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2019 Six Nations: Round One predictions!

This year's Six Nations begins tomorrow (Friday) when France take on Wales in Paris. I'm excited for the action to begin both on the pitch and at Superbru where we have three different games available for you to play. After last year's triumph, it is Ireland who are again the team to beat this year. You can view each team's finishing position by year on the graph below and feel free to let me know in the comments who you feel will top the table in 2019.

This year, in addition to doing these weekly articles I'm looking to take as many of you on as possible in my 'Challenge Hutch' predictor pool so feel free to get involved in that and take me on.

As well as the predictor game we also have two fantasy games that it's great to see lots of you have already joined. A unique extra to the usual full fantasy game we offered last year, there is a new daily fantasy format available in place of our former 'Superstars' tournament. In this new format, you must pick a 5-man team for each individual day of the Six Nations meaning France vs. Wales is an independent round first up!

Back to my picks then and I’m looking to win that 'Challenge Hutch' pool this year. Here are the Round 1 fixtures along with my picks for them.

France v Wales

This is a really tough one to call. Wales have had a great run of results, sneaking up to third in the world rankings and slipping under the radar whilst Ireland took all the plaudits in 2018. They have developed some depth in key positions, and don’t seem to be too weakened by the loss of Taulupe Faletau.

The French selection is interesting though, with an absolutely monstrous pack averaging nearly 19 stone per man, but then outside they have some ball-players. Mathieu Bastareaud is out, with Romain Ntamack and Wesley Fofana in the centres, with plenty of speed in the back three too.

I’m leaning towards Wales, with form on their side, a more mobile back row, and firepower of their own in the backline.

My Superbru prediction: Wales by 2

Scotland v Italy

This can only go one way I think, as the Italians just don’t seem to be kicking on, and Scotland have a decent team. Finn Russell has been in outstanding form playing in France, and whilst they have a few notable injuries, they’ll have enough to get past the Azzurri.

My Superbru prediction: Scotland by 18

Ireland v England

England welcome back some big players (literally) in the shape of Manu Tuilagi, Billy and Mako Vunipola, world-class ball-carriers that will provide what England have missed without them. The pack looks pretty much first-choice, with a good balance in the back row, strong lineout operators and capable scrummagers.

There are a few question marks over form in the backline, and whether Elliot Daly is the right choice at full-back, but it’s a strong team that will be looking to build on their better-than-expected Autumn results, buoyed by their returning stalwarts.

Ireland’s side is pretty settled, albeit with Robbie Henshaw out of position at full-back and one or two forwards missing from the squad. They also come into the tournament on the back of an incredible year last year, including a Grand Slam, series victory in Australia, and a first win over the All Blacks in Dublin. That winning habit will be difficult to break for England.

You know what you are going to get from Ireland. Relentless line-speed, brutal defence, well-oiled set-piece, aerial bombardment and ferocious kick-chase. Knowing what to expect doesn’t make it easier to counter, since they do everything with an unusual combination of precision and gaelic passion.

That said, I am cautiously optimistic as an England fan. Despite a patchy 2018, their performances in November will have restored confidence, the team selection is looking slightly more settled, and Eddie Jones will have instilled the belief they can win. On paper, a home win is the sensible pick, but I just have a sneaking suspicion.

My Superbru prediction: England by 2

Feel free to let me know your own predictions in the comments.. Good luck!
11,072 caps
I agree with first 2 matches: Wales by 4, Scotland by 18 BUT Iwent Ireland by 5
31 Jan 17:50
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I hope you are right on the Ireland v England game!
31 Jan 18:47
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Wales by 8, Scotland by 20 and Ireland by 8
31 Jan 19:16
25,332 caps
I think this years matches are a real challenge regarding predictions.
Rule of thumb, start with fit players - that has gone well out the window with a few teams, for sure.
Ireland vs England - I think for Ireland their whole tournament is about beating England and I say by 11. Interestingly we got two unfit 2nd 5/8th's and 2 loose cannons, one fit (Nowell) and one not, (Henshaw). This all reminds me of the 'Mad Hatter'sTea Party', but Ireland do have Keith Earls to bring reality to it all.
France vs Wales - Seriously what planet is the French Coach on. It ain't mine, but good luck to the chap. Pick a bunch of lazy, slow old crocks, apart from the one new guy (Ntamack)
I say prepare to' échouer'. No Serin or Thomas.
I think one of these teams may seriously go and rock it, but I stick with Wales by 8.
Scotland vs Italy -Either Scotland by 1 or 100. I have gone for 19 , why not.
Just my random thoughts guys.
Good luck all
:) G
1 Feb 01:20
14,328 caps
I always find your comments interesting Graham, both here and in our '4TOP200/2% pool Banter. (Shameless Plug!). Last year we had a few surprise results and Fan Power skewed the Bookies' odds a lot. Hutch is a Die-hard England Fan and is being a bit wishful. However Ireland might be a bit 'Loved Up' about themselves and over confident. England has always got the largest number to choose from remember (yet use foreigners too?). Wales can be slow starters and Scotland have got SERIOUS injury problems with many 3rd choices in key positions. 1 Feb 19:26
25,332 caps
You should be a Liberal politiician, say a lot that means nothing.
Do you know why Liberal's are crap at Rugby - They wear sandals and don't shave.

2 Feb 01:27
25,332 caps
meh meh - gl in ya predictions m8
2 Feb 01:29
14,328 caps
One week on and I think my warning about Irish over confidence was pretty prophetic. I still backed Ireland to win mind. I don't like to give away my picks Graham. I'm no Liberal (2010 Sell-outs!) but I think sport is a good way to put politics to one side. However what sports you follow in the UK in far more ingrained politically than back in NZ. Maybe that's their problem? Anyway keep up the bants Gee Dubya! 6 Feb 21:52
2,370 caps
To call England can be the upset this weekend. But to beat Ireland in their own backyard......after a great 2018.....Don't think so. Iv'e gone with Wales, Scotland and Ireland. All of them can be pretty close.....or walkovers.
1 Feb 03:50
780 caps
draw all over ,, first game and last game ,, scot s by 420
1 Feb 04:40
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I like the teams jusies this year
1 Feb 13:22
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1 Feb 13:57
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Ireland is unstopable
1 Feb 14:22
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Stopped, easily :) 4 Feb 10:40
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England beating Ireland? I don't think so. Scots giving Italians a hiding.
1 Feb 15:46
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You thought wrong Theogod :) 4 Feb 10:40
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You thought wrong Theogod :) 4 Feb 10:40
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England to beat Ireland?! Oh dear....
1 Feb 15:55
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You said Jack LOL 4 Feb 10:39
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Both those games are knife edge, France are pretty tough at home and Eddie has so much too prove. Regardless I'm still going to pick Wales and Ireland but seriously could end the weekend with 1 , 2 or 3 out of 3. Good Luck everyone!
1 Feb 16:43
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Wales by 5
Scotland by 19
Ireland by 8
1 Feb 22:09
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I think predictions today will be Scotland by 18 and I'm going Ireland England for a draw.
2 Feb 11:37
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It is only the begining
3 Feb 18:13
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We were told but we choose not to listen... Sigh! Great predictions Hutch
6 Feb 13:37
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