RBS 6 Nations 2011: Round 2 Predictions

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

8 thoughts on “RBS 6 Nations 2011: Round 2 Predictions

  1. I have a question…I am in the US and am fairly new to the sport of Rugby so I don’t have the answers that perhaps you in more ‘Rugby Friendly’ countries have. I have been reading all of the online sites and I have never seen an article or even a comment on this question: WHY are so many top players in England, Scotland and Wales defecting to FRANCE, of all places? And, when they DO, WHY are you letting them return just for the honor of playing for the National team? I would think that such choices SHOULD have consequences (like not being able to play for your country’s team in either 6 Nations or World Cup).

  2. Jim: Why players move to France – money/lifestyle/quality of competition/opportunity

    Why should they return to play – they only have to be available for national training days and it’s only a short flight back to the UK so it doesn’t really impact on their ability to be part of the national squad.
    They’re not defecting from the national team, just going to pursue their career at a different club. The negative effect is on the quality of the home club tournaments (Aviva Prem/Magners League) but in reality there are enough younger players pushing to come through and enough of the home grown talent who don’t want to move to France that it doesn’t affect the quality too much.

  3. Jim, as an addition to Spike’s comment, the French clubs are able to offer vastly higher salaries than the UK clubs. The Premiership union imposes salary caps for the squads whereas none exists in France, with the bigger teams backed by very wealthy individuals who can afford to offer large packages to the more exciting players.

    That, the lifestyle, and the opportunity to gain experience through a different playing environment (which has in fact seemed to benefit a lot of UK players and seen them improve) is a big pull to many.

  4. Thanks for the answers, guys. I have to admit that ‘money’ was my first guess and coming from an American who is more familiar with NFL rather than Rugby, my thought was ‘Oh heck…RGU is going to turn into the NFL’. I’ve see how those salaries have hurt both club and player and was hoping that the rugger was a different breed. Sorry, guys. In my opinion the man hasn’t been created yet who is worth 1M$ a year much less what these NFL guys are getting. As for returning to play for your country, Spike, I do understand your point. However (maybe this is a difference in American culture) I feel that if you leave your country to make your money in another, that you are showing disloyality to the country whose citizenship you hold and on those grounds you shouldn’t be allowed to play for the National team. Wilkenson is a PRIME example…knighted twice and then goes to play in France, of all places.

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