A bit of a mixed opening round to the 6 Nations. Wales saw off a poor Italy, Ireland and Scotland was error strewn and finally we saw the rebirth of France against an England side that could do nothing right (except Jonny May). It’s a quick turnaround for round 2 before the 6 nations takes a weekend break. Here’s how I see Round 2 going.
You can help to fuel DrivingMaul with a coffee over on the right of the page.
Ireland v Wales – Ireland by 5
We have to go back to 2015 for the last time that Wales won in Dublin. This year they have started with a comfortable win over a limited Italy. We should remember that Italy did find some gaps in the Welsh defence in that first half. Also Wales took a long time to get that TBP. At halftime it looked like it was coming but didn’t arrive until the last 5 minutes.
What will give Wales some hope is that Ireland weren’t great. They won their line outs but then couldn’t get the maul going. However Ireland’s kicking was spot on and defence held strong. One area that I think Ireland need to work on is their composure. They are a team that if you niggle them they do lose focus on playing. I expect there to be plenty going on off the ball that we don’t notice unless we get the slow mo replays.
Join me straight after the final whistle for post match reaction to Ireland v Wales.
Scotland v England – England by 5
The two sides with the most errors in their opening games come head to head. Both sides will be looking to move on from last weekend’s games. A lot of people are saying that they couldn’t see what England were trying to do. I disagree, they opened up trying to setup a maul in open play and spinning the ball. That though all failed so they reverted to a one out simple game plan. Unfortunately for them they didn’t have either Vunipola or Tuilagi so couldn’t get over the gain line.
Scotland made too many mistakes and whilst Hastings had a decent game I think that they need the magic that Russell can bring. They bashed away at the Irish defence several times. However the only time they got over the whitewash Hogg dropped the ball. It’s something that he’d probably only do once in a hundred times but it was this time and cost Scotland dearly. As did their disciplin, it’s something they are going to have to sort out with a goal kicker like Farrell coming to town.
Join me straight after the final whistle for post match reaction to Scotland v England.
France v Italy – France by 20
This is the easiest call of the weekend across all competitions probably. France got a good win where as Italy failed to score a point. What we need to see from France is an improvement in their set piece. Last weekend a failure in this area meant that they had to do a lot more defending than they will have liked.
For Italy it’s a matter of showing that they are progressing more than anything else. I fully expect for the social media noise to get higher and higher that they should be kicked out. However there’s no one ready to step up. Georgia have never beaten a tier 1 country and lost to Italy recently. Also this tournament is about money and Georgia’s economy isn’t big enough to force a change.
Record So Far
3 from 3 or 100%, a perfect start to the tournament.
Women’s 6 Nations
The Women’s 6 Nations is also taking place with the fixtures copying the men’s tournament.
|France v Italy||France by 10|
|Scotland v England||England by 40|
|Ireland v Wales||Ireland by 3|
From now on it’s fairly simple for the picks. Go for England and France then have a think about the other game. Wales might be higher up the World Rankings than Ireland but the women in green are at home. Also I think this drop has been a temporary blip maybe in their WRWC cycle. We will see.
Record So Far
2 from 3 or 67%, I got the big game between France and England wrong.
Don’t miss out by signing-up for the DrivingMaul newsletter that comes out every Thursday with links to all the best posts and videos.