It’s time for the second round of matches in this year’s 6 Nations Championships. If you’re a rugby fan, you’re in for a scorching weekend. We’re treated to three exciting fixtures across Saturday and Sunday. France will host Ireland in the Stade de France to kick start proceedings on Saturday. Then, we’re off to Cardiff where Wales will face Scotland in an all-British clash. On Sunday, you can enjoy some early afternoon rugby as England travel to Rome to face Italy.
All these fixtures are intriguing and promise for a great weekend of sport. But, who will come out on top when the final whistle blows? I’ve previewed all three fixtures and given my thoughts on who the winners will be.
France v Ireland
Home advantage could be crucial here if France wants to walk away with all the points. It’s no secret that they can be a very unpredictable team. They could play badly for a few games on the trot and then pull a magnificent performance out of the bag. The French team have won 32 of the 45 games played between the sides in France. However, they haven’t tasted victory, against the Irish, since 2011. And, the two sides met as recently as October, during the Rugby World Cup. In that match, Ireland ran out comfortable victors and played them off the park. The Irish team are very strong and have a powerful scrum, which could be crucial. Add to that a formidable backline and it’s clear they’re the favourites. For me, Ireland will win this, but it won’t be as easy as it was back in October.
Wales v Scotland
This is such an interesting fixture purely because of how much Scotland have improved over the last year or so. If I saw this fixture last year, I’d have picked Wales without a second thought. However, it’s slightly harder to make my mind up here. Scotland has become a team that can actually score tries now. They tore Australia apart in the world cup last year; it was brilliant to watch. But, they’re still not a great team on the defensive side of things. And, when you look at the Wales team, it’s littered with exciting backs. Plus, if Dan Biggar continues his fine form, they can’t afford to give any penalties away within 50 metres. I think it’s going to be tight, but Wales have the edge because they’re got more going forward and more strength in depth too.
Italy v England
On this weekend of blockbuster fixtures, Italy v England stands out as the ‘worst’ match of the three. Don’t be put off, it still has the potential to be thrilling. If Italy is going to win a game this year, it will be at home. Rugby is growing in Italy, and the national team is getting better. But, I do think this game will be exciting purely because of England. I, like everyone else, is excited to see the English backline let loose. There’s no better opportunity to run the ball and score tries than against Italy. Expect a lot of ball in hand, and a comfortable English victory.
So, strap yourself in and get ready for an awesome weekend of international rugby!