RBS Six Nations Predictions: Round 2

So what have we learnt from Round 1 that could inform our predictions? Ireland and France both won comfortably without really firing, England and Wales can both play a lot better, and Scotland and Italy are frustrating to play against.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t really provide many clues as to what will happen this weekend, because most teams could play so differently, but here are my views on which way the games will go.

Wales v Scotland

We’ve had a fairly average week here at The Rugby Blog HQ, but surely it’s nothing compared to what the Welsh team have been through. Shaun Edwards probably had steam coming out of his ears, and he’s not one to keep his frustrations inside – the squad will have been working hard and they’ll be out for redemption this week.

What better place for redemption than in front of their own fans at the Millennium Stadium, against a Scotland team that never really troubled France last week? It appears that the Scots will play a fairly narrow game, using Dan Parks to pin the home side in their own half and then hope for mistakes and penalties for Chris Paterson to step up.

This could frustrate Wales and it might just work, but I’m sure they’ll have a few tricks up their sleeve to counter this plan. There is too much class in the back row and the backs, and as long as they can get their lineout functioning properly, they should have too much for Andy Robinson’s side, and I expect them to win relatively comfortably.

My SportGuru prediction is Wales by 17

France v Ireland

What a prospect this is, and in a way, it’s a shame that it comes so early in the Championship – judged purely on last weekend’s performances, France and Ireland are the two best teams in the competition. However, I don’t think we learned much about either side in their respective games.

Ireland looked fairly sharp in short bursts against Italy, but were drawn into Italy’s close-quarters gameplan which didn’t do much for them. Stephen Ferris returns to the back row and will provide a huge boost, as this will be a key battle against the French. If Ferris can help Ireland get the upper hand against Thierry Dusautoir, Fulgence Ouedraogo and Imanol Harinordoquy, they can put width on the ball and cause problems for the French.

Unfortunately for Ireland, that’s a huge IF. The French back row is one of the finest in the world, and I think their superior pack is likely to be the difference between the sides. If France dominate the scrum and the breakdown, they’ll beat Ireland into submission by sending their enormous runners into Ireland’s midfield.

My impression from last weekend was that they just did enough to see off Scotland – if Scotland had scored to bring the scores closer, I think France would have tried a bit harder and scored themselves. After a nice warm-up, they’ll show a lot more intent this week.

Home advantage is also a factor, and Ireland have not won in Paris since 2000. It should be close, and it could be a brilliant game to watch, but I’m backing France.

My SportGuru prediction is France by 8

Italy v England

After a win on the opening weekend, optimism has returned to the faithful English supporters. Italy without Sergio Parisse? Shouldn’t be a problem for the mighty England!

But England’s matches against Italy in Rome have been getting closer and closer, and the winning margin two years ago was just 4 points. I’d love to see a big 5-try performance from Martin Johnson’s side, and the return of Riki Flutey should help our chances, but whilst I think it will be another victory, I don’t think it will be a huge margin.

Dan Cole makes his first full start and will have a tough afternoon against Italy’s front row, but if England’s set piece holds up and the back row can recycle the ball quickly at every breakdown, Danny Care might be able to provide some good quality ball and we may just see some running at pace.

My concern is that it descends into another farce like the Argentina match in the Autumn. England’s kicking out of hand has been abysmal recently, and I really hope that the game strategy doesn’t revolve around it. If Italy prevent England from executing plan A, I’m not too confident that there will be a plan B, but perhaps the coaches deserve more credit – fingers crossed for a bit of intent and a few tries.

My SportGuru prediction is England by 13

How do you see the games unfolding this weekend?

Don’t forget we’ll be doing live updates from the Italy v England game on Sunday – tune in to share your views on the game as it happens.

13 thoughts on “RBS Six Nations Predictions: Round 2

  1. I fancy Scotland to beat Wales actually. Wales lineout was awful last week and Robinson will be putting the pressure on and if they go behind in a tight game they might not have the belief to come back.

    France should see off ireland who werent that good last week. Should be a great game though and it would be good to see a real classic after three games that werent great in round 1

  2. I’ve backed Wales, but I also see Scotland with a good enough shot of causing a mini-upset.

    Spent hours pondering the Fra-Ire prediction and in the end, the only difference I could find reason enough to back was, as you say Hutch, the awesome French back row. In close games, the back row often dictate the winner so I too have gone for a narrow France victory.

    Can’t wait

  3. I actually thought Dusautoir was a little quiet against the Scots, but I think he’ll step up a gear this weekend.

    That said, I really rate David Wallace, and with Heaslip and Ferris, Ireland have a pretty handy back row as well.

    The front five will be another key battle, and I think France have more of an edge here…

  4. So basically, they’re both good teams and it could go either way!

    This is what we watch rugby for and why we love the unpredictability of the 6 Nations

  5. Wales by 25. I just have a feeling that they will click come Saturday and will get a big win. (unless we stripping people up for no reason).

    England by 21. England will have a lot of confidence and I think the wings and FB will have a big impact on the game, as long as the front 3 can hold their own in the scrum.

    Ireland by 2. Being so close it could go either way but I think there’s a real maturity in this Irish side, with hte plus that if O’Gara is having an off day there is an able replacement which hasn’t been there in past years when Ronan is bottling it.

  6. That’s a fair point you make about Ireland finally having a backup fly-half – I wonder if Sexton will get much time.

    A 25-point margin sounds a little optimistic to me! Scotland will be desperate to keep the score down and try to win it 6-3 or something similar. They’ll probably score three or four penalties at least, which means Wales need to score 40 for a 25-point margin.

    I think it will be a similar scenario in the England game. I’d be surprised if there were any high-margin victories in the whole competition.

  7. I think Wales could take it by 20 plus. Scotland have brought in Parks and the dropping of Max Evans for Lamont basically says they don’t thihnk he can fire a decent backline.

    I’d rather have Ferris and Wallce as a combo than Ouedrago and Dussatoir (who is awesome to be fair) but Harry Nor Dickie is the trump card. I think it could be very tight, tempted to plug for a draw. But Ireland’s record in Paris is absolutely awful and against the French generally.

    I think England’s game will be pretty uneventful actually (setting myself up to look like a tool). 3 tries to 1 perhaps, 15 point win or so perhaps. Paynie, I’d love England’s wings and FB to have a big impact but it would fly in the face of about 6 years of evidence.

  8. Would someone mind explaining to me why oh why Foden is not on the Bench? As has been previously discussed was a great game to blood him from the start or at least the bench not to include him at all is ridiculous!!!

  9. 16 Steve Thompson, 17 David Wilson, 18 Matthew Mullan, 19 Louis Deacon, 20 Steffon Armitage, 21 Paul Hodgson, 22 Toby Flood.

  10. Not a huge amount of backs cover is there?! I can’t really see any of them having an impact, but they are obviously expecting a big forwards battle.

  11. As a Scotsman I will ofcourse defend my side but in all truth Scotland really upped their game against France putting constant pressure on them all game! With new players like Gray and Ansbro we have a nice fresh play and considering the score margin (a penalty try and a dropkick) Scotland are posing a serious problem to the other nations, although saying this our scrummaging was awful and with an 8 stone superiority I dont know what went wrong! Im predicting a win against Wales but it may be a close game, Scotland back to the good old days would make my year!

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