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Six Nations Predictions: Full Steam Ahead For The Grand Slam

Six Nations Predictions: Full Steam Ahead For The Grand Slam
By Conor O'Leary

After a long wait since the last Six Nations weekend, it's back and the excitement is building. Each game could be classed as a toss up, with Wales travelling to France, Scotland hosting Italy before the big game on Sunday.

The leader in the Balls.ie Prediction Game is Paddyja, after he retained his lead from last week with three correct results in Round 2.

Looking forward to the weekend, will our rugby nerds go for Ireland wins, or will the provinces be concerned with the new-found steel and danger in the England team? Here are the thoughts of our nerds.

Connacht Nerd - Connacht Man

Scotland v Italy

Italy look poor this year and Scotland have been unlucky, though that's hardly a new trend for them. Despite so far continuing their luckless trend when it comes to try-scoring, I feel they are due a break out game and will break the Italian line a few times, having matched the Azzurri up front and at the set piece. Would have said they were good for more without the absence of Finn Russell who has impressed in general play.

Prediction - Scotland by 12

France v Wales

This is a good Welsh team on paper, but they're not playing well. This is also a decent French team on paper so this is quite a hard one to call. Having said that, I expect a French backlash at home and I think they'll have just enough. Two teams that have been underprforming, it's hard to know whether this will be a good game or a drudge fest.

Prediction - France by 5

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Ireland v England

The tightest game of the weekend obviously. I'm picking Ireland to win it by a score because I think they are on the brink of playing some good rugby and could be about to peak at the right time. England's attack is miles better than it's been in years but I expect our defence to be up the task most of the time! Saying that, we'll need to match them up front, and I expect O'Connell, O'Brien and O'Mahony to play out of their skins.

Prediction - Ireland by 2

Ulster Nerd - Ryan Cullen

Scotland v Italy

Despite having lost both games so far Scotland have impressed me. Under Vern Cotter they look like they have been given the freedom to go out and attack sides and this is allowing their young backline to flourish. Unfortunately, so far they have been suffering from a fairly bad case of white line fever. That shouldn't be an issue against Italy though who look to be at their lowest ebb for some time. A 20 minute spell against a half asleep England aside Italy have looked poor. Whilst the likes of Parisse, Ghiraldini and Campagnaro have genuine quality, they are surrounded by plenty who don't. An easy Scotland win.

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Prediction - Scotland by 18

France v Wales

A tale of the lumps against the lumps? Other than Jacques Brunel (or possibly not in the case of PSA) I think these are the two dullest coaches in the competition. France have the talent to match any other team in the world on their day whereas the sheer inability of Wales to think outside the box if Plan A doesn't work is ridiculous given the level of talent available to Gatland.

>As it is, Saturday's game should more Hagler-Hearns than anything with a degree of flair. Oddly though I think it will be the influence of one of the smallest men on the pitch which will decide the outcome. I expect Morgan Parra's ability to move the French lumps around more effectively to give them the edge in a fairly tight game.

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Prediction -  France by 6

Ireland v England

Although I hope i'm wrong, I think this looks like it has kick-fest written all over it. We know Ireland under Joe Schmidt kick plenty (although generally very intelligently) and given the changes Lancaster has made it's hard not to see them doing the same. Goode isn't much of a counter-attacker and Nowell has been drafted in specifically to remove the problem of Johnny May's appalling positional sense.

For what it's worth I would play Iain Henderson rather than Jordi Murphy as Ireland's replacement backrower. Obviously I am an Ulster fan and would love to see Henderson given a go from the start but I feel that this game will ultimately be won up front and the stronger Ireland's set piece is the better. Henderson's sheer size would help in both regards.

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Overall I tentatively suggest Ireland will win by less than a score although a similar sized victory for England wouldn't shock me either.

Prediction - Ireland by 5

Leinster Nerd - Colm O'Donoghue

Scotland v Italy

Scotland were by all accounts unlucky against Wales, but they were also foolish in their inability to win a close game. Losing Finn Russell for this game hurts their backline, but I think they will have too much for Italy and will look to ensure they avoid the wooden spoon for this year. Italy’s backline gets better every time Haimona is not involved, yet he continues. Look for Scotland to win comfortably enough.

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Prediction - Scotland by 20

France v Wales

Both teams have rung the changes a little for this one. France replace 4 out of 7 in the backs with Thomas, Spedding, Bastareaud and Kockott making way for Guitoune, Dulin, Lamerat and Parra. The inclusion of the brilliant Clermont scrum half will likely mean much quicker ball for Lopez, Fofana and those dangerous outside backs. Wales have replaced Lion Richard Hibbard as well as the bearded Jake Ball in an unexpected shake up. I think France should use their home field advantage and could well win this comfortably, but I’ll plump for them by 6.

Prediction - France by 6

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Ireland v England

While there’s a wooden spoon decider on in Murrayfield, the Championship and likely the Grand Slam looks to be decided in Dublin. Both sides will be shorn of one of their key players with Mike Brown and Jamie Heaslip missing out due to injury. With Sean O’Brien that much closer to full fitness, his influence on this game will be important. If he can take over, Ireland will cause problems. Look for Henshaw to get in on the scoring with Morisi scoring two tries for Italy against the inexperienced English midfield a fortnight ago. Hard to predict anything but a close one and so I’m going for Ireland by a whisker.

Prediction - Ireland by 3

Munster Nerd - Patrick Hogan

Scotland v Italy

This is the game Scotland will have banked on winning and I can't see any other result bar a home win. Italy will be a tough but to crack but by the 80th minute Scotland will have done enough to have a clear win. I suspect both teams will leak a try or two but I expect Scotland to win by about 10 points.

Prediction - Scotland by 10

France v Wales

Wales travel to Paris in hope rather than expectation, France field a changed side from what faced Ireland but I think they'll take an early lead and be in control from start to finish. France to win by 13 points.

Prediction - France by 13

Ireland v England

Ireland take on England in what will possibly be the tournament decider. The lead will probably seesaw from start to finish with both teams scoring at least one try but discipline and penalties will decide the game.

Prediction - Ireland by 7

See Also:  Try And Beat Us At Our Six Nations Predictions Game – We Dare You!
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