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Some Six Nations Facts You Need To Know

Some Six Nations Facts You Need To Know

* Rob Howley will become Wales’ most capped scrum half, overtaking Robert Jones, when he wins his 55th cap in Dublin.
* Peter Clohessy will become only the 10th Irish player to reach 50 caps when he plays in an Irish
pack containing seven Munster forwards.
* Pablo Deluca will become the first Argentinian referee to control a Six Nations match when he takes charge of the game between Ireland and Wales at Lansdowne Road.
* It will be 100 up for the Quinnell family on Sunday. While Welsh skipper Scott Quinnell will be winning his 47th cap, younger brother Craig will be earning hsi 31st. Add those to father Derek’s 23 and the the Quinnell dynasty has amassed 99 to date. But if you add in their uncle, Barry John, and his 25 caps, and the 38 caps won by Scott’s godfather, Mervyn Davies, then the tally rises even higher.
* While the Quinnells, Scott and Craig, are getting set to face Ireland, the home side will have two sets of brothers hoping to spoil their day – David and Paul Wallace and Simon and Guy Easterby.
* Stade de France will see two new caps battle it out for supremacy from the No 8 position when France entertain Italy. packing down for France will be South African-born Steve Hall, while locking the Italian scrum will be New Zealand-born Matt Phillips.
* The Kiwi influence on the Six Nations Championship appears to be growing, with Matt Phillips merely the latest in an ever increasing line of imports taking centre stage in rugby’s oldest championship. Italy are coached by former All Blacks Brad Johnstone and John Kirwan, while Wales have Graham Henry and Steve Hansen as their Kiwi coaching double act. Phillips will be one of two New Zealand-born players in an Italian 22 that also has three Argentinian-born players and one from Romania. The French will have two South African-born forwards in Hall and Pieter de Villiers and a New Zealand-born centre in Tony Marsh.
* Italian outside half Diego Dominguez may be playing away from home with his national side, but he won’t have far to travel to the game. The Stade Francais No 10 lives in Paris and will be hoping to hoist his points tally as close as possible to the 1,000 barrier. To date, he has scored 922 points in 67 games.
* While Diego Dominguez is trying to reach Neil Jenkins’ world points record, Benetton Treviso lock Carlo Checchinato will be looking to extend his record as the world’s leading try scorer. He currently has 19, one ahead of New Zealand’s Zinzan Brooke, from 70 caps.
* French scrum half Frederic Michalak is all set to become the latest teenager to grace the Six Nations Championship. Last season’s French Under 19 scrum half, the Toulouse talent made his senior debut in the autumn internationals. He was outside half when France beat Australia in their last outing, but he switches to the No 9 jersey for the clash with Italy because of injury to Fabien Galthie.
* England’s replacement scrum half Nick Duncombe is only nine months older than Michalak and he will don the senior England shirt as Kyran Bracken’s understudy after only two appearances for the Harlequins. Capped at Under 15, 16 and 18 age groups, Duncombe broke a bone in his neck playing against Wales Schools Under 18 in Chester in April, 2000.
* Iain Balshaw will sit on the England replacements bench alongisde Duncombe after Dan Luger failed a fitness test.
* The whole Northampton Saints front row will be in action at Murrayfield in the Calcutta Cup match, although not on the same side. Tom Smith and Mattie Stewart will be propping for Scotland, while Steve Thompson will be making his debut at hooker for England.
* Thompson will be the biggest hooker England have ever picked weighing in at more than eighteen and a half stone and standing 6ft 2ins tall. If he plays a blinder then Scottish coach Ian McGeechan will have his head in his hands. It was McGeechan, when he was coach at Northampton, who persuaded Thompson to move from the back row to the front.

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