Six Nations 2019: Round 2 Predictions

Dan Biggar

Now then. I’m not normally one to gloat, particularly as I put my head above the parapet with various predictions on a regular basis and occasionally I get them wrong. However, those that rubbished my predictions last week can feel free to apologise to me, and I will not hold it against you 🙂

Anyway, on to Round 2, which looks relatively straightforward.

Scotland v Ireland
How much should we read into Ireland’s defeat at home last weekend? Were Ireland bad, or were England just too good on the day? They’ll be desperate to get back to winning ways, albeit missing a couple of players through injury, and they haven’t won at Murrayfield since 2015.

The Scots put in a fairly mixed performance against Italy in Round 1, running away with it early in the second half, but then almost conceding a losing bonus point when they took their foot off the gas. They squandered several opportunities during the game, and I fear that any similar profligacy against Ireland will be severely punished.

This is a huge game for Ireland in a tough environment. A victory would put them back on track, and last week’s defeat can be explained away as a bump in the road. A defeat in Edinburgh and their self-belief will be in pieces as the Rugby World Cup looms.

My Superbru prediction: Ireland by 7
Bookie handicap: Ireland -6

Italy v Wales
No fewer than ten changes for Wales as they travel to Rome to take on the Wooden Spoon favourites. It’s a bit of a gamble, and Conor O’Shea would love to spring a surprise on Warren Gatland’s men, but it would be an enormous upset.

Wales have won by an average of 28 points on their last away trips to Italy, and whilst I think it might be tight in the first half, Wales will ultimately prevail.

My Superbru prediction: Wales by 18
Bookie handicap: Wales -18

England v France
I’ve enjoyed the aftermath of France’s capitulation against Wales, with Thomas Casteignede saying the team wasn’t French enough. Losing from that position couldn’t be more French, so I don’t know what he’s talking about!

Les Bleus looked in reasonable shape in the first half, with some pace out wide complementing their enormous bludgeon of a forward pack. Arthur Iturria performed better than expected in the back row, and they’ll cause any team problems up front with their sheer weight. This week they have swapped the pace out wide for additional bludgeon, with Mathieu Bastareaud recalled, and Jacques Brunel has named no fewer than four centres in the starting lineup.

Eddie Jones has made a couple of enforced changes, and Ben Moon and Dan Cole are recalled to the bench to add some ballast and scrummaging expertise in the second half. But if England can turn in another performance like last week, they won’t be too worried about the French.

With Billy and Mako Vunipola back in the fold, as well as Manu Tuilagi in the backs, England finally have some ball-carrying firepower of their own, which should ensure they get over the gainline and provide more quick ball for Ben Youngs and Owen Farrell.

England’s defence was extremely effective in Dublin, and a similar forward effort will help nullify the French back row in the same way that the Irish were outplayed last weekend.

The French can be dangerous, but more often than not they are fairly rubbish, and England will want to send a big message ahead of the Rugby World Cup pool match between these teams in September.

My Superbru prediction: England by 16
Bookie handicap: England -13

Follow Hutch on Twitter: @Hutch_James

10 thoughts on “Six Nations 2019: Round 2 Predictions

  1. ‘I’m not normally 1 to gloat’. What, after using a 1000 words when 1 would have done following the England result last Sat?! Couldn’t make it up could you Hutch?! Surely
    you’re wasted here? You should be writing for Hollywood. Having stated that, yr predictions will likely go as you opine. Not entirely convinced about all the score lines though. For instance Wales with 10 out may be pushed for 18. And I’d have thought you’d have had it @ least by 116 for England after yr last week’s verbal upchucks. Also yr opinion on Ireland’s ‘self belief being in pieces’ after 1 loss hardly tallies with England’s when they only relatively recently lost 9 does it? How much a game makes eh? Additionally, if Ireland win nxt Sat, their loss last week will have only been ‘a bump in the road’? Like NZ’s previous 1 to Ireland I suppose? Unlikely? Anyway, I agree with yr view that Ireland will look to ‘get back to winning ways’ & so they may prevail by a few more than 8, but we’ll see. Finally & without wishing to impinge on yr right to freedom of expression, I was nevertheless, somewhat taken aback by some of yr subjective comments about France. These include how you ‘enjoyed the aftermath of France’s capitulation against Wales’ & ‘Losing from that position couldn’t be more French’. Surely these, coming from you as 1 of the site’s authors, smack of an anti-French sentiment more akin to those of some Brexiteers & as such are also therefore ‘borderline’ racist, are they not? Perhaps you could modify yr opinions to have @ least a degree of objectivity when it comes to such matters & be a better example to us, yr audience?

    1. Hi Don, if you re-read the bit about Ireland’s confidence, I think it will be in pieces if they lose in Edinburgh. I know you can’t wait to get to the comments to start winding people up, but I know you also like to get your facts straight.

      I’m not going to rise to your accusations of racism.

      1. I know that Hutch. Why should Ireland be in ‘bits’ even if they do lose to Scotland? That’s a valid ? Not a wind up. You could sometimes try & distinguish between the 2. As England & you don’t seem to be in bits following 9 fairly recent losses, but 1 win last Sat, why should Ireland nec be so if they lose just 2? Won’t do them much good sure, but the team & coach are surely capable of picking themselves up again with their prev record? I asked if yr anti-French sentiments were ‘borderline’ racist? That’s why I put a ? mark @ the end. Unlike some time ago in an email when you actually accused me of same remember? Over AlexD & alleged PI poaching by NZ.
        In any event, you could, in yrself position, be more objective, or professional, in some of yr reportage, unless of course you just want to take advantage of preaching to a relatively captive audience. Easier that way I suppose. And BTW, I do make the occasional point judging by the odd thumbs up, so yr contention that I’m a wind up merchant doesn’t entirely hold water. So, anyway, I’ll look fwd to an adjustment in yr style after Sun then.

          1. Thanks ror yr advice Jacko. Much appreciated, but as I’ve mentioned b4, but which you presumably missed, I do have a life. It’s called TRB! It’s not only my life, it’s my whole life & my only life. It’s also known as the good life. Do you know of it? Have a good 1. Regds.

      2. Mmm. Are there 17 other not pro-French punters out there too then? Bit of a surprise. I can see that I’ll have to drastically change my thumbs up tack! OTOH, trust the Fr team didn’t also see this number of th’s ups. It might just gee THEM up a bit.

  2. Scotland by 2
    My head is telling me that Ireland will be eager to get back on track and be dominant on Saturday but I can’t shake this feeling a shock could be on the cards. Scotland have been great at home and the pressure is on Ireland for this one.

    Wales by 20
    I don’t buy into the weakened Wales team argument. In the last few 6 nations Wales have used the Italy game to give fringe players game time and have had big wins every time.

    England by 5
    I think home advantage will make the real difference here. France aren’t as bad as recent results have made them seem and I’m not expecting and mistakes like last week.

    Saying that England are playing more as a team lately with better structure and cohesion so I’m going to go for them to edge it.


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