Round 4 was relatively easy to predict, although I took a gamble on Scotland beating Wales, which didn’t pay off. The Scots had a couple of chances to win the game, but Wales ultimately prevailed and now the Grand Slam is within touching distance.
Can they finish the job? Here are my Superbru predictions for the final round of Six Nations matches.
Italy v France
This is the one Italy will have been targeting in particular, a home match against the strange French team that have been mostly poor during the tournament so far. Italy haven’t won a game, but they’ve kept the scores fairly respectable, apart from at Twickenham, and there’s a sniff of an upset here. But I think France will win. France by 13
Wales v Ireland
This should be a great occasion, with a rapturous crowd in Cardiff willing the men in red to clinch the Grand Slam. Wales haven’t quite hit the heights yet, but with home advantage and the big prize so close, can you bet against them?
Ireland have named a strong side, and they’ll be desperate to finish their campaign on a more positive note after a slightly disappointing campaign. A tournament win is unlikely, but a victory against the odds in Cardiff would go a long way to restoring confidence ahead of the World Cup. They are almost back to full strength, with a fearsome back row of Peter O’Mahony, Sean O’Brien and CJ Stander, and Conor Murray and Jonny Sexton pulling the strings.
On paper, I think Ireland is the better side, and as a half-Irishman half-Englishman, I really want them to win. Ireland by 2
England v Scotland
Two years ago, the Scots came to Twickenham sensing a first victory since 1983, but they were duly blown away. They won a year later at Murrayfield, precipitating England’s downward spiral in 2018, but there doesn’t seem to be any expectation of victory this time.
Injuries have ruined their campaign, with key men such as Stuart Hogg, Huw Jones, Finn Russell and Hamish Watson all missing games, and the depth isn’t there to challenge without these stars. Indeed, they’d be a loss to any team. Russell and Watson are back, but resources in the backs are stretched and I can’t see them winning.
Eddie Jones has named what appears to be close to his first-choice lineup, although it’s hard to second-guess his selections. With a powerful romp to build confidence last week, they’ll be keen to put Scotland to the sword and end the tournament on a high. The result in the previous match may just influence how they approach the game, but whatever happens in Cardiff, I’d be surprised if this was particularly close.
Incidentally, if Wales win a close game without a bonus point, and England score more than 4 tries, they’ll be level on championship points, and we’d see the first instance of the ‘Grand Slam bonus points’ coming in to play.
England by 23