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The 2024 Six Nations – What to Expect

Never mind how many shopping days there are left to Christmas, the 2024 Six Nations kicks off in 15 weeks’ time.

It’s not long, so best to take stock now and consider what we know after the end of Wales’ World Cup campaign.

Firstly, we know who’s going to be in charge – or, rather, still in charge.

Warren Gatland has confirmed he wants to continue as head coach and the “break clause” in his contract is not going to be snapped by him or the Welsh Rugby Union.

It also seems, by the look of the squad to face the Barbarians in November, that Jac Morgan will be Wales’ captain, so long as injuries don’t get in the way.

There are plenty of questions around the rest of the team, though – especially in the key positions of outside-half and full-back.

Dan Biggar has screamed his last scream, and waved his arms around in a Wales jersey for the final time. Gareth Anscombe is off to bank some Yen in Japan.

That leaves a hole to plug and if you go by the theory of next cab off the rank, then Sam Costelow – third choice fly-half in France – should be the favourite to start against Scotland on February 3.

DragonBet certainly think so. They make Costelow 8/13 favourite to be wearing No.10 against the Scots.

His closest challenger is rated to be Owen Williams at 11/8, with some long shots thrown in – Ben Thomas of Cardiff at 25/1, Cai Evans of the Dragons at 33/1, and the Scarlets’ Dan Jones at 66/1.

With Liam Williams also off to Tokyo to play his club rugby – and out of the picture for the Six Nations – there’s another vacancy at full-back.

Here, though, it’s a bit of a different story. Louis-Rees Zammit is considered to be the favourite to move across from his wing position at 5/4, but there are other short-priced horses in this race.

Cai Evans – son of Wales legend Ieuan – is 5/1, along with Josh Adams and Tom Rogers of the Scarlets.

Then, come the outsiders. Of those, Leigh Halfpenny looks pretty good value at 10/1. Gatland has always believed in him, although the former Scarlets star is currently without a club and has been since the summer.

You can get 25/1 on George North being despatched to the No.15 spot, or 50/1 on Cardiff youngster Jacob Beetham being given a shot. Likewise, it’s 50/1 for his Arms Park clubmate, Cameron Winnett.

Despite their general upsurge in form at the World Cup, Wales are still priced as outsiders to lift the trophy next spring.

DragonBet make Wales 20/1 to be 2024 Six Nations champions, fifth favourites for the title behind France (6/5), Ireland (11/8), England at 7/1 and Scotland (14/1).

If you fancy the Italians, despite their own World Cup struggles, then you cab back them at a whopping 500/1.

But there’s no doubt the 2024 Six Nations is likely to see a changing of the guard in Welsh rugby.

Fresh faces such as Taine Plumtree, Keiron Assiratti, Ben Carter, Teddy Williams, Evans and Rogers have all been included to face the Barbarians and Gatland is likely to keep that new broom sweeping hard into the new year.

“When you look at it, we’ve got such a small playing base,” says Gatland.

“We’ve got to look at how we bring these youngsters on and develop the likes of Sam Costelow, Taine Plumtree, Jac Morgan – who I thought was outstanding and would have learned a lot from his leadership role in France – and Aaron Wainwright, who is still only 25.

“We’ve got some exciting second-rows and backs coming through.

“When you look at the potential we’ve got as a nucleus, and some in the 20s as well, we can be really excited at what we can achieve over the next three or four years.”

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