RuckScience Winners Prediction – England
RuckScience “Dark Horse” Prediction – Scotland Top Three Finish
With COVID-19 wreaking havoc on the spectator-less 2021 Guinness Six Nations combined with the tournament starting just three months after the previous tournament ended, it was always going to be an interesting event.
England were the defending champions but ended up in fifth place ahead of only Italy after winning just two matches. France were robbed of the championship by a resurgent Scotland in Saint-Denis; les bleus needed to win the clash by twenty-one points or more to grant them a try-scoring bonus point to overtake Wales who were in pole position.
The Scotland vs France game in particular highlighted why this sporting event is quite possibly the best rugby tournament on the planet, as France beat the eventual champions Wales by only two points with a very late try in their head-to-head in the earlier weeks.
After the final weekend of action, the table finished as follows:
England… Point to prove
England seem to be a polarising team and will no doubt come out of the blocks faster than a commentator’s one liner, with the added fuel to their fire of having finished fifth with a negative points difference in the 2021 edition. Eddie Jones seems to have finally started introducing players to the squad that have been lauded by the pundits but have missed out on selection previously. They may also have the most exciting fly half prospect in Marcus Smith, who many think simply has to start.
France… World Cup 2023
With France now “warmed up” after several years of disappointing results and with a home victory at the 2023 Rugby World Cup firmly in their sights, we think they are going to attempt to take a strangle hold on this year’s matchups. A resounding win recently against New Zealand will have boosted their confidence and belief. Add into the equation a game in Paris against England as the final weekend’s last fixture which will most likely be the decider of the entire tournament as well as an absolute treat for all neutral fans.
Scotland… Converting potential to podium finishes
Scotland are without a doubt fully capable of finishing in the top three, and dare we say it, winning the entire thing. However, with England out with a point to prove and France seemingly showing up in their three Autumn Internationals, Scotland need to bring the most important thing of all to the table (and what every Scotsman would associate with a good bowl of porridge) – the right consistency.
Ireland… Old dogs, new tricks
Ireland are in an interesting place; Andy Farrell is most certainly a very talented head coach and is bringing younger blood into the squad. Will they find their groove quickly? Would they be ready to pass on the number ten position to a young pretender if required? Ireland are always a strong side and you would be foolish to count them out of being title contenders, but then you could say the same about practically all of the other sides in this tournament.
Wales… The defending champions
Wales are the defending champions after an excellent showing in 2021, coming through several very tight games. But in a competition where nearly every game could (at least on paper) go either way, Wales will need to bring out some very strong performances to tackle the likes of France and England and still retain their crown. Definitely maybe.
Italy… Sanding down the wooden spoon
Some audiences, perhaps unfairly, suggest that Italy or the lowest performing team should be replaced by the likes of Georgia or the team who finishes at the top of the Rugby Europe Championship. It is a controversial opinion, and we would love to see Italy string together a couple of victories. This improvement will doubtless not happen overnight, but we silently root for Italy to pick things up and to get some points on the board.
Ireland v Wales — Saturday, Feb 5, Dublin
Scotland v England — Saturday Feb 5, Edinburgh
France v Italy — Sunday, Feb 6, Paris
Wales v Scotland — Saturday, Feb 12, Cardiff
France v Ireland — Saturday, Feb 12, Paris
Italy v England — Sunday, Feb 13, Rome
Scotland v France — Saturday, Feb 26, Edinburgh
England v Wales — Saturday, Feb 26, Twickenham
Ireland v Italy — Sunday, Feb 27, Dublin
Wales v France — Friday, March 11, Cardiff
Italy v Scotland — Saturday, March 12, Rome
England v Ireland — Saturday, March 12, Twickenham
Wales v Italy — Saturday, March 19, Cardiff
Ireland v Scotland — Saturday, March 19, Dublin
France v England — Saturday, March 19, Paris