Six Nations 2019: Round 3 Predictions

Owen Farrell

The predictions in Round 2 were relatively straightforward, with Ireland beating Scotland ending any hopes of an upset, whilst Wales overcame Italy and England thrashed France.

Somewhat unusually, 4 of the 6 matches so far have ended in away victories, and I think there could be another two this weekend.

It’s 6 out of 6 for my Six Nations picks, and I’m looking to make it 9 from 9 after this weekend.

France v Scotland
All the injuries to Scotland have made this a slightly easier pick. If Finn Russell, Huw Jones and Stuart Hogg were all fit, amongst others, I might have backed the Scots to claim their first win in Paris since 1999. The French are in disarray, of course they are, but they showed enough in that first half against Wales to show they are capable of playing effective Rugby, and back at home, I suspect they’ll resort to the power game to steamroll this weakened Scotland side.

My Superbru prediction: France by 8
Bookie handicap: France -6

Wales v England
The two remaining unbeaten teams go head to head in Cardiff, and it’s always a thriller, particularly with a potential Grand Slam for both sides still on the table. The last 5 matches have been won by an average of 4.6 points, and England have won 5 of the 6 meetings since that 30-3 drubbing in 2013.

So far in this tournament, Wales won in Paris, which is no mean feat, but it wasn’t entirely convincing. They started terribly, and then France let them back into the game through various errors, finally allowing France to prevail. Then against Italy, they made a raft of changes and never really got going, winning by ‘only’ 11 points.

England, on the other hand, have finally looked like they have a gameplan, along with the personnel to execute it effectively – powerful ball-carriers, a well-balanced back row, Owen Farrell as the playmaker at 10, an encouraging midfield partnership, and borderline world class performances in the back three.

On form, England should win this.

But, in Cardiff, against England, with Warren Gatland hatching wily plans, you never quite know the level that Wales can reach. They have two England games to analyse, and they’ll be better-prepared than Ireland and France to counter the opposition tactics.

Anything can happen on the day, but based on what we have seen so far this year, I’m backing England.

My Superbru prediction: England by 6
Bookie handicap: England -4

Italy v Ireland

I don’t enjoy watching Italy play. I’m all for development in Rugby and for creating more countries that can challenge at the World Cup, but I can’t discern much progress from the Azzurri, and they tend to stifle games rather than throw everything at the opposition. Is damage-limitation the best option for Conor O’Shea’s men, or should they be throwing it around aiming to entertain, even if they risk losing by a little more?

Joe Schmidt has made a few changes for Ireland, particularly up front, but key men Conor Murray and Jonny Sexton both start, and it’s not a question of whether they will win, just by how many – particularly with Sergio Parisse out for Italy.

I think the bookies are over-egging things slightly, and I’ve backed Italy with a 30-point handicap.

My Superbru prediction: Ireland by 23
Bookie handicap: Ireland -30

Follow Hutch on Twitter: @Hutch_James

6 thoughts on “Six Nations 2019: Round 3 Predictions

  1. Im a newbie here so please be gentle.
    England v Wales. Im an English fan and so; This game will be won or lost in the mind. If England are playing genuine heads up rugby as apposed to a formulaic game I believe they’ll win by 6 or more.
    Scotland will beat France, their team cohesion will give them the advantage despite being away. Scotland by 6.
    Italy and Ireland sadly is a for gone conclusion a 20 plus margin to Ireland.

    1. As a matter of interest & to be clear, Steve R, are you stating that England have been playing formulaic rugger thus far in this 6N? Also, that they will likely need to play ‘heads up’ stuff this afternoon to win? I ask because, if you are stating this is the case, I’ve been contadicted by agreeing with yr assessments. Apparently England HAVE been playing ‘heads up’ rugby. I don’t see this as, to me, it’s obvious that they’ve played strictly according to a kicking plan. As it’s worked til now, so hard to argue that it’s not been effective, because it has been, but ‘heads up’ it ain’t. The point being of course, is they’ll become predictable & therefore easier to read.. like in the WC perhaps?

      1. To clarify my view on heads up v the formulaic. The last two games have shown England’s tactical superiority in outwitting their opponents game plan. Certainly not diminishing that achievement, you still have to execute and deliver a win. Stunning performances. To be confronted with an opposition who are capable of mixing-up their strategy mid game requires heads up rugby – intelligent play and response – this in my opinion has yet to be truly tested. Wales are certainly capable of presenting such a challenge. Bottom line for me, jury still out and today could present us with the evidence as to whether we (England) have matured to that level. This is not to take anything away from the outstanding skill level of the individual players and the team as a whole. I know its a cliche but this is what separates NZ from the rest of the world… the moment.

        1. Agree, up to a point about England Steve R. Pointed out before & which goes down here like a lead balloon, that v Ireland, almost all the stats favoured the latter, apart from where it mattered, on the scoreboard. For me England’s ‘D’ stood up better than Ireland’s, which was a/the important factor. A bit went England’s way too, like the bounce & intercept tries. Therefore I don’t see England as having particularly outwitted Ireland. V Fr, well, so what? Mickey Mouse may as well as (non) coached them. The skill level you mention? Based on 2 6N games, England’s back line still lack innovation & creativity for me. Their passing game still tends to be somewhat ponderous & predictable & still drifts under pressure. Where is the injection from the 3/4ers, or the much vaunted Farrell’s wrap arounds for instance? Like I stated prev, ‘heads up’ it ain’t. Wales may mix it up more today & their back 3 may cope better if England kick it all again, although they’ll still miss 1/2penny IMO. However, it’ll all come down to whom wins sufficient possession for 80.. & then uses it most efficiently.. ‘heads up’ wise? NZ have the skills you mention, but it’s also their ability to out think opponents that has separated them from others. As for so far? The WC may reveal more. Regds Scotland, they have a few injuries, so we’ll see. Maybe Fr & Italy both ought to be relegated though?

    2. You may be new to this forum Steve but your opinions are anything but naive. England have been playing to a fairly rigid plan ,as you suggest,and this afternoon will show us if they can indeed adapt to their opponents and think
      on their feet.
      I also agree that if the Jocks keep their discipline and front up physically, they can do a number on what must be the blandest French team in many a decade.
      Italy /Ireland more or less a foregone conclusion!
      England by five, Scotland by twelve and Ireland by thirty two.
      Welcome aboard mate!

  2. I’m going to disagree, I think your about to go 7 from 9.

    Wales have played poor no doubt but a two week break to train and focus on their issues I figure they will edge it. It was said previously about England finding a way to win whilst under performing – it’s a winning mentallity and I think England going in off the back of two big wins are likely to be complacent which will allow wales to take it. Then it’s a question of holding it in the last 10min when replacements come on (nail biting time) but I’m edging it to wales by 3-5

    Scotland will hammer France I have no doubt they will win by around 15-20 France have shown nothing in the last 120minutes and no sign of it changing.

    Ireland an easy win, in beginning to question whether this should remain the 6 nations either drop Italy or add some more maybe Georgia to at least give the Bottom end of the tournament some interest instead of giving everyone a gimme


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