2021 Six Nations: Round 1 Predictions
Having spent a couple of weeks wondering whether the Six Nations would go ahead at all, I’m now getting very excited at the prospect of international rugby over the next couple of months.
I expect the standard of Rugby to be far better than the Autumn Nations Cup, with a proper trophy up for grabs and 150 years of rivalries to further raise the stakes.
Here are my Six Nations predictions for Round 1 this weekend.
Italy v France
Italy have been getting worse in recent years, but at least this time it looks as though coach Franco Smith has a plan to blood some youth and grow some experience. This tournament will come to soon, particularly without new talisman Jake Polledri, and it will be a question of how many they will lose by each week. It’s a strong France team going to Rome, and I think they’ll win fairly comfortably with Antoine Dupont pulling the strings. France by 23
England v Scotland
I expect England to win this, but I think it could be closer than some people think. England are usually slow starters in the tournament, and it could be worse this year because of a lack of game time amongst some key players - the Saracens contingent of Owen Farrell, Jamie George, Maro Itoje and Elliot Daly in particular have not played a lot of rugby. Aside from the anomalous drubbing in 2017, matches between these teams have been decided by 12 points or fewer in recent years, and I think it might be similar this time. England by 11
Wales v Ireland
This is a really tricky fixture to pick, with Wales now ranked 9th in the world and in a poor run of form. But they’re at home in the opening fixture - Wales usually start well in the Six Nations - and I think they’ll fancy their chances against Ireland. Yet without Josh Adams and Liam Williams, their attack is significantly blunted, and they haven’t exactly been known for their ruthless try-scoring over the last couple of years. I’ll wait for team news before locking in my pick, but for now I’m going for a tentative Ireland by 2