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England’s momentum from their back-to-back defeats of the Wallabies was brought to a shuddering halt in their 21-11 loss to South Africa.
Wales, meanwhile, could not pick up a victory in the autumn after a winless summer tour while Ireland’s only successes came in the defeats of Samoa and Argentina.
With Italy just scraping past Fiji, the form team of the Northern Hemisphere was Andy Robinson’s Scotland who have won five of their last six games.
The one blip in that run was a heavy 49-3 loss to the All Blacks – a result that means Robinson will not be getting carried away.
“The New Zealand game was a good reminder for us of where we are,” said Robinson who was part of the same group of coaches as last year for the first time in a decade.
"My challenge - and the rest of the management - is to make sure the way we set the team up is right and then that the players are at their best going into each game we play.
“"If you look through history Scotland have always been able to produce one-off performances. What we want is to be able to do it week after week."
Under-pressure France coach Marc Lievremont referred to their thrashing by Australia as a ‘disaster’ but Azzurri boss Nick Mallett believes Les Bleus are still the team to beat.
He said: “France are the Six Nations team with the most talent but sometimes that makes it complicated for a coach to select his team.
“In November they beat Argentina and Fiji and it was only in the second half against Australia that things came apart because it was 13-13 at halftime.
“They always have the most potential to win the competition and I am sure they will come back very strongly.”
Sparks are bound to fly in Wales’ opening clash against England with Dylan Hartley at the centre of a brewing storm between the sides.
Wales coach Warren Gatland did not hold back in criticising the hooker for his part in some feisty encounters between Northampton and Cardiff Blues.
England counterpart Martin Johnson however quickly turned the tables on Gatland’s criticism saying: “Warren has done it before with mixed success to say the least. Let's see what happens this time.
“It was very premature, 10-11 days away from the game but that's how some people react to the pressure.
“Where Wales are, they are under pressure as a team in terms of their performances and not winning a game for a while, it was not unexpected.”
Gatland though stood by his comments maintaining it has merely added to the interest of a first Friday night encounter between the sides.
He said: “I hope the words are going to be used as motivation.
“Do I regret making the comments? No, not at all. We needed to sell a couple of thousand tickets and I am on a basic from the BBC.
“There's always a bit of spice between England and Wales. We will see how Dylan responds.”
Meanwhile Irish captain Brian O’Driscoll is happy for all the other teams to be at the centre of attention.
He said: “If you're going on recent form I don't know how much under the radar we've managed to slip," he said.
“We had a reasonable November series - we won two and lost two.
“Plenty of other sides did better than us but we're quietly confident that if we get our game together we'll be in the hunt in some capacity.”