Brian Moore: 'Six Nations fixtures favour Wales'

Brian Moore says that the Six Nations fixture list can work in the favour of Wales ahead of the tournament-opener this weekend.

Former England hooker Brian Moore believes that this year's Six Nations fixture list works in the favour of Wales as they look to retain their crown.

The defending champions play three matches at Cardiff's Millenium Stadium for the tournament, and travel to Ireland and England between those matches.

"Wales have probably more potential game-winning players than the rest, which enables them to be more selective with their starting XVs and how they approach each game tactically," Moore told The Telegraph. "There is no real evidence of post-Lions fatigue not, at present, any fallout from the continuing farce that is threatening their domestic game.

"What also works against Wales is that, although they have three home games, they have to play Ireland and England away. Both games are too close to call given the standard of Ireland's performance against the All Blacks and England's improvement up front in the autumn internationals. Historically, home advantage is shown to be significant and if Wales do win take the title they will have done it the hard way.

"The importance of winning your opening Six Nations game cannot be overstated. Although each fixture is a distinct event, winning or losing has important consequences. A loss puts inordinate pressure on a side, particularly its management, and there is pressure to alter selection and playing strategies. A win gives the relative luxury of continuity and enables the focus to be positive, as opposed to panic."

Wales open their campaign in Cardiff against Italy on Saturday.

Ian Evans prepares to offload the ball during a Wales rugby training session at Scotch College on June 14, 2012
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