We recently caught up with ex England International Fran Cotton to find out his views on this year’s 6 nations and the 5 nations of his day!

2 minutes, 6 seconds Read

What do you make of England’s chances this year?
It’s impossible to predict how it will go; whether youthful exuberance takes them through or we end up with the wooden spoon it’s impossible to call it. Even with a winning blend of youth and experience in last year’s competition when we were tested against a fierce Irish squad the inexperience showed – this current squad is even more inexperienced!

Who is your tip to win?

France. They have a superb new coach in Philippe Saint-André who is outstanding at getting the best out of his players; it’s something he did very well when he was at Sale Sharks. It spells danger to the rest of the teams and I expect them to win the championship.
Any underdog?
I’d say England with this new look squad.

Which of the then 5 nation’s teams did you get up for the most when you played?

France. They had the best pack of forwards and it was always a hell of a match up and the toughest challenge. In 1976 they had Gerard Cholley a Heavy weight French Army Boxing Champion, Hooker Alain Paco and Robert Paperemborde one of the greatest forwards to ever play. You had no option you had to be up for it!

Any of the then 5 nations teams that you didn’t enjoy playing?

Wales! We never beat them and it was always a struggle to compete. The team was made up 8 or 9 world class players who were just a lot better than England at the time. It was frustrating but it was the truth. But they were one of the greatest teams to ever play the game so it was never going to be easy!
Best ever try in the competition?

My 5 yard burst across the line against Scotland in 1974!

Best ever game in the competition you played in?

Scotland 18-30 England: our 1980 Grand Slam win, both teams played a fantastic game and we won a first Grand Slam for 23 years on the back of it. John Carleton scored a hat-trick and I remember my pal Steve Smith and Mike Slemen were also on the score sheet that day, We were too good on the day but the Scots gave us a cracking game.
After huge success as an international rugby player through the 70s, Fran Cotton founded Cotton Traders in 1987 with fellow rugby legend Steve Smith which specialises in providing anything from rugby shirts to menswear. For more information visit www.cottontraders.co.uk

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