Welcome back to the PSA Academies 6 Nations Predictions Challenge – Week 4!
That was worse than waiting for Christmas but we’re right back in the thick of things with a mouthwatering Friday night face off between the narky neighbours Wales and Ireland.
As a reminder to anyone who has missed out on the fascinating story to date, the PSA Academies 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.
6 Nations Predictions Challenge – Week 4 : Latest standings after Week 3
1st place – Johne + Neil tied – 25 points
2nd place – Philippe + Johan tied – 20 points
The expert with the most points at the end of the tournament is crowned the PSA Academies 6 Nations Predictions Challenge ‘King of the Picks’, whilst the person finishing last gets to do a public PSA Academies 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!).
Friday 10 March – Wales v Ireland, 2005hrs kick off
Johan – Despite all the nerves about a Wales backlash, I can’t help but feel Wales have one way of playing and are a poor man’s South Africa (and that’s saying something at the moment). I think Ireland have too much game intelligence and control from Sexton & Murray to get beaten. After a tense match, Ireland will use Welsh indiscipline to deliver an assured victory.
Prediction – Wales to win by 8 points
Johne Murphy (@MurphyJohne) – What a cracking tie to look forward to, entering the last fortnight of the Championship. Wales are rudderless but dangerous, especially considering they were one botched exit away from beating the English. Ireland are back on track and Joe will have them 100% on message for the intensity and pressure the Welsh will apply. The better technical and disciplined side will win and that should be Ireland.
Prediction – Ireland to win by 8 points
Philippe Saint-André (@PSaintAndre) – This is another close game, just like England in Cardiff. I see a very similar match, strong physical direct Wales play with danger on the wings and the big Halfpenny boot, countered by good controlled kicking by Ireland and a strong forward display in the Wales 22. I think Wales need to win more.
Prediction – Wales to win by 2 points
Neil Marchant (@NeilMarchant2) – Wales at home on a Friday night. Even with all the fireworks, atmosphere & passion, they are a Nation at the crossroads and lacking direction under Rob Howler. Ireland have one eye on the English and will be too strong and organised.
Prediction – Ireland to win by 11 points
Saturday 11 March – Italy v France, 1330hrs kick off
Johan Taylor – The Italian’s may have been the pantomime villains in week 3 versus England but they won’t be able to pull the same trick twice and are in for another tough afternoon at home to a French team that have a big win in them. Expect France to go for the jugular early and if they find it, the Italians will be luck to prevent a riot.
Prediction – France to win by 22 points
Johne Murphy – Let’s no waste too many words on this one. Conor O’Shea is a bright man and great rugby brain. He’ll pull some more tricks out to disrupt France but this French team need a big win and they’ll have no fear of the Italians. The second half will be one way traffic.
Prediction – France to win by 24 points
Philippe Saint-André – I think this will be harder than the other guys. O’Shea has given Italy great belief with the Twickenham game & tactics. They can be very difficult for France this time. The French team will want to win big but this makes a pressure on them and they might make if difficult for themselves. They will win but only with scores in the last part of the game.
Prediction – France to win by 16 points
Neil Marchant – O’Shea’s tactics against England are now a thing of the past, so he’s going to need something similarly off the wall to buy himself time against Les Bleus. France will be confident, alert and hungry to run the ball. Expect some classic French flare and plenty of tries amongst all the handling errors.
Prediction – France to win by 27 points
Sunday 12 March – England v Scotland, 1600hrs kick off
Johan – I was probably running around the high veldt in short pants the last time Scotland visited Twickenham with a fighting chance to win a Triple Crown but that is what Vern Cotter’s side have, on paper at least. That said, England have spluttered along in this tournament and with an eye to Dublin next week, I expect their superior physical power and game management to deliver their best win this season to date.
Prediction – England to win by 12 points
Johne – Oh hello. This has upset written all over it. England counting their chickens, looking to next week and another shiny Grand Slam. Scotland are 100% the most improved side in the tournament and pound-for-pound, the inform side. If England off even 5% off their best, the Scots will be on them and I’m actually feeling a famous Scottish victory could on the cards, setting them up to grab the Championship next week. Who would have though that a few months ago?!
Prediction – Scotland to win by 2 points
Philippe – I think people overestimate Scotland based on their home form. This England team are better than France at the moment and France beat Scotland at home so I expect a home win. England will be looking to set down a marker for next week in Dublin.
Prediction – England to win by 12 points
Neil – this one tests my natural English Rugby Fan arrogance (Ed: had to sneak that in!). England are nearly back to full strength. Hartley and his pack will be wanting to dominate up front to allow the backs make up for the Italian job. Scotland will finally turn up thinking they can do it, but on the day, at Fortress Twickenham, they just can’t. Born & bred Billy Vunipola returns to the bench as a “finisher”, and he could make the difference in a tight encounter
Prediction – England to win by 4 points
Best of luck to all involved in the 6 Nations Predictions Challenge and enjoy the rugby wherever you are this weekend.