Six Nations 2014 Predictions: Round 4

danny care

This weekend’s opening game comes from Dublin, where Ireland host Italy on Saturday afternoon. It’s top of the table plays bottom, and the Italians have heavily rotated their team, with big names like Sergio Parisse, Alessandro Zanni and Andrea Masi all missing. Ireland are missing Peter O’Mahony through injury, and the loss of one of the players of the tournament so far will be keenly felt. The general consensus amongst pundits is that it’s a question of ‘by how much’, not whether, Ireland will win. Our man David Blair agrees, predicting an Irish win by 20. Read his full preview here.

Scotland welcome France to Edinburgh with intense pressure on both coaches. The hosts’ man in charge, Scott Johnson, has again rotated his back-row, with captain Kelly Brown returning from the wilderness on the blindside. They will hope to take the feel-good factor of the last minute win over Italy into this game. Philippe Saint-AndrĂ©, meanwhile, seems to be following the Scott Johnson school of selection, making some bizarre calls, including employing a lumbering second row on the blindside flank and leaving the prodigiously talented Gael Fickou on the bench again, despite an injury to Wesley Fofana. Is this a chance for Scotland to get a win over Les Bleus? Calum Gillon doesn’t think so; he’s predicted a comfortable French win by 11. Read his full preview here.

And finally on Sunday we have England v Wales. A Triple Crown on the line for England, the Six Nations title slipping out of reach for the loser, and revenge on the minds of the English for last year’s 30-3 desecration in Cardiff. Do the players need any more motivation? Oh yes, there’s the small matter of the Rugby World Cup in a year’s time, in which these two will meet on the exact soil on which they do battle on on Sunday. Who will come out on top and take a huge psychological step towards making it out of that pool? Flip a coin, says Jamie Hosie, who has (reluctantly) plumped for an English win by 2. Read his full preview here.

How do you see the weekend unfolding?

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

4 thoughts on “Six Nations 2014 Predictions: Round 4

  1. After nil points last round I’m hoping for some sort of recovery. I have all the same picks.

    I wonder with the England Wales game. I don’t think it will be a close one, and the winning side will take a commanding lead. I’m just hoping it’s England. After last round’s game against Ireland, I’m more positive about England but it’s not very easy to rate Wales after the France game because they never needed to get beyond first gear and could have done more. I think both teams are hugely built up for this and sometimes a side, like England last year, can go out with a target and miss it sublimely

    Scotland/France is interesting. Scotland looked decent against Italy and getting some of the good players back in the squad could create something. Combine with France employing their pre-world cup implosion technique, losing/dropping several players, it could well be an opportunity for Scotland to sneak a win.

    I don’t see Italy/Ireland being a tough match for the side wearing green. Italy have been a little off colour so far. Looked good against Wales and fought pretty hard against France until the French try. They just didn’t look interested against Scotland and the losses in the Italy backrow it doesn’t look good.

  2. Combine with France employing their pre-world cup implosion technique, losing/dropping several players, it could well be an opportunity for Scotland to sneak a win. The rest of the team remains the same This Exciting Game Between Two Big teams 6 Nations Rugby Online.

  3. Harder 1 to call than the Eng v Ire game.

    Home advantage could again make the difference. Be interesting(?) to see if Wales give away penalties/get caned by the ref. And by that I mean esp if the early pen count & where on the field these occur could be telling (the overall pen count can tend to even out by the games end, but by then it could be less important as a factor). Penalties could determine this 1.

    Potentially Wales seem to have the ability to win, but they can be inconsistant at times & the not so distant record 8 losses on the bounce would still concern me a bit if I were Welsh.

    For me tho, the team winning the breakdown should prevail. It’s important (as for all teams in all games) esp for Wales to dominate here, being the away team. Without this, good night Vienna I fear.

    Likewise for England, the too need dominance at the ‘ruck’. Home team advantage could give an edge here?

    Wales ought to play their ‘all court’ game & run it whenever they can & as appropriate. I recall last yr’s win, when Tuperic created the try down the right for his winger, as being a case in pt.

  4. II Ctd…

    England will be England & try to overrun Wales as per the U20’s last night. Looked impressive, but if a team could have held them up front, they, like their seniors, might have struggled for tries.

    Some opine that tries, esp by wingers, don’t matter so much, but it matterd at an important time in last yr’s fixture. Besides, they’re worth 5 or 7.

    Anyway, Wales will need to have a real go at England & I believe Gatland knows this, so I expect them to do just that. But they should also be wary if the game’s tight nr the last 1/4 & not get mesmerised by going wide incessently as Ire did. In that case, Ire ought to have dirven & kept drving to the posts. No team can defend (or, I suppose, attack for that matter)forever & will almost certainly give away a pen due to the ctd pressure. Wales need to be more aware than Ireland weer if the game unfolds in this, which it could well.

    But to pick a winner? I called a tight home for England win last up, but this, I really dunno. Could (will) go either way… but Wales? By… aw I dunno!?

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