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Wales the perfect 6N opener

By Kat Merchant.

After our success against New Zealand I am really excited for this years RBS 6 Nations.

Despite having the Christmas break, we've all trained really hard (got to love those anaerobic rows!) and fitness testing on January 2nd ensured that none of us had a big new year.

It was difficult training this Christmas because of the snow. I know I had to be pretty inventive with my training - stair running and circuits in the lounge being one of the sessions with the occasional sledging of course! As a squad we all eat carefully to get the best out of our training, so we try to be especially sensible over Christmas as we all want to start the Six Nations fit and not trying to shift extra holiday weight.

Fitness testing, no matter how hard you train, is always savage and this year was no different with 44 players fighting for a Six Nations squad place. The training weekend went well and we are all focused on working towards gaining our fifth Six Nations title and getting back the Grand Slam. We've learned a lot about ourselves as a squad since the last Six Nations and can't wait to put this in to practice in February and March.

The first game has special significance as it's against Wales, who beat us last year by one point. I was away with the 7s squad in San Diego and Dubai for the first three Six Nations matches, so only played against France and Scotland. However, both the 7s and the 15s experienced disappointment and came back a stronger squad for it. We know how bad it feels to lose and will do everything we can, individually and as a team to win this year. Wales is the perfect game to kick start our Six Nations campaign as they are tough opposition and will set the bar high.

The Six Nations is a massively important tournament in the lead up to the World cup this year. Not only does it allow us to individually face some of best players in our positions, giving us the opportunity to develop our game, it also gives us the chance to gel even more as a team, to try out different combinations and to iron out some of areas we need to improve on. Of course its also a chance for every player in this squad to put their hands up for a world cup place, and thats a massive incentive. Bring on the first game!