We recently caught up with ex England Captain Fran Cotton to hear his thoughts on the upcoming 6 nations, the game back in his day and his advice to anyone new to the game.
Name: Fran Cotton
Position: Tight-head prop
National Teams: England
What’s your view on the new ‘era’ England Squad?
It was needed after the World Cup display. But after seeing the squad I have never been so nervous about an England Team going into a 6 Nations! We are very quickly going to find out who is good enough to play for England!
What do you make of the youngsters making their debut in England squad for the six nations?
Total lack of experience but Stuart Lancaster has chosen the best he is able to. Some of the players are not even in the first 15 for their clubs!
Which player is the “one to watch” at the Six nations?
It has got to be Sam Warburton of Wales. The Welsh have got to look to the future and keep him as permanent captain; he is only 23 and already an outstanding flanker who will only get better.
Who is your tip to win?
France. They have a superb new coach in Philippe Saint-André who is outstanding at getting the best out of his players; it’s something he did very well when he was at Sale Sharks. It spells danger to the rest of the teams and I expect them to win the championship.
I’d say England with this new look squad.
Which of the then 5 nation’s teams did you get up for the most when you played?
France. They had the best pack of forwards and it was always a hell of a match up and the toughest challenge. In 1976 they had Gerard Cholley a Heavy weight French Army Boxing Champion, Hooker Alain Paco and Robert Paperemborde one of the greatest forwards to ever play. You had no option you had to be up for it!
Any of the then 5 nations teams did you get didn’t enjoy playing?
Wales. We never beat them and it was always a struggle to compete. The team was made up 8 or 9 world class players who were just a lot better than England at the time. It was frustrating but it was the truth. But they were one of the greatest teams to ever play the game so it was never going to be easy!
Best ever try in the competition?
My 5 yard burst across the line against Scotland in 1974!
What are you up to these days?
What advice would you give to someone wanting to try rugby?
Just get down to your local club, one that runs a successful mini rugby section and give it a try.