I had picked Ireland by 2 over France last weekend in a desperate bid to catch the leader of my SportGuru pool, and it oh so nearly paid off.
It’s Round 4 of the RBS 6 Nations already, and here are this week’s SportGuru predictions.
Wales v Italy: Wales by 25
The only team still on course for the Grand Slam takes on one of the winless teams in contention for the Wooden Spoon – there can be only one winner here, surely?
There are lots of changes for the Italians, and they’re giving Kris Burton another shot as they desperately search for a fly-half. Looking down the teamsheet, they have some half-decent players, but they really don’t stand a chance in this one.
Wales are missing Sam Warburton, but that shouldn’t make too much difference as they try to cut loose at the Millennium Stadium, and I’m expecting a sizeable home victory.
My SportGuru prediction is Wales by 25, the Paddy Power handicap is Wales -21 and the average SportGuru prediction is Wales by 18.
Ireland v Scotland: Ireland by 13
Scotland have an excellent record against Ireland, and have been known to spring a surprise on the men in green, so I wouldn’t be too shocked to see Scotland win in Dublin.
I’m still predicting a relatively comfortable Ireland win though. Losing Sean O’Brien is a blow, but he hasn’t been quite at his best and Peter O’Mahoney is an able replacement in the back row.
They hit their stride against Italy, and then should have won in Paris on Sunday, so I’m expecting them to vent their frustrations on Scotland and take this one by a couple of clear scores.
My SportGuru prediction is Ireland by 13, the Paddy Power handicap is Ireland -9 and the average SportGuru prediction is Ireland by 9.
France v England: England by 2
Heart over head, no question, but a win in Paris does not seem impossible and France are not all they are cracked up to be, as Ireland showed last weekend.
Moreover, coach Philippe Saint-Andre has changed his half-back pairing, bringing in Julien Dupuy and Lionel Beauxis, which seems like a backward step to me. They still have a ferocious pack, but England has coped reasonably well so far and will hopefully stand up to them.
England’s performance at Twickenham was significantly more encouraging than anything else we’ve seen for some time. Whether they can reproduce that sort of defensive effort in the Stade de France remains to be seen, but they’ll know that France nearly bottled it when Ireland stood up to them and that should spur them on.
I think it will be a relatively high-scoring affair and England will need to at least double their try tally in the tournament so far to stand a chance. My SportGuru prediction is England by 2, the Paddy Power handicap is France -7 and the average SportGuru prediction is France by 4.
What are your thoughts? Will you share your SportGuru picks?