Six Nations Tournament Predictions8th February 2018 / Julian
The Six Nations is underway and the big question of the tournament is can England win the prestigious tournament three times in a row? In both 2016 and 2017, England managed to secure the title with a round to spare, but they were denied the Grand Slam last year by an Ireland team who seemed to find their best rugby just as the tournament drew to a close. Indeed, many eyes will be on the Irish this year who have been promising to stake their claim to the title for a while now.
The opening weekend saw England, Ireland and Wales all record victories, while France, Scotland and Italy all have cause to think again. France have much to rue after a last-gasp Irish drop goal saw the game slip away from them, while Scotland will have to consider why their pre-tournament expectation could only return a rout at the hands of the Welsh.
Much of the talk pre-tournament has surrounded injuries and injury woes with England missing key men such as prop Kyle Walker, three-quarter Elliot Daly, Mike Brown, Billy Vunipola, Chris Robshaw, Semesa Rokoduguni and Nathan Hughes. It’s an injury list that will give Eddie Jones some serious cause for concern. Spare a thought then for Warren Gatland who is missing nine, yes NINE, key men with Dan Lydiate, Jonathan Davies, Jake Ball, Rhys Priestland, Sam Warburton, Taulupe Faletau, Dan Biggar, Liam Williams and Rhys Webb out of action.
By comparison, Ireland seem to have got off lightly with just five injuries, while Scotland and France have three apiece. Of all the nations taking part, only Italy seem to have a side at full strength, though it did them little good against England on Sunday.
Prices offered by William Hill for tournament winner are as follows: England 4/5, Ireland 6/4, Wales 13/2, France 40/1, Scotland 40/1 and Italy 1000/1.
Wales 34-7 Scotland
It should have been a close run game with lots of intrigues. As it was Wales utterly steamrollered Scotland team who gave a spineless, woeful, clueless performance. At the start of the tournament you’d have received 20/1 for Wales to win outright, but those odds have sharply come into 13/2. Scotland meanwhile have fallen from 8/1 to 40/1. All the talk pre-match focused on how Wales were looking weakened by an ever-lengthening injury list. They certainly didn’t look weak on Saturday.
Gregor Townsend certainly has a lot of explaining to do as he inherited a Scotland side that at least had the makings of a decent team thanks to Vern Cotter. Promising indications from their matches with Australia are now long forgotten. Scotland simply don’t travel well and have failed to beat Wales at the Millenium stadium since 2002. Warren Gatland will be looking to use this fine victory to push Wales onto even greater things.
France 13-15 Ireland
What chance do Ireland have this year? A good one if truth be told, but they’ll need to be a little braver and bolder in their remaining games if they wish to win the Six Nations outright. Ireland have tightened their defences over the last year and their attacking play has been devastating at times. It was a shame to see less attacking play this weekend than Irish eyes would have hoped. Still, Ireland got the all important win and that’s what matters. Ireland are a team with strength in depth which you can see when you look at the players they’ve left out with Simon Zebo, Donnacha Ryan, Ian Madigan and Marty Moore all sitting at home.
France, meanwhile, are lacking a certain je ne sais quoi at the moment, and it is the ‘I don’t know what’ element that is most worrying. What kind of French team we’ll see for the rest of tournament is anybody’s guess, but after a disastrous spell under Guy Novès, the incoming Jacques Brunel has a lot of work to do. If Saturday’s match proves anything, it is that turning France around might take a little longer than their fans would hope.
Italy 15-46 England
England go into the tournament as favourites once more and despite being forced to play a hugely depleted side they saw off Italy quite convincingly on Sunday. In all of their meetings at the Six Nations, Italy have failed to beat the England side even once. Italy did manage to get a few points on the board, and for a while it seemed like it might be a tighter game than it was, but when the floodgates finally opened the match became a rout. This was a sterner warm up than England may have expected, but all in all, it was a professional display of putting your enemy to the sword.
Tournament prediction: This year’s tournament should go to one of the home nations but picking between them is a harder task. Even with injury woes England have it in them to win again this year, but there are definite signs they won’t have it all their own way this time around. England to win.
The tip is based on the personal opinion of the author. No success is guaranteed. Please gamble responsibly. 18+
* All mentioned odds were valid at the time of writing. Betting odds are subject to fluctuations. Please check the current odds with the respective bookmaker!
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