difficult to re-set when you haven’t had a significant time off away from rugby so it will be interesting to see how this Six Nations pans out.
It is going to be a tough couple of games first up with them both being away home, it will be interesting to see how England come out and how the players react.
After that disappointment of the World Cup final, they will come out with a lot to prove to show that they are still one of the best teams in the world. They have still got the motivation. They won’t want to undo all that hard work from the World Cup.
If you lose the first two games, you haven’t got much chance of winning the tournament! I do think France will be the more difficult game. Even though they have picked a young squad, there is a lot of talent in there and a lot of those players are on form for their clubs.
It going to be a difficult game in France, it always is. Hopefully, England can draw on their experiences to get the win and a few of the players in that squad will know how to do it.
If they win that game, the confidence they will take into Scotland will be high and they will be eyeing up Grand Slams and Championships. It is crucial to get off to a good start.
I think every team always targets England. As a nation itself, in any sport, everybody gets themselves up for playing England. It is something we are pretty used to! I do think we will win it, but it won’t be a Grand Slam. It is always tough predicting the Six Nations!
I think the two games in Europe against Exeter could have worked the other way around for us. If you are Exeter for example, the pressure is all on them because they have already beaten us twice this year. Both teams had a lot of unavailability through international selection and injury last week so it was definitely a game that was winnable for us.
We went down there and physically dominated them and that was similar to what we did against Harlequins so that was another pleasing performance, especially away from home. We obviously beat London Irish on the road and the away form is something we are trying to address and that will give us a lot of confidence going forward.
We don’t know what team Saracens are going to put out, but you can imagine they will want to win that competition because they haven’t got anything left to play for in the Premiership. They are going to go strong. We will do a similar thing because we want to win silverware this year.
MATCH HIGHLIGHTS | The cohesion between forwards and backs was unreal yesterday! ??— Sale Sharks?? (@SaleSharksRugby) January 26, 2020
Talk about link up play! Find us a better line out move, we’ll wait...#SharkTime | @UKFast pic.twitter.com/XsUhxFlnRB
We have gone quite strong during the group stages and we beat Saracens earlier in this competition so we have been fairly consistent with whatever team we have put out. Hopefully we can get that mix of experience and youth in there, but at the end of the day, I have not won a trophy in all my time here at Sale so it would be great to start creating that mindset and mentality around the place. I think it is important that we win and get that home final.
It has been really tough. Unfortunately, I had a setback with the injury. I got an infection. I had a second operation two weeks ago and it has probably put me back for a month.
It is massively frustrating because all you want to be doing is playing and being out there with the lads. When you are stuck in hospital or at home bed-bound, it is pretty tough. That is me done for the season so hopefully I can focus more towards next season to try and help the lads achieve our ambitions.
Josh Beaumont was talking to TRU’s Chris Heal