It’s all about the points difference…
Italy rocked the rugby world and the 6 Nations on Sunday by beating the favourites France in a nail-biting opening game in Rome to win 23-18. In pre-tournament talk the Italians indicated they had something to offer this year and they certainly delivered yesterday at the Stadio Olimpico. They go to Murrayfield next week to take on Scotland who for a few minutes on Saturday looked capable of scoring but eventually crumbled under a strong England performance at Twickenham.
Scotland v Italy Prediction – A tight game with Italy eventually winning by a small margin. Similar score to the French game.
England lived up to the hype and delivered a composed 4 try performance at home (Twickenham) against an ever hopeful Scotland. There were a few moments and 2 tries from Scotland but discipline was their ultimate undoing and 4 penalties added another 12 points to the score tally. Owen Farrell is rapidly growing into a world-class no 10. Next week England travel to Dublin for what many think is the early tournament (Grand Slam even) decider.
Ireland v England Prediction – A blistering game with a host of tries and England winning by a clear 10 points.
Wales, what have you done? Ireland slipped in a quick try and were 3-30 just after half time with it looking like they were going to score a half century! Then something clicked. The slow ball from the forwards and half backs started to come out a bit quicker and what I think is still the best set of backs in the tournament were released and Wales began to score. Ireland were on the back foot, under pressure but ultimately holding on. 3 tries from Wales wasn’t enough and they were left with 4 minutes to go and 2 scores needed. It was a great second half but Wales should have put the game to bed when 2 yellow cards for Ireland for pivotal players in Rory Best and Conor Murray left them down to 14 men for a quarter of the game. Must try harder next week boys.
Next week is a trip to Paris! “Which French team will turn up?” the usual question and the whole of France and Wales will be expecting a different side to the one that went to Rome…
France v Wales Prediction – I can’t call it… Both teams need to win with so much to prove and so many demons to exorcise. Hate to say it but I think France will edge it.
Wales just need to keep the points difference down to a minimum if we are to avoid the dreaded wooden spoon – the battle for which could well be in Scotland on the 9th March.