sport news SIX NATIONS SPECIAL: Ken Owens will be Wales' and England have not scored a try ...

Well, then. Here we are.

All that build-up, endless who-do-you-think's-gonna-wins, should--be-involveds, which-France-will-turn-ups and we-say-it-every-year-but-this-is-DEFINITELY-the-most-competitive-Six-Nations-evers… it is finally time for the action.

Six Nations – well it's more than that as we will get onto – three matches a weekend and all the fire, fury, fun and frolics to come.

The Championship kicks off this Friday night, so here comes Scrum's the Word with tales of big cats, spies, frozen Frenchmen and Guinean props to keep you informed and entertained.

Let's get into it, yeah?

This year's Six Nations begins on Friday night, while holders Ireland face England on Saturday 

This year's Six Nations begins on Friday night, while holders Ireland face England on Saturday 

NEWS FROM ROUND THE NATIONS

SNEEZY STUART

It's not all glamour in rugby union. Despite big ol' macho players being jetted about to far-flung locations, there is always something to bring you back down to earth.

During our exclusive interview with Stuart Hogg there was one thing we couldn't squeeze in that raised a smile.

Talking about away trips, the Scotland and Glasgow full-back spoke of his not-so idyllic visit to South Africa while playing for his club Glasgow Warriors in the Pro 14.

'Me and Ali Price went on a safari trip and I have an allergy to cats, so my eyes blew up afterwards!' he said.

'It was quite funny. It must include big cats too! I struggle with hay-fever – I don't know whether it was the dry grass or the cats – but my eyes blew up, so I had to go for a shower to get it all washed out, anti-histamine and all that!

'My mother-in-law used to have a cat called Dusty; so when I used to wake up at their house I was sneezing here, there and everywhere.

'The cat went missing… and it has never returned, so since then I have been fine!'

These guys can be human after all.

We'll let you make your own jokes about Hogg and the Lions. To our mind we are above that, and think after 2017 he might still be a bit roar.

Scotland's Stuart Hogg has spoken about his not-so idyllic visit to South Africa with Glasgow

Scotland's Stuart Hogg has spoken about his not-so idyllic visit to South Africa with Glasgow

THE SHERIFFS IN TOWN!

It's the tale of two Sheriffs on the opening weekend of the Six Nations – well a Sheriff and a Cherif.

First the Sheriff of Carmarthen, Cannonball Ken Owens becomes Wales' most-capped hooker when he clinks into the Stade de France and wins his 61st cap on Friday, passing Matthew Rees.

Then it's our mate the Guinean Cherif's turn in Edinburgh on Saturday. Italian Cherif Traore, who we told you about the other week, is on the bench for the Azzurri for the Scotland game.

Cannonball Ken Owens will become Wales' most-capped hooker on Friday with his 61st cap

Cannonball Ken Owens will become Wales' most-capped hooker on Friday with his 61st cap

When he comes on – and here's one to impress your mates in the pub – Guinea will become the 35th nation outside of the six to be represented in the Championship via a player's birth.

If your mates have not poured their pint over you already after that banger, see if they can get the rest. There's no way you'll know them all…

Nations represented in the Six Nations by a players' birth: Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Fiji, Germany, Guinea-Bissau, Holland, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Martinique, Mauritius, Morocco, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Spain, Namibia, Tonga, Trinidad, USA, Vanuatu, Samoa, Wallis & Futuna, Zaire, Zambia

A big thank you to statsman extraordinaire Stu Farmer for those – and if your mates got Wallis & Futuna you'd better buy the next round.

Guinea will become the 35th nation outside the six to be represented, thanks to Cherif Traore 

Guinea will become the 35th nation outside the six to be represented, thanks to Cherif Traore 

FRIDAY NIGHT FEVER?

Surely the only people who like Friday night matches, if anyone, are those who watch on the television.

Wales play France in Paris to kick off the tournament – it'll be roaring, belting, boozy stuff, and could well be the match of the weekend – but it kicks off at 9pm local time.

What a horror-show. For fans Stade de France is a notoriously difficult ground to get to and from and it's probably going to be close to sub-zero conditions, with even a potential flurry of snow.

Luckily they have installed under-soil heating at the ground since the farce when the Ireland match there was called off just before kick-off in 2012, so at least it won't freeze over.

Don't get us started on boring things like newspaper print deadlines, as we know you're not bothered with that, but take a minute to consider the players in all this.

With a 9pm kick-off we won't be at half-time until quarter to 10, then it'll be around an hour later when the match finishes.

Next it's all the post-match palaver. Getting off the field might take them to 11pm, then it's media duties until midnight at least.

Scrum's the Word understands Wales then have to attend an official post-match function in Paris, which they will leave the ground for at a quarter past midnight.

The Wales team will attend a post-match function in Paris in the early hours of Saturday

The Wales team will attend a post-match function in Paris in the early hours of Saturday

So by the time they have had their dinner with the suits – surely the last thing the teams enjoy doing – and have let the adrenaline subside from the match it will be so late it's early.

Factor in the fact that their preparations will have had to have been altered, they will have slept and eaten at strange times and had to worry about a Test match all day, it is a shabby situation.

Back in 2011 Sir Alex Ferguson said of TV channels dictating Premier League football kick-off times: 'When you shake hands with the devil you have to pay the price.'

And the Welsh and French players will be forking out on Friday.

ENGLAND AWAY FROM IRISH EYES

Not your traditional Six Nations preparation for either Ireland or England in the build-up to their huge match this Saturday – both had the same idea and trained in Portugal.

England have trained down on the Algarve near Vilamoura since Eddie Jones took over, and this time Ireland stationed themselves down the road in Quinta do Lago.

During our exclusive chat with Ireland captain Rory Best he

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