It’s week 2 of the 6 Nations and to save our Whatsapp group plus to do something different than the standard match preview with Philippe, we’ve pitted the best of the PSA Academies rugby coaching and playing brains (and Neil, our Head of Operations) against each other in the 6 Nations Predictions Challenge to see who REALLY knows what will happen in this year’s championship.
And yes, we know we missed week one but that was just a practice round, wasn’t it (Ed – hopeful Irish fan here)…
The 6 Nations Predictions Challenge rules are simple. Each expert (and Neil) needed to give us a simple match summary plus a winner prediction and winning margin (if a draw was predicted, they needed to predict the total match points). It is 5 points for a correct result prediction and 5 points for a correct winning margin/total draw match points total.
The expert with the most points at the end of the tournament is crowned the 6 Nations Predictions Challenge ‘King of the Picks’, whilst the person finishing last gets to do a public 6 Nations Predictions Challenge forfeit at the Sport Meets Adventure Charity Fundraising Dinner in Finborough School on Saturday 1st April (no prizes for guessing who we want to be on the stage that night!).
Saturday 11 February – Italy v Ireland, 1425hrs kick off
Johan Taylor – Expect Ireland to shake off the effects of the Scotland game and despite some fierce Italian resistance in the first half, pull out convincing winners in the end.
Prediction – Ireland to win by 20 points
Johne Murphy (@MurphyJohne) – after the apparent lack of leadership on show in Murrayfield, losing captain and talisman Rory Best to a stomach bug is a blow but a hurt Irish team will have too much for Conor O’Shea’s team.
Prediction – Ireland to win by 17 points
Philippe Saint-André (@PSaintAndre) – Ireland will have shaken of their rustiness from last week and will make a statement of intent, starting better, controlling the game and getting the four try bonus point late on.
Prediction – Ireland to win by 25 points
Neil Marchant (@NeilMarchant2) – Italy will feel the full backlash following Ireland’s shock defeat to Scotland. It won’t be easy to start with in Rome, it never is but Joe Schmidt’s men will want a convincing win and the four try bonus point to get back on track.
Prediction – Ireland to win by 30 points
Saturday 11 February – Wales v England, 1650hrs kick off
Johan – Forget the Aviva Stadium on 18th March, this is the fixture that derails England’s Grand Slam hopes! Wales were clinical in a tricky opener against Italy away and where the French let a stuttering England off the hook, the Welsh have enough experience and power to edge a titanic match in Cardiff.
Prediction – Wales to win by 3 points
Johne – this is going to be a proper test match with two very strong, physical and experienced sides. After a quieter match last week, when the French could and arguably should have won, expect England, particularly at half back, to turn the screw at key times, getting back to their Grand Slam winning form of 2016. They should have just too much quality for Wales, who’ll nab the losing bonus point to stay in Championship contention.
Prediction – England to win by 4 points
Philippe – England were lucky to meet a French side out of the habit of winning crunch games last week and they need to improve a lot to beat Wales at home. But Eddie Jones (who I recently interviewed for French TV) is a clever manager and he will have his team at their peak for this game. They have too much youth, power and speed for Wales but it will be very close, like many games between the teams in Cardiff.
Prediction – England to win by 1 point
Neil – I’m misting up here just thinking about what write about my beloved England… If our boys can play that badly against the French and nab a win, Wales will be worried! Eddie Jones will have really worked the squad hard this week and with the Principality Stadium roof open or closed, it is going to be an electric atmosphere. Wales will be dogged but England’s class will show as they pull away in the second half.
Prediction – England to win by 10 points
Sunday 12 February – France v Scotland, 1500hrs kick off
Johan – The French might not have got over the line against England but there was enough evidence in that game and their November near miss against the All Blacks, the Les Bleus are on their way back. Scotland will be full of confidence but Paris can be a lonely place when French belief is flowing.
Prediction – France to win by 10 points
Johne – not since the days of Gavin Hastings and the last great Scottish generation, will the Tartan Army have travelled with such confidence to Paris. France were close last week and are improving but a hard rucking, well drilled Scottish team will be a hard nut for them to crack and the frustrations of the team and crowd could give Scotland enough chances to pinch this.
Prediction – Scotland to win by 4 points
Philippe – after the performances against New Zealand and England, this is the game where France will show they are back in the top division of international rugby. They will have too much power, ambition and pace out wide for a brave Scotland, who will stay in touch until the second half but will miss out on the losing bonus point late on.
Prediction – France to win by 12 points
Neil – Scotland will need to be REALLY brave against against an angry France in Paris but it is hard to see Vern Cotter’s men being able to live with a French side that should start fast and hard, with a partisan crowd enjoying the rediscovered attacking flair that the team are trying to play with.
Prediction – France to win by 12 points
Best of luck to all involved in the 6 Nations Predictions Challenge and enjoy the rugby wherever you are this weekend.