Rugby Predictions for 2013

What better way to kick off the year than to look ahead to a superb 12 months of Rugby and throw out some predictions to be debated – what do you think of these?

Scrum

Six Nations
Winner: England
Runner-up: France
Wooden Spoon: Italy

The fact that England play France at Twickenham swings it for me, but I’m not expecting a Grand Slam for anyone. Apart from Scotland and Italy, anyone can beat anyone else on their day, and it should make for an excellent tournament.

Heineken Cup
Winner: Toulon
Runner-up: Clermont Auvergne

These two French sides have been hugely impressive so far, with Clermont making a mockery of their pool of death and Toulon’s dream team also remain unbeaten, albeit in an easier group.

Aviva Premiership
Winner: Harlequins
Runner-up: Leicester Tigers
Relegated: Sale Sharks

I can see a repeat of last year’s final and the same result – Quins have shown some real mettle in winning tough away games and making The Stoop a tough place to play. Sale’s rudderless ship is likely to cost them if they don’t sort themselves out soon.

RaboDirect Pro12
Winner: Ulster
Runner-up: Ospreys

Last year’s champions are moving ominously up the table after a dreadful start, but I fancy Ulster to top the table at the end of the season and go on to win the final.

Lions Tour
Winner: British and Irish Lions (2-1)

A victory is essential after three unsuccessful tours and if Wales and Ireland can rekindle some of their RWC form, the player pool for Warren Gatland to choose from has talent in abundance.

Super Rugby
Winner: Stormers
Runner-up: Chiefs

Having won the Currie Cup and some long-awaited silverware, the Stormers may finally have shaken the ‘chokers’ tag, giving them the confidence to land the big one.

The Rugby Championship
Winner: New Zealand
Runner-up: South Africa

It’s always difficult to predict anything but an All Blacks win, despite their thrashing at Twickenham in December. A fresh, post-sabbatical Richie McCaw will be available again, and Australia – the most likely to beat them – will be less of a threat to them after a tough Lions series.

What do you think? Share your predictions in the comments below!

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

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31 comments on “Rugby Predictions for 2013

  1. I agree with all of those, no arguments from me at all.
    Funny how the bookies are favouring Leicester and Saracens over Quins to win the Premiership. What is it exactly that Quins need to achieve in order for people (bookies and pundits) to see them as the favourites?

  2. I don’t agree with England winning the 6N and Quins.

    France have been massively overlooked by everybody when reporting on favourites for the 6N.

    Yes, they play England at Twickenham, but England have to go to Cardiff and Dublin. I think this is a French year.

    As for the Premiership, I think Sarries will win it. Sarries will strangle teams to death, and win it this year.

  3. I’m going for France for the 6N and Clermont for the HC. I think both teams greater experience than their rivals will count for enough in the tight matches.

    I also predict … a welsh call up for Gav. Wales move from 4 regions to 3 super clubs. BOD doesn’t make the Lions but OConnel does. Eli Walker as best young player in the 6N. Patchell wins his first cap.

    • Surely not for Gav?! I’m not sure he’s the answer to the Welsh problems, and I don’t think the problems are so great as to resort to that option…!

      • He can be (I hate myself for saying it as I’ve had a go at Cipriani often enough) a brilliant player. I guess the main diff with Cips is that Gav has actually done it, but not enough, and not for a long time. I think he’s a perfect option for us at centre if he can get enough LW gate time. Gav inside with Jon Davies outside is exciting. I fear that Roberts has now become so one dimensional that he is next to useless against the big teams.

  4. I honestly believe the winner of the 6N’s will be down to one simply factor – fly half. Wales are currently in disarray without a performing FH. Italy and Scotland are also both lacking in this department. Ireland have Sexton, but not many other options (bar resorting to o’gara). England have good options, but depends on if they go with ‘tried and tested’ Flood/dependable Farrell/exciting but inexperienced Burns. Though my heart says England, my head says France

    Just hoping SL is brave enough to drop Flood and have Englands top 3 FH’s as Burns, Farrell, Ford

    • Perhaps Wales FH situation looks worse from outside Wales than within? We’re going to go with Biggar for the 6N – and Biggar would have played more in the autumn if he hadn’t been creamed by Samoa. He’s arguably the current form FH in the Pro 12 and he was excellent in the Os recent winning run. I don’t think FH is going to be a big problem for Wales – I think we’ll have Gav or Patchell on the bench, both also good options.

      However, I do think that relatively speaking the NH is in dire need of some decent FHs to both increase the quality of the rugby and to give the Lions a chance. None of the top FHs playing in the NH at the mo are British.

      • Not that I would wish it on the guy, but that injury to Priestland has done Wales a favour, his confidence has been absolutly destroyed.

    • Agree. Flood has had his chance, although he would still be my third choice ahead of Ford, who is no where near ready for internationals yet. I also really hope Simpson and Billy V get some game time.

  5. Also think that France will shade the 6N. England may have finished well but we did lose to Oz and SA. I think that France are just that much further on in their development at the moment.

    Interesting to see who you would pick out of a combined England France team.

  6. Agree that Biggar is the form FH at the mo in the pro 12, though personally i’ve never been particularly impressed with him. I wonder if anyone in the Welsh camp have considered trying Halfpenny at FH?

  7. England win 6N with Grand slam, and Sarries win Premiership and Heineken Cup. We’ll let someone else have the LV cup though! ;-)………………..Now I’ve woken from my dream I’ll be a little more realistic. England win 6N, but no Grand slam. Sarries get to Premiership and Heineken final, but lose to Quins, and Toulon respectively. Still dreaming maybe???

  8. Can’t wait for the 6N tbh. I really hope Eng take their “NZ form” into the competition and push on, though more than happy for France to be favourites. However for the first time ever I think the match I am looking fwd to the most is the Wal/ Ire game – surely Wal can’t make it 4 in a row? If they do – they’ll be contenders for sure, but if not, and with the Howley effect it could be a depressing few weeks. Likelise for Eng any more backward steps and it will be a compeltely demoralising.

  9. France are the obvious choice as they were unbeaten in their southern hem. tests and were convincing winners against Aus. That England are favoured by a .co.uk is nor surprise after their emphatic win against New Zealand. & I’d have to say they deserve that favouritism.

    Ireland didn’t have it in them to beat the Saffas, throwing away a massive opportunity to win that. Still the stink of inconsistency remains with them. I place Ireland in their own tier as a wild card for the tournament.

    I also place Wales in their own tier. They will be even less fancied after their abysmal failure to beat Australia even one time after umpteen attempts and losses to Argentina and Samoa. But they can perform as we all know.

    Then there’s Scotland and Italy, both capable of taking the scalp of any of the 4 above on their good day but only one I think. I predict one of them to get not one but 2 wins in this campaign!

    Clermont for me are the obvious team to beat in the HC. But Harlequins, Ulster, and Toulon are in the running. I haven’t watched much Premier league, but Harlequins sounds like a sound bet. Toulon or Clermont for the Top 14 I guess. I predict Aus 2 – 1 Lions in the Lions test. Why do people assume that players that don’t normally play together will naturally gel together, when they have differing styles of play, and choke on the occasion historically. My 2 – 1 against the Lions is based on history, and reality. The players will be there to win, but they’ll be lucky to get A win.

    6 nations 2013
    ————–

    England 8
    Wales 7
    France 5
    Ireland 5
    Scotland 3
    Italy 2

    • However Mitchel, France were also the obvious choice last year. They were WC semi finalists, had a settled team, had domestic teams ruling the Heineken Cup. So I don’t think it’s bias for some people to assume they won’t win it again this year. Last year most predictions were wrong because I think the only people who thought, before it all started, that Wales would win it were the Welsh. Last year was odd as I was strangely confident before it even started. This year if we can win the Ireland game (and it’s winnable, eminently winnable) then we’re off. Lose that and we’re in trouble as we then have 3 away games…

  10. Not sure England have developed the nous to get a result in Dublin yet, I’ll go with a French 6N win. England and Ireland to be separated by very little for the runners up spot.

    I think Toulon will focus on taking the Top 14 and it will be Clermont’s year for the Heineken.

    For the England EPS announcement next week who are people hoping to see included? I would like to see B.Vunipola, Burns and 12trees make the cut. Are we going to see Brown, Goode and Foden all in I wonder?

  11. Manu is the way January 5, 2013 at 11:12 pm -

    I have been reading this blog for about half a year now and it is dedinetley the best blog on the Internet for rugby. The thing I like most about it are the polls and the team of weeks. I would just like to say thank you and keep up the good work in the new year!!

  12. I have been reading this blog for about half a year now and in my view it is one of the best rugby blogs on the Internet. I particularly enjoy the polls and the discussions which follow. I would just like to sat thank you and keep up the great work for the new year!!

  13. Hutch – stop posting as “randoms” on the internet.

    I just watched Toulon get beaten by Racing…they can afford that loss but their panicked play in the last 5 mins will be a concern. It seemed that Racing were not committing at all to the breakdown but Toulon kept flinging wide passes about instead of attacking around the breakdown.

    Aaaanyway – Quins to win the HC, Wales the 6N, Toulon the Top14, Ulster the Pro12, Lions 2-1 (please, please, let that happen), Wasps the Aviva, NZ the Championship, Crusaders the Super 15.

    I might put a bet on all that, imagine the odds!

  14. Fingers crossed for a welsh wooden spoon…. just for the sake of some peace from their fans! 6N too close to call for me at the moment, can see the french sides dominating the heineken cup… maybe sarries or quins to top the premiership table.