The 2007 RBS 6 Nations tournament is going to be very interesting for two reasons.
The first is because it's now very competitive and every team is capable of beating everyone on their day.
Even the outsiders like Italy and Scotland have a chance and Scotland must still be considered outsiders even though they did very well last year.
The other reason it will be interesting is because it's a World Cup year and that will be a target because for many players it will be their last chance to stake a clain for the World Cup.
It gives the fringe players a chance to get a starting position in the first XV in time for the World Cup and that will bring extra passion to the games as the players will be determined to show their ability.
It's also the last chances the coaches will get to see what the standard is before the World Cup. I don't think there is any question of teams playing with the handbrake on because it's World Cup year. It will be a good tournament.
Ireland and France are the favourites. Two seasons ago, the Irish could have won and people have been expecting them to do so for a while. This is another chance for them to show what they are capable of - winning a Triple Crown is one thing but winning a Grand Slam is another.
France are also potential winners and they are the home team for the World Cup so they have not got long left to get themselves ready.
England will start to come back but I am not sure if they have enough time to get back to where they used to be because they need time under the new coach (Brian Ashton).
Scotland and Italy will be the outsiders. Italy have to win games this year; they have done well and have some young players. We must do better than last year and not go close to winning but actually win some games.