I had a pretty good opening weekend predictions-wise, with only Ireland letting me down by not beating Italy by as many points as I thought they might.
Here are my views on the games in Round 2.
England v Italy
England’s performance in Cardiff last week was impressive. Not because it was an all-singing all-dancing annihilation like that Australia game, but because it was composed, assured and confident – and England finally look as though they have a gameplan.
Italy gave Ireland a shock in Rome and are no longer underestimated in this competition. However, Ireland were dreadful and Italy still didn’t win at home, so I really can’t see them getting a result at Twickenham. England ought to have a Plan B if things don’t go their way, and I’d expect them to win relatively comfortably.
My SportGuru prediction: England by 13
Scotland v Wales
Injuries and circumstance mean that Wales are slightly in disarray at the moment, and Warren Gatland has gambled by moving James Hook to fly-half. Those in favour might thank the public pressure on the coach to find some creative spark, but is it a sensible move? I’m not convinced.
Scotland will be encouraged by the three-try performance at the Stade de France. Deep down, they probably knew they wouldn’t win that game, and so to come away feeling positive is ideal. Their pack will want to respond after being comfortably second best last week, and what better opportunity than the under-strength Welsh pack?
My SportGuru prediction: Scotland by 6
Ireland v France
France put on the best performance of Round 1, showing glimpses of brilliance as well as a brutal display of scrummaging. Their Away form is pretty shaky, but this is their first away game for some time, and their efforts on Saturday suggest that their dark days might be behind them.
On the other hand, Ireland were abysmal in Rome. Silly errors prevented any sort of continuity, and they were lucky to escape with a win. The front five is a particular concern, given the way the Scots were treated in Paris, and if Ireland can’t compete in the set piece, they’ll be in for a long afternoon.
My SportGuru prediction: France by 8