The Six Nations returns this weekend and the halfway stage on SportGuru is a crucial time in the game.
Here are my predictions for Round 3 – let me know what you think.
Ireland v Italy: Ireland by 15
I was too balshy with the winning margin in last week’s Italy v England prediction, but I still didn’t see much to get me excited about Italy. They are criminally lacking a fly-half that will make use of the possession their forwards seem to win, and it was only England’s ineptitude that allowed the scoreline to be so close.
Ireland has a little more attacking prowess than England at the moment, and with home advantage on their side, I’m expecting a relatively comfortable victory. They ought to have some pent-up frustration after their date with France was cancelled at the last-minute, so I’ve gone for Ireland by 15.
The Paddy Power handicap is Ireland -15 and the average SportGuru prediction is Ireland by 13.
England v Wales: Wales by 9
Two unbeaten teams go head-to-head this weekend, but that’s about where the similarities end. Wales have had two impressive wins over Ireland and Scotland, scoring tries and looking threatening every time they have the ball. The lineout has looked like the only real weakness, but Alun Wyn Jones returning ought to sort that out, and they have several other players back from injury to make them even stronger.
England have scraped two wins against Scotland and Italy, two uninspiring matches in which the result could easily have gone the other way. Chargedown Charlie, England’s only try-scorer in the tournament so far, misses the game with a hand injury, and it’s hard to see how England can break down Wales’ blitz defence without a backs move to their name.
I can’t see an England win, despite the optimism of some since Stuart Lancaster’s team announcement, and expect Wales to win by a score or more.
My head says Wales by 9, my heart says England by 3, the Paddy Power handicap is Wales -3 and the average SportGuru prediction is Wales by 3.
Scotland v France: France by 12
Scotland finally scored a try against Wales and actually looked quite threatening at times, but can they finally produce a victory against a decent side? I suspect not.
France didn’t quite hit their stride in their game against Italy in Round 1, and their postponed game would have frustrated them as they look to build some momentum. That could work in Scotland’s favour, but when you compare the two teamsheets, there’s not one area in which Scotland are superior.
My prediction for this match is that we see some promising, but ultimately fruitless, moments from Scotland, and a lot of TV shots of Andy Robinson banging the walls and grimacing.
I’ve gone for France by 12 on SportGuru, the Paddy Power handicap is France -7 and the average SportGuru prediction is France by 8.
What are your thoughts? Will you share your SportGuru picks?