Six Nations 2014: Key Battles to Watch in Week 2 Fixtures

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Six Nations 2014: Key Battles to Watch in Week 2 Fixtures
Michel Euler/Associated Press

Though it's the best team who will inevitably sort the wheat from the chaff, it's often the case that key individual battles have their say on a match's result.

So true is this of the Six Nations in particular, where Europe's finest are assembled under the continent's most hallowed spotlights; the biggest names all competing for that common goal.

The 2014 tournament's opening weekend didn't fail to entertain, with more than a couple of stars standing out among the rest.

Looking ahead to this weekend's Week 2 action, we've broken down some of those head-to-heads which are likely to have a particular impact on proceedings.

2014 Six Nations Week 2 Fixtures
Date Time Fixture Venue
Saturday, Feb. 8 2:30 p.m. GMT/9:30 a.m. ET Ireland vs. Wales Aviva Stadium
Saturday, Feb. 8 5 p.m. GMT/12 p.m. ET Scotland vs. England Murrayfield
Sunday, Feb. 9 3 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET France vs. Italy Stade de France

BBC Sport

 

Jonathan Davies vs. Brian O'Driscoll

Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

The infamous British and Irish Lions tour selection squabble revived in all the more intimate fashion this weekend, Jonathan Davies could line up opposite the man whom he succeeded in the final Test match of last summer's trip to Australia.

The Welshman is currently a massive question mark for fitness, but Warren Gatland's team has been given a massive boost after BBC Sport announced that the Clermont-bound marvel was back training in the squad this week.

Irish journalist Brendan Gallagher is clearly one who's excited by the prospect of these two stars coming into combat:

Should Davies replace Scott Williams in the No. 13 jersey, it will only add yet more spice to the individual face-off set to explode between these two; two of Europe's most talented centres with a little additional history behind their head-to-head.

 

Kelly Brown vs. Chris Robshaw

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Chris Robshaw may not be as accustomed to playing at openside on the club level, but this weekend he goes up against a figure who most certainly is in Kelly Brown.

Brown was unable to prevent the Irish tide from overcoming his team last weekend, but this matchup of international captaincies gives the Scottish back-row star another opportunity to assert his leadership on matters.

The battle of the breakdown is likely to be greatly influenced by the victor of this duel in particular, each flanker as eager as the other when it comes to closing down the opponent's space and spoiling ball retention.

 

Louis Picamoles vs. Sergio Parisse

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A Top 14 face-off of epic proportions, Toulouse meet Stade Francais not for the first time in this context as Louis Picamoles readies himself for a scrutinising examination from Sergio Parisse.

These bastions of the French top flight are well acquainted with one another after a long history on both the club and international stage, and this weekend will see France's back-row titan seeking redemption for the shock defeat suffered in Rome last year.

Picamoles was his regular, mauling presence against England but found a good match in Billy Vunipola. Considering the form that Parisse was in against Wales, it's only likely that another massive test of No. 8 credentials has its say on this weekend's meeting in Paris.

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