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2023 Six Nations: Round 1 Predictions

Excitement is building for this year’s Six Nations, and it could be one of the greatest ever featuring the top two teams in the world rankings, with a Rugby World Cup around the corner, two new coaches and plenty of sub-plots.

Here are my Six Nations predictions for Round 1.

Wales v Ireland

There is more optimism around the Welsh team since the Autumn, but all that has changed is that they’ve brought back Warren Gatland and his pragmatism. They lost to Georgia in a disappointing November campaign, and they’ve picked most of Gatland’s old favourites for this opening match. Ireland had a stellar 2022 by comparison, and I can’t see Wales springing any surprises with Gats at the helm - they won’t be a pushover, but this is a game that Ireland should win if they are serious about World Cup success. Ireland by 9

England v Scotland

England also have a new coach at the helm, and this is a difficult opening fixture against their oldest rivals. The lack of time under Steve Borthwick might work in their favour, however, as I’m expecting them to be given more freedom than they enjoyed under Eddie Jones. With Marcus Smith at the helm and plenty of quality across the backline, if they are trusted with their own instincts, they’ll be difficult to beat at Twickenham.

That said, I’m enjoying watching Scotland at the moment and they are capable of beating most teams in the world. The fear factor of Twickenham has gone after their success there in recent years, and they’ll be aware that England normally start slowly in the Six Nations. On balance I’m backing England to edge it, and hopefully we’ll see some entertaining rugby. England by 4

Italy v France

I’m not brave enough to pick Italy, but I think they are being a little underestimated. They recorded their first-ever win over Australia in November, following up their first-ever away win over Wales in last year’s tournament, and this won’t be a walkover. Benetton have shown us how difficult it is to win in Italy, and the French dislike of playing away from home is well-known. I still think France will win, but I expect it will be close for much of the match. France by 13

83,617 caps
Agree with you, but have the Ireland margin smaller.
3 Feb 12:37
15,985 caps
Im backing Scotland for this first game, but narrowly
3 Feb 14:05
19,370 caps
Ireland by 25, England by 15 and France by 33. Worth a pop
4 Feb 01:52