The 6 Nations has been its usual tense gripping tournament, unfortunately the Rugby World Cup has cast a shadow on the quality of play. I think that we need bonus points and to stop being so focussed on the Grand Slam over winning the thing. That’s all the topic for another blog post, for now here are my round 4 predictions.
First here is a link to my round-up of last weekend’s action.
How did your round 3 predictions go?
3 from 3, a clean sweep! Great result.
Ireland v Italy
Neither of these sides have won a game yet in the tournament. Ireland have been closest with their opening round draw against Wales. For them it’s been an injury assisted Rugby World Cup hangover from that blitzing by Argentina. What it has shown up is how shallow the Irish pool of players is. Their first 15 is a match for anyone in the world but their preparation of the next level down has not been good enough. For example Madigan was kept out of the 10 jersey by Gopperth when Sexton was in France. For Italy it’s not a Rugby World Cup hangover they are just a struggling side. Their best players go to France and so can’t be looked after by the union. The two Pro12 sides continue to struggle. Even with Ireland’s injuries and hangover I can’t see them losing this one at home.
Ireland by 10
England v Wales
The clash of the weekend and the game that should decide who wins the championship. England are the last side that can still complete a Grand Slam, one of the questions is how much will that pressure play on the minds of the players? I think that Eddie Jones will have been able to take the minds of players off that. Gatland will also have his players heads in the right place. Both these sides have shown really good defence but have been very mixed attacking. So this is going to come down to whose defence and discipline holds up to a bashing. I’m going with England because they are at home and have shown, in glimpses, that they are better at moving the ball wide.
England by 5
Scotland v France
Scotland finally managed to win a game against a limited Italian side. Even then though they let Italy back into the game. That lack of composure/belief/confidence, what ever you want to call it won’t disappear after one moral boosting win. This French side is one of the poorest in living memory but somehow they have managed to get some results. I expect Scotland to play the better rugby but for the French to batter them with power. In the end that power will lead to Scottish errors and I see France winning a close one.
France by 3
Do you agree with my predictions? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter.