England winning in Paris last weekend gave me a full house and much-needed Grand Slam Points on SportGuru, and it’s put me within striking distance of the leader in one or two of my pools.
Super Saturday in this season’s RBS 6 Nations is almost here, and it’s make or break time for many people. Here are my picks for Round 5.
Italy v Scotland: Italy by 3
The day kicks off with the annual Wooden Spoon contest between Italy and Scotland. Once again, the Scots have promised plenty and delivered nothing, and I fancy the Azzurri to heap more misery on Scotland.
The home side’s pack looks formidable again with Martin Castrogiovanni returning, and I’d expect them to have the upper hand up front. Scotland have the edge in the backs, particularly as Italy are still lacking quality half-backs, but they will defend passionately and the Scots’ cutting edge hasn’t exactly been razor sharp so far.
Will a defeat mean the end for Andy Robinson? Some people will be calling for his head, which I don’t necessarily agree with, but he is still struggling to deliver results.
My SportGuru prediction is Italy by 3, the Paddy Power handicap is Scotland -2 and the average SportGuru prediction is Scotland by 2.
Wales v France: Wales by 6
Some people have been saying how dangerous the French are, and the fact that they are out of the running for the title might be reason to fear them even more. But they were a shambles against England, to an almost comical extent, and I can’t see how Wales – with the prospect of a Grand Slam celebration afterwards – will be beaten.
Sam Warburton returns to the back row and will surely lead his side to victory. Wales are a settled side, full of confidence, playing at home in front of the vociferous Millennium Stadium crowd.
Philippe Saint-Andre appears to be picking up where Marc Lievremont left off, mixing up selection so that nobody knows which team will turn up – literally. They’ve ended up with Lionel Beauxis at fly-half, which surely can’t be their strongest option, and I really don’t think they’ll win.
My SportGuru prediction is Wales by 6, the Paddy Power handicap is Wales -6 and the average SportGuru prediction is Wales by 4.
England v Ireland: England by 5
When was the last time that England’s key area of superiority was in the centres? Manu Tuilagi versus Keith Earls seems like a mismatch, and with the in-form Tuilagi and Brad Barritt squaring up to the under-performing Earls and Gordon D’Arcy, this game is there to be won for England.
The English record against Ireland in the Six Nations is atrocious, with Ireland winning 7 of the last 8 meetings in the competition, but I fancy the English to pull one back on Saturday night. All over the park are tremendous match-ups, but if England can defend as they have been, and then generate quick ball in attack, they should be able to cross the gainline and get Ireland retreating.
My SportGuru prediction is England by 5, the Paddy Power handicap is England -3 and the average SportGuru prediction is England by 2.
Whatever happens, England v Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day is sure to be a tremendous occasion, and the game can’t come soon enough! Have a good weekend, and good luck with your picks.
What are your thoughts? Will you share your SportGuru picks?