I haven’t given up after last week’s unsuccessful attempts at predictions!
Wales v Scotland
I would hope to see Wales improve on last week’s performance. They looked very dangerous with the ball in hand, especially in midfield. I imagine that’s why Andy Robinson’s brought in Sean Lamont, to try and stop the charging Roberts and the guile of Hook. Scotland have real class in Thom Evans and the battle between him and Shane Williams could be very exciting. Scotland will have taken heart from watching Wales’ line-out last weekend, I imagine Nathan Hines will be licking his lips at the prospect! Chris Paterson’s place kicking is probably the most accurate in the world. Wales cannot afford to give awaytoo many penalties in their own half, they will be punished if they do. The other position Scotland may have supremacy is at scrum-half. Many people were surprised that Gareth Cooper held on to the no. 9 jersey after his performance against England. Having said all that, I still expect Wales to win by 10 points. They can’t afford to give away as many points as they did against England. If they get their line-out functioning and make less handling errors (shouldn’t be too difficult!) they should be able to show the class they have in the backline and score some good tries.
France v Ireland
This could be a tasty encounter, especially after Morgan Parra’s interesting comments in the past few days. This is being billed as the Six Nations decider already. It could go either way. If France turn up (and nobody ever knows how thy are going to play!) they should win. However, Ireland have learnt how to grind out victories where necessary with O’Gara and O’Driscoll using their kicks effectively. I think that, either France will run away with it, or it’ll be a close Irish victory. I think I’ll go with the latter, Ireland by 2 points.
England v Italy
England will win. Probably quite easily, I would say by 13 points. But if they do, they need to remember who the opposition are and not get carried away. They are going in the right direction it seems, but they mustn’t assume that they’ve improved that much in a short space of time after beating an underperforming Welsh side and, presumably, a stuttering Italy. After all, after this weekend’s round of matches, they could find themselves sitting at the top of the Six Nations table.