Wales beating England in Round 3 was very disappointing, not least because it was my first incorrect pick on Superbru and I lost a few places as a result.
The first match this weekend looks like the toughest to call. Here are my Superbru predictions for Round 4 of the Six Nations.
Scotland v Wales
The Scots were beaten comfortably in Paris in Round 3, which was not a huge surprise given their injury woes. Finn Russell returns this weekend, which should give them a big boost, along with the fact that they beat Wales in their last fixture at Murrayfield. Welsh Rugby has been in turmoil this week, with shambolic discussions over the future of regional rugby, which will affect every player’s livelihood. That will surely have impacted their preparations this week, potentially affecting their focus on the Grand Slam campaign, and surely they won’t have the same sort of passion and drive that they showed against the English. I also feel like Wales are slightly overrated, although I can’t figure out if that’s an emotional or analytical assessment!
My Superbru prediction: Scotland by 2
Bookie handicap: Wales -4
England v Italy
I’m not convinced by this England lineup. It wasn’t long ago that Eddie Jones picked two playmakers in the centre, and now he has selected two big ball-carriers for whom passing is not their finest attribute. And why has Dan Robson not been given a start? Ben Youngs and Owen Farrell performed poorly in Cardiff, and so is this match not the perfect opportunity to see what their understudies can do, just in case there is ever the need again to try something different?
Sergio Parisse is back for Italy, and I expect they’ll do their best to frustrate England and cement their position as one of my least favourite teams to watch, but I can’t see them winning at Twickenham, and so it’s all about the margin.
The bookies have given England a 33-point handicap, which feels a little excessive, particularly as they have underestimated Italy in every match so far. I can see a ponderous, scrappy performance from England in the first-half before they get it together and pull away towards the end – I’m not really looking forward to the game…can anyone help to get me excited about it?
My Superbru prediction: England by 23
Bookie handicap: England -33
Ireland v France
In a most unusual turn of events, France have named an unchanged side for their visit to Dublin, and they might have a little more confidence after their win over the Scots. But realistically, they aren’t going to beat Ireland away from home. Ireland’s team isn’t out yet, but I expect the usual lineup as they seek to improve on their performances so far this year, and whilst they haven’t hit the heights of 2018 just yet, it would be a huge shock if they lost to France.
My Superbru prediction: Ireland by 13
Bookie handicap: Ireland -14
How do you see the games going this weekend? Can Scotland beat Wales?