FORMER Taunton Rugby Club player Sam Skinner has been named in Scotland's starting line-up for their Six Nations match with Italy on Saturday.

Skinner, 24, has been picked as blindside flanker for the clash at Murrayfield, alongside Jamie Ritchie and Ryan Wilson in the back row.

The forward played for Taunton in the 2013/14 season, before moving on to the Exeter Chiefs Academy.

Skinner's Chiefs team-mate, and fellow ex-Taunton player, Ben Moon did not make England's squad for their match with Ireland in Dublin on Saturday.

So who are the leading contenders for the Six Nations this year - and when are the matches?

Let me be your guide...

Six Nations preview

Yes, it’s that time of year when we dust off the old copy of ‘John Inverdale Gaffe Bingo’ and try to recall the difference between a maul and a ruck.

Even non-rugby fans find something to enjoy in the Six Nations Championship, primarily the home nations knocking seven bells out of one another.

The tournament has a new sponsor (goodbye RBS, hello Guinness), and it’s a particularly important year for the six teams, what with the World Cup in Japan this September.

Can anyone dislodge New Zealand as the kings of world rugby? Well, this year’s Six Nations could well point to the Northern Hemisphere frontrunner.

And with Ireland playing Scotland and England taking on France in the World Cup pool stages, there’s a lot at stake.

This is The West Country:

KICK-OFF: The Six Nations captains for 2019. Pic: PA Wire

Defending champions Ireland are the Six Nations favourites, having beaten the All Blacks in the autumn, and they’re odds on with many bookmakers.

With the masterful Jonny Sexton, the prolific Jacob Stockdale and the ever-reliable Peter O’Mahony in their ranks, the Irish will look to lay down a marker in their opening match against England in Dublin.

There’s not much between England and Wales, odds-wise, as both certainly have the potential to beat anyone on their day.

But whereas England are missing key men in Dylan Hartley and Chris Robshaw, Wales are nine matches unbeaten after the Autumn Internationals.

And with both England and Ireland heading to Cardiff, Warren Gatland’s men will undoubtedly have a role to play in the destination of the title.

There’s much more doubt surrounding France and Scotland, both far too unpredictable in their performances and results to tip for much in the way of success.

Scotland, particularly, promise so much, only for an annual loss to Wales to halt any momentum they may have had.

Italy? It’s getting to the point where they need a decent tournament just to quieten the whispers of ‘making up the numbers’.

So, when are the games and where can you watch them from the comfort of your sofa? Look no further...

Friday, February 1 - France v Wales (8pm, BBC)

Saturday, February 2 - Scotland v Italy (2.15pm, BBC), Ireland v England (4.45pm, ITV)

Saturday, February 9 - Scotland v Ireland (2.15pm, BBC), Italy v Wales (4.45pm, ITV)

Sunday, February 10 - England v France (3pm, ITV)

Saturday, February 23 - France v Scotland (2.15pm, BBC), Wales v England (4.45pm, BBC)

Sunday, February 24 - Italy v Ireland (3pm, ITV)

Saturday, March 9 - Scotland v Wales (2.15pm, BBC), England v Italy (4.45pm, ITV)

Sunday, March 10 - Ireland v France (3pm, ITV)

Saturday, March 16 - Italy v France (12.30pm, ITV), Wales v Ireland (2.45pm, BBC), England v Scotland (5pm, ITV)