The Six Nations is one of those international rugby tournaments that brings in new fans that wouldn't be following the provinces struggles. They aren't helped by the cliches that are peddled out every year, one's like "Which France will turn up today?", and some beliefs that go about just aren't true anymore.
We've decided to set the record straight and have clarified five cliches that are just plain wrong.
1. "Which France Will Turn Up?"
This shouldn't be a question any more. Not since pre World Cup 2011 have France looked anything like the stereotypical maverick selves. Their game is turgid, awful viewing and is increasingly reliant on over-powering the opposition. Gone are the days where the French off-the-cuff brilliance wins game. The French don't even have the ability to play off-the-cuff anymore.
France will not be a threat to anyone in this tournament, and if Ireland don't beat them comfortably in the second week, we should be worried. The only thing stopping France from claiming the wooden spoon will be how bad Italy are.
2. Wales Having A Settled Team Is A Good Thing
Wales are being heralded as favourites because they have the most settled team, with the longest serving coach and everyone knows what the game-plan is. But that's exactly the problem - everyone knows what the game-plan is. That includes the entire opposition.
Don't get me wrong, Wales are very very good at that game plan. But it's easy for intelligent coaches to counter the Welsh strengths and we've seen Joe Schmidt and Stuart Lancaster do just that in recent years. There's a reason Wales have struggled against the Southern Hemipshere teams too.
3. There's A Massive Gap Between The North And Southern Hemispheres
The main take-away from the World Cup is that the Six Nations is just a second division for the Rugby Championship. This is false, and a too easy assumption from those unwilling to look any further. The gap is between New Zealand and everyone else.
In the World Cup, New Zealand hammered a bad French team. Let's not tar the rest of Europe with France's mediocrity. But Scotland put it up to Australia and should have won. Wales narrowly lost to South Africa. An second-string Ireland team shorn of leaders lost to a very good Argentina side. There are reasons for each loss.
Play all of those games again, and I promise that it won't be a clean sweep for the Southern Hemisphere every time.
The gap is reducing, and there will be more Northern Hemisphere victories over the South in November than usual.
4. Ireland Don't Have Any Depth
A lot of pundits outside of Ireland think that because of the big injuries we've suffered - Peter O'Mahony, Iain Henderson, Mike Ross, Cian Healy, and others - that we will struggle. Apparently we have a shallow player pool and we struggle without certain players.
Except, Ireland have never had a bigger player pool. Youngsters are coming through at a rate that hasn't been seen before causing a serious clog of talent at a lot of positions for the national side. We have more backrows, loosehead props, centres, and especially wings than we know what to do with - while youngsters like Ross Molony, Garry Ringrose, Denis Buckley, Stuart McCloskey, and Jack O'Donoghue bode well for strong futures and depth.
Attention rest of the world: "We have depth, we can handle some injuries." That said, there are two or three players who we'd struggle to replace - with Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton being two of those.
5. Scotland Will Be Bottom Dwellers Again
Nobody fancies the poor Scots. Last year's 'winners' of the wooden spoon, it's been tough for Scotland in the last 15 editions of the Six Nations. Times are changing though. First there are some exciting youngsters breaking through - Mark Bennett, Finn Russell, and Stuart Hogg are outstanding players who are improving, they have some quality players becoming nationalised, and their coach Vern Cotter is a great rugby mind.
Scotland showed flashes of potential last year, and were extremely unlucky in four of their five games not to get a victory. This improvement manifested itself in the World Cup, and Scotland will not finish in the bottom two teams for this tournament. They will push Wales, England, and Ireland hard and could easily finish in the top three.