The 6 Nations kicks off this coming Friday and here are my predictions for round 1.
First here is a link to my tournament preview.
Wales v England
Gatland has been playing mind games already with the normal talk about the roof being open or closed. Also this year Gatland has named his team 2 days early. This didn’t reveal anything as the team is exactly as would be expected. What it was saying is that he knows his best team and Lancaster doesn’t. This is all fun for us supporters but shouldn’t have any real impact on the camps.
One of the interesting things is that all the press coverage is on the game from two years ago when Wales won convincingly in Cardiff. There is no mention that England won the last time these two teams met in London. Clearly as these two teams meet in the group stages of the World Cup it is the big game of the weekend. Wales with the settled side who know the game plan and have no injuries should win. The only question is how much rugby training as opposed fitness training have they done? Garland has been stating that the only goal this year is the World Cup but winning now would be a good confidence booster.
England have loads of injuries and questions about selection. Even with the injuries the pack will be formidable the question really is among the backs and how will the centre pairing play? I’m expecting England to try and play with width and pace but stumble as the players don’t know each other. So Wales in Cardiff I feel with be too much.
Italy v Ireland
Italy were last in 2014 and they only won one game in the rest of the year so there is no form coming into this competition. Ireland on the other hand only lost once last year and with their November performances are being talked up as RWC contenders. This is an easy one to call as an away win. However Ireland do have injury concerns but not as bad as England. Also Ireland don’t cope well with the favourite tag such as losing in Rome two years ago. But that previous result should stop any complacency and most of the players should be used to being favourites by now having played for Munster or Leinster.
France v Scotland
It’s a cliché that we don’t know which French team will turn up but it’s also true. We don’t know who will get selected and we don’t know what style they will choose to play. What we do know is that they are the most successful 6 nations country with 5 championships. But that hides a poor recent record having not won since 2010 and picking up the wooden spoon two years ago.
Scotland on the other hand are coming off one of their best November set of games in memory. There have been false dawns in the past but I have not heard so much positivity about Scotland in a very long time. However Scotland have a very poor record against France, having not beaten them since 2006 and not wining in France since 1999.
So I’m backing a home win but not with much confidence, if Scotland start well we could be in for a historic result.
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