Six Nations 2017: Players to watch

Story highlights

  • Six Nations starts Saturday
  • England defends its grand slam

(CNN)The Northern Hemisphere's best rugby-playing countries are primed for the 2017 Six Nations, which begins Saturday.

Defending champion England was unbeaten in last year's tournament and has gone 13 matches without defeat under head coach Eddie Jones, and 14 overall.
But Ireland -- the 2014 and 2015 champion -- is also a form side in world rugby having toppled the All Blacks in Chicago last year.
    Those two teams will be favorites, but France, Wales, Italy and Scotland will all look to spring an upset in what is traditionally an impossible tournament to try to predict.
    From speedy wingers to massive centers, we ask the experts -- including three national team coaches -- to pick their players to watch at this year's Six Nations.
    In the opening weekend, Scotland hosts Ireland, France visits England's stronghold Twickenham and, on Sunday, Wales goes to Rome to take on Italy.