RBS 6 Nations 2012 Predictions: Round 1

SportGuruIt feels like a long time coming since the Rugby World Cup, but the 2012 RBS 6 Nations finally gets underway this weekend.

It will be good to get back to some international rugby after the World Cup fallout, but at the start of the new four-year cycle, it’s difficult to know how any of the sides will perform.

France look dangerous but will they be organised? Wales have injury issues and are they over-hyped? Ireland seem to be settled, but are they being too cautious? England look young and inexperienced, but will that go against them in a tough competition? Scotland could put a few wins together, but don’t we say that every year? And as for Italy, which scalp will they take this time?

Only time will tell, but here are my predictions for this weekend’s matches.

France v Italy: France by 23

What a famous win it was last year by the Azzurri in Rome, but I can’t see that happening this year. Looking down the respective teamsheets, there’s no way you could back Italy in this one – the French have so much talent that they can afford to leave Imanol Harinordoquy on the bench, whilst the Italians still rely on Sergio Parisse.

Italy are often difficult to break down and not many teams rack up big scores against them, but I still think France will. They have an incredible back row that should provide enough ball for their backs to cut loose, and I’ve gone for a comfortable France victory.

The Paddy Power handicap for this one is France -21, so they seem to agree (I never check handicaps before making predictions by the way, just in case it affects what I really think), and the average SportGuru prediction is France by 16.

Scotland v England: England by 5

Who knows? Murrayfield is a very tough place to play, and the Scots will certainly fancy their chances. They’ve not lost to England there since 2004, and they have selected a side that’s capable of wearing a team down and grinding out a win. Dan Parks has been slated before a game in the past only to completely dominate, so I won’t be doing that, but it is likely he’ll orchestrate a territorial gameplan and try to put pressure on England.

Stuart Lancaster’s young England charges are very much an unknown quantity, but they have a solid pack and by picking the Saracens midfield, they should be able to exert enough control over the game to play it their way. For all his faults in the past, Charlie Hodgson is still an excellent distributor, and with Owen Farrell alongside him, we may just see England trying to play expansively.

I’m not expecting a wonderful spectacle of running rugby – there will be mistakes and Scotland will look to keep it tight to frustrate their opposition (particularly if it chucks it down with rain), but I’m nervously backing a narrow England win.

The Paddy Power handicap is England -3, and the average SportGuru prediction is also England by 3.

Ireland v Wales

Didn’t Wales have an incredible World Cup? They almost won it, didn’t they? No, they didn’t. They lost to the Springboks, beat the other lower-ranked nations in their group, then put in one fine performance against Ireland to make it through to the semis before the wheels came off and they lost to France. I was sent a commemorative coffee table book charting Wales’ wonderful World Cup campaign – has any other nation ever produced a commemorative book for coming fourth?

I think Wales are hugely over-hyped. The potential is undeniable, given the age of their squad and the talent in the first-choice line-up, but to say they are world-beaters is over-egging it somewhat. They were joint favourites for the title at one stage, but their recent injury crisis has put paid to that unfortunately, and I think they’ll struggle to win in Dublin this weekend.

Ireland left New Zealand quietly, with their heads held high and will have been observing the hype with thoughts of revenge in their opening Six Nations game. They should have the edge over a Welsh pack decimated by injury, the side is reasonably settled with a blend of youth and experience, and the Irish provinces have been dominant in the Heineken Cup – it all points to an Irish victory for me, and I’ve gone for Ireland by 5.

The Paddy Power handicap is exactly that, Ireland -5, but I’d still be tempted to back Ireland with that handicap. The average SportGuru prediction is Ireland by 1.

What are your predictions for this weekend’s matches? Have you joined our SportGuru league yet?

26 thoughts on “RBS 6 Nations 2012 Predictions: Round 1

  1. Agree with the Wales RWC thing, they just got the Next Big Thing treatment based on so little.Wales will do poorly results wise this 6Nations, France to dominate Ireland should go well and my ENGLAND may surprise most. Italy have a terrific Pack they just need some 3/4s. Scotland will not advance far even with the ridiculous Robinson tub-thumping.

  2. France and Ireland yes. Sco v Eng. I think it depends on the weather. A wet windy stick it up your jumper type day will favour the Scots and I can see them grinding out the win. Better conditions might favour England who probably have the better strike runners, although the team hasn’t been together as long as you would like. Club combinations will help though. I’d favour the Scots to shade it 6 or 7 times out of ten but with this England team and how little we know about the players (as a unit) and the coaching – anything could happen!

  3. Just looked for the weather forecast for eng v scot, and guess what, it is due to rain heavily all afternoon. More of less gives the Scots the win, with their incredibly dull lets run down the middle style play, boring all opposition into making mistakes. I feel sorry for those of you who have to watch Scotland throughout the 6 nation, good cure for insomnia though!

    1. You making excuses already for England to lose against a second tier nation, how poor do you think England really are.

  4. Love how you completely become negative towards wales. Still they finished forth losing to france in
    The wc by 1 point. And what heart they showed and fight to play with 14 men against 16 french no other home nation did that in the world cup.ireland got out played england where a shambles, and scotland, italy and france just the same as they always are. Ireland too old too slow wales are the better team on the day. I think wales v france be the decider! But this weekend o predict scotland, wales and france all to win

    1. “against 16 French”

      Come on, less of the childish attitude. Warburton accepted the sending off as correct, time for you to grow up and accept it too? Had you been English and said something like this, you would have been called ‘arrogant as usual’

    2. I was probably a little unfair on Wales, but the point I was trying to make was that they are over-hyped and I don’t think they’ll live up to expectations going into this tournament. And that was before they had all their injury problems…

    3. Wales have the players and potential but they don’t have the results, yet after the RWC everyone was talking about them like they were gods. So until they can back up potential with results they are very over hyped.

      It’s not a critism of the players as it’s not them doing the hyping.

      1. Forgetting the World Cup distracting comments which are fair enough as Wales won nothing (after previous debacles the tournament was refreshing enough for us anyway being one red card away from a final ) I think Wales are very much the underdogs in Dublin . However even if we lose that one I think the final game against France could still be a title decider with three home games and an as yet untried England team at Twickenham to come .

  5. So should I assume England are currently at the same level of Italy?? All this hype about the Scots being favourites, well its rather funny. How can we be classed as a lesser opposition to the scots, who have scored 1 try in about 15 years. England will win by 20 and there will be a very,very red faced robinson punching his box at the dismal stadium Scotland call home.

      1. Don’t think you can use anything you saw in the RWC to guess how this England team will perform! Also as hopeless and clueless as they were, they still beat Scotland!

        1. Ben, until England start playing rugby at club level their international Team will never play a brand of rugby that will make them World Champions again, your set up is filled with fear and scared of giving away possession or losing the ball, rugby has changed, the ” sticking the ball up the jumper ” routine will not work – how bored are your three quarters and wingers must be. The world of rugby needs a strong England – your player base is the biggest in the world but look at the state of your national Team – pathetic at best

  6. Good blog mate so cheers for that. I’m going to the England Wales game on the 25th February which I think will decide whether the 6 Nations is a boom or bust for this inexperienced squad. 3 wins out of 3 is a good platform regardless of whether they win the next couple. This Scotland v England game has the propensity to be incredibly engrossing for the patriots and phenomenally dull for the neutrals. I think it will be a cracker though. There’ll be mistakes, but both teams have the players to capitalise on these mistakes by converting them into points. Personally I’m most interested in the effect on the Scottish psyche the pre-match hype generates. They are used to being underdogs fighting against the arrogant English. But Lancaster and the squad have been very cautious and the team has been humbled by a poor RWC. People claim this Scotland team have taken steps forwards, and played well against England in the group stage. However, England were at their worst, and Scotland at their best. So currently whilst the match is deemed even I can’t see anything but a Sweet Chariot victory. #smelltheroses

  7. I agree Wales got swept away in the moment after beating Ireland at the World Cup. Having said that, I think we are a strong side when we are at full strength. This weekend, we are not. The only positive is that Brian O’Driscoll is out for Ireland… That doesn’t make up for the losses of Dan Lydiate, Alun Wyn Jones, et al., but it does go some way to redressing the balance. Having Roberts and Priestland passed fit is HUGE for us, but ultimately I see Ireland winning 23-18, or a similar score.

    I think Italy will put up a spiritied performance in the first half, but France will steamroll them in the second half. 33-9 to France.

    Scotland v England is always an interesting game. Every year, the passion Scotland have for beating England is used as some kind of extra edge they have (a bit like Wales v England, I guess, except Wales have a better side than Scotland currently). When it comes down to it, though, I think england have a stronger side and that will be the difference in a slow-tempo, in-the-trenches type of game. England to win 23-13 (yes, I think Scotland will score a try!)

  8. I also predicted one result incorrectly, I felt that scotland would win. The difference with my predictions compared to those of Hutch is that Scotland should have won but in Wales’ case, the two point margin didn’t do justice to the stats, the missed kicks and the the try that never ‘wasn’t’. There was no reason not to award Ryan Jones a try, which would have been the outcome had the ref asked that very question.
    As for the World cup view, what a load of rubbish, Wales outplayed SA, they also outplayed France with 14 men. The only reason they lost both matches was missed kicks! 4 th place doesn’t get close to being a fair reflection of what they achieved.
    Every world cup is full of ifs and buts, eg, NZ didn’t deserve to win the final, but no-one would begrudge them the victory since they were the best team throughout. SA should never have lost to the Aussies. Both the Argies and Scots should have beaten England.
    Wales were the one team that had the game to beat NZ, and given that confidence is such a big part of their game, had Warburton not gone off, and simple and other lockable kicks gone over, I’m certain that Wales would be the current World champs.

    Injuries are now the key for Wales, plus of course a consistent goal kicker. wales should have been out of sight on Sunday and if they click next Sunday, then I feel sorry for the Scots.
    3 teams are still in the Grand Slam, and the same three could still be in it after the second round. I’m withholding any championship predictions until the third round since from the best three teams, only two won their first match as the Wales v Ireland match could easily have been a championship decider if the schedule was the other way round.

  9. Dylan that’s a strongly biased view. I would completely agree they were the best Six Nations team at the RWC but 4th was a fair reflection of their position. New Zealand were the best team and South Africa and Australia beat Wales. I don’t see how you can dispute that. It’s a ludicrous point when you look at the cold hard facts. Yes they were close, so close in both their final matches, but perhaps that just highlights something they’re missing. It’s what England used to have. The ability to shut down the opposition and close games out when they are tight. Much as England don’t play flowing rugby, Wales don’t play intelligent rugby. Which makes their matches enjoyable, but will always be a source of frustration when you come to Grand Slam deciders and RWC semis.

    Take the blinkers off.

  10. Also bit of a random question but can a kicker collect his own restart? Would be a flair move if the opposition don’t line up well enough.

  11. Ive always noticed that Wales always get put down time after time, evan though they do get win after win, i really dont understand how anyone can put down a team when they end up with wins, This new young squad that wales got is a very dominate team, England are down the pan, They beat Ireland this weekend after all the predictions that Ireland would win, they beat Ireland in the world cup despite once again “Ireland would win” When is anyone going to say that wait a minute we do need to watch out for these, i think this will be another Grand Slam for Wales, yes i said it Grand Slam, that means the underestimated team Wales is going to Win all there matches, Please anyone reading this post Watch the matches Wales play and stop talking cr*p from years ago, Ireland is too old, England cant put a decent young team together they struggle against scotland, the French too old, oh and dont forget that wales lost by a few points to france in the world cup evan though they played with 14 players, all in all Watch out for wales most teams cant keep up with there standards !

  12. Hey Kieran,

    Wales are a good team, have been for some time though, and if you look at the pundits predictions they were forecasted to come 2nd/3rd with Ireland, which I’m sure will now be revised with them in the driving seat after the weekend.

    However what you haven’t appreciated is nobody disagrees they are a good team, we just don’t think they can win a world cup. I don’t think France deserved to win through to the final, but all 3 of the southern hemisphere teams were better than them. Additionally at this 6 Nations, I have little doubt, barring a classic implosion from the frogs, that France should win. They are by far and away the most talented team and no they are not old. They have quite possibly got a player who could be the greatest no. 8 in history, a big, strong, fast and talented back line and powerful pack.

    Wales are a great team, but when England were great they were also pragmatic. I can’t see Wales capitalising. I do hope they win the Grand Slam if England aren’t going to show up though. Also a point on the English, they were crap on the weekend in attack. Resilient in defence. But they were hugely inexperienced against a fired up Scotland. If they can grow in confidence they could spring a surprise in this Championship. Although I still feel we need the Toby Flood, Owen Farrell, Tuilagi midfield to achieve this.

  13. sport guru my a**e …. wales controlled each game pretty well but again you put them down … i bet this year every one thinks wales will flop every game and end up winning the triple crwon at least !!!!

  14. Ha! just came across this site when I was searching for 6 Nations predictions for 2013. Won’t be coming here again – especially for Wales predictions, or any kind of betting tips, if that’s the standard. How wrong were you? LOL! Sport Guru? You must be joking.

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