Six Nations Predictions: Scotland v England

Any match involving England is difficult to predict these days, and there’s a general feeling that this came could be exceedingly dull.

Hopefully it won’t be, but Martin Johnson’s England selection doesn’t inspire a great deal of confidence. Where are the game-breakers? Who would you back to set the game on fire with a dazzling run, or a huge carry? It’s a conservative selection, and that’s probably the style with which England will approach the game.

The players have looked bereft of ideas in attack, and I imagine the name of the game will be not to lose the ball, with phase after phase of slow-paced mini-rucks, endless side to side passing with no penetration, and then the odd box kick when there are no holes opening up.

I can’t find any inspiration in the pack, and less so with Lewis Moody on the bench. Out wide, we have a group of players that could be half-decent, but they are mostly off-form and a disappointment. The bench is more exciting, but it seems wrong to hope for some early injuries and the injection of life through Ben Foden, Ben Youngs and Courtney Lawes.

Scotland aren’t hugely exciting either. They are staring at the Wooden Spoon, and a defeat at Murrayfield would leave them with a record of Played 4 Lost 4, which is not what Andy Robinson had in mind after they beat Australia in the autumn.

Again, there don’t seem to be too many players that could light up the game, although Nick De Luca’s return to the international setup could be interesting. Whilst the back row has been industrious and fairly effective, the backs have lacked the cutting edge to make use of possession.

If England play how I expect them to, they won’t get a huge amount of ball, and whereas Ireland took their chances whenever they arose, I wouldn’t back the Scots to be so ruthless in their finishing and I’m backing England to be marginally better.

I hope it’s not a dour affair, and I hope that both sides play with ambition. A defeat would not be great for either side, but they’ll do themselves a huge favour if they look to run with the ball, rather than stick to a defensive mindset – even if they do lose.

My SportGuru prediction is England by 11.

4 thoughts on “Six Nations Predictions: Scotland v England

  1. Having read this quote from Mike Ford this morning, I can’t say I am filled with confidence:

    “Our philosophy defensively is that the opposition don’t come through us. Wherever the ball is, we defend the ball. If the opposition want to go pass, pass, pass, pass and get over on the outside, then sometimes you have to say ‘fair enough’. But they never come through us. And if they come through us, I always have an insurance policy. But we got that wrong as well. It was a massive error because we lost the game from it but there were other errors along the way that we got wrong as well.”

    Wow. Schoolboy stuff.

    Scotland by 3.

  2. If Scotland can go through the phases and move the england forwards, not the most mobile pack in the world. They should be dangerous, Scotland like to get their backrow men running at backs and they are quite good at that. The scots have a tendancy to panic when in space as they are not use to having it.

    This England defense is very weak, there main defense is to keep the ball for long periods of time but both Wales and Ireland showed that if you get some quick ball this England line is there for the taking, of course both of those countries have more dangerous backs than Scotland.

    Scotlands main problem is confidence, they have none, and if England get ahead with a couple of Wilko drop goals it could be all over. However if the strat goes the other way then I fancy the scots.

  3. Ford really is an arse. Our defensive plan is that we won’t let people through. Well done Mike, did you think that up all by yourself?

    That’s like me saying “I’ve been thinking really hard for ages and I’ve figured out a way to beat Roger Federer – all I need to do is win 3 sets before he does”. All well and good but if you haven’t got the abilityto execute it you may as well shut up about your grand plans.

    Just reading that quote has really wound me up now. I think I feel more depressed about English rugby now than I did under Robinson or Ashton.

    I say Scotland by 6. I predict a boring game, but I’ve been surprised and impressed by Parks and he looks more capable than JW of controlling the game and helping his team edge a win.

  4. Come on chaps, it’s match day. Let’s have some optimism.

    Haskell, Easter, Wilko Flutey, Tait, Monye, Armitage…they can all be top players on their day. This is nearly half of the team, so if they all play at their best at the same time, we might see some quick ball, some running at pace and some penetration from the backline.

    England, I promise to forgive you if you play with width and pace and still lose.

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