The Six Nations has arrived for rugby fans

Scott Steele of Scotland spins the ball out during the Six Nations Championship, 127th Calcutta Cup

Scott Steele of Scotland spins the ball out during the Six Nations Championship, 127th Calcutta Cup match between England and Scotland at Twickenham Stadium, Twickenham, London on January 6 2021. - PHOTO: Phil Mingo/PPAUK - Credit: Phil Mingo/PPAUK

There is usually such a big build up to the Six Nations, yet this one has really crept on me and I’m not sure if that’s the same for everyone else? 
However, it was still exciting, even without the traditional daffodils spotted amongst the Welsh crowds or the sound of ‘Swing Low’ at Twickenham, or the Scottish kilts! 
As a proud Welshman, I am obviously rooting for my fellow countrymen donning the red shirt but, as a former Chief, I also want to see my old team-mates do well, whichever nation they play for. 
Before my days as a professional, I wanted nothing more than Wales to triumph over all opponents, yet professional rugby has blurred the lines between patriotism and enjoying the game for what it is... a contest. 
We’ve seen the domestic game disrupted because of the pandemic and there is every chance that one of the squads will be stripped of some key players in an instant. 
And that could be a game changer. 
This year, it won’t just be about preparing for the game, the coaches and players are also going to have to prepare for the unexpected. 
I’ve spoken to a few of the international lads and they have told me training has been different this time around for that very reason. 
It’s also going to be eerily quiet in the grounds compared to a normal big match-day and there has been a lot of debate about whether the games should be played at all but I say they should. 
The protocols, as I understand, have been tightened and the players are in bubbles with regular testing. 
In an interview recently, England Head Coach Eddie Jones said sport had a vital role to play amid the crisis. 
He told the Independent Newspaper: "We play a small role, but I think it's a significant role. I can just talk personally about the enjoyment I've had from watching Premier League games over the last period of time.” 
I couldn’t agree more. 
Prior to the pandemic, we took participating in, and watching, sport for granted. We now realise what an important part in many of our lives it plays.

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