Having been let down by Scotland in their miserable performance against Wales, I need a successful weekend to get back towards the top of the league.
Italy v Wales
I thought this would be a potential scalp for Italy after the opening weekend, but then Wales won at Murrayfield and Italy capitulated at Twickenham, so I’ve changed my mind.
The Welsh set piece could come under some pressure, but it held up reasonably well against England and Scotland, and their back row is beginning to look fairly mean.
I expect Italian confidence to be knocked after their thrashing by England, and the Welsh will be much more upbeat now that their losing run has ended, and I can see a comfortable Welsh victory.
My SportGuru prediction: Wales by 19
England v France
If you think Wales by 19 is a bit punchy, wait until you see this one – I’m quietly confident that England will see off the French.
Marc Lievremont’s mindless comments and defensive selection contrasts beautifully with the confidence emanating from the England camp at the moment, and the message from Johnno and the boys is that they’ll focus on their own game and they believe they are good enough to win it.
England’s pack should be good enough to contain the French – although the scrum will be a mighty battle – and the attack should be able to breach a defence that has already leaked six tries in the tournament.
There are lots of unknowns, but England seem to have a plan at last.
My SportGuru prediction: England by 13
Scotland v Ireland
Like the Italy v Wales game, if you’d asked me to predict this after Round 1, it would be very different. In Round 2, Ireland were significantly improved from the first week, whilst Scotland went backwards pretty quickly.
It seems as though Ireland will look to play for territory, which seems like a sensible plan given the way that Morgan Parra punished them in their own half in Dublin – and Scotland have Chris ‘the kicking machine’ Paterson returning at full-back.
Surely Scotland won’t be as bad as they were in Round 2, but it’s certainly a mental setback, and Ireland will be out for revenge after last year’s surprise defeat at home on the final weekend.
My SportGuru prediction: Ireland by 10