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2024 Six Nations: Round 1 Predictions

A new 4-year Rugby cycle gets underway this weekend, with the first international action since the Rugby World Cup, and this year’s tournament seems fairly open with several teams beginning a rebuild.

I’m excited for this tournament, and hopefully we’ll see some more ambitious rugby than we saw from some teams last year, not to name any names England.

Here are my Six Nations predictions for Round 1.

France vs. Ireland

This is a thrilling prospect as the opening match of the tournament, and I quite like a Friday night kick off. There are plenty of unknowns, but this could well be the tournament decider as the two best teams from last year go head-to-head in Marseille.

Without Antoine Dupont and Johnny Sexton, both teams need to find a slightly different identity, and the team that France have selected suggests a monstrous, physical approach with a touch of French flair. Ireland have countered this with a 6-2 bench split, as if they are expecting an attritional game, and Andy Farrell always has a plan up his sleeve.

I think Sexton is a bigger loss for Ireland than Dupont for France, and that coupled with home advantage, means that I am backing the home side here. France by 4

Italy vs. England

There seems to be plenty of optimism surrounding England going into this tournament, presumably based on a ‘good effort’ against the Springboks in the World Cup semi-final. Some people have forgotten that England have shown next to nothing in attack over the last year, and to think that can come together against Italy feels a little optimistic.

It’s also a slightly uninspiring selection, with George Ford, Elliot Daly and Henry Slade all the wrong side of 30 in the backline, and it has dampened the excitement for this one. Why not give Fin Smith his debut against Italy? Perhaps if Marcus Smith were fit, the team would have a different feel but it seems conservative as it is. There are some impact subs in the backs, but I fear the game won’t be comfortable enough for Steve Borthwick to let them loose.

Italy certainly won’t be rolling over here, and with France and Ireland as their next two fixtures, new coach Gonzalo Quesada will be targeting this game as their most likely victory in the first few weeks. The Azzurri have closed the gap in terms of quality over the last few seasons, and this should be the year that they convert that into results.

I’m not quite brave enough to pick a win for Italy, and I’m going for a relatively narrow, uncomfortable England win. England by 8

Wales vs. Scotland

The Wales squad looks to be undergoing the largest rebuild of all six nations, and I’m looking at the lineup for the players around whom you can build. It used to be Alun Wyn Jones, Taulupe Faletau, Dan Biggar. Now it could be Dewi Lake, Jac Morgan, Louis Rees-Zammit, but they are all absent for one reason or another.

In contrast, Scotland appear to have the most settled squad in the tournament, and having thrashed Wales in last year’s tournament, they’ll be confident that they can beat this new-look side in Cardiff. Finn Russell is arguably the best fly-half in the tournament, and with key players such as Matt Fagerson, Huw Jones and Duhan van den Merwe around him, the Scots should be looking to finish in the top half of the table at the very least.

This is a tricky pick and Wales are always tough to beat in Cardiff, but on paper, I rate the Scottish team more highly. Scotland by 4

Do you agree with Hutch's Round 1 predictions? Let us know your own Superbru picks in the comments!
91,836 caps
Seems some close games coming up......
1 Feb 17:32
38,325 caps
Not far off
1 Feb 21:02
82,594 caps
I fancy Wales at home. Agree with the other 2 games.
1 Feb 22:24
4,372 caps
Small margins for opening games. Hope to learn some lessons for rest of tournament.
2 Feb 05:26
3,700 caps
Add a comment
2 Feb 05:52
32,220 caps
Still thinking about a comment Storm. 5 Feb 12:44
38,278 caps
I think Scotland will blow Wales away, strong team. I also think England will win by much more that you gave them credit for Hutch :-)
2 Feb 10:20
32,148 caps
Agreed. You go thru the Wal & Sco lineups and tot up all 23 as either 'Weaker', 'Stronger' or 'Level' and it works out with Scotland being stronger in about 12 positions, level in 8 & weaker in only 3. But will being at home turn 'level' into 'stronger'? I somehow doubt it going by the club performances.

And England 'should' win comfortably even if George Ford has to do his little 3 droppies in 40 minutes party piece again. 2 Feb 15:33
32,220 caps
Wrong Jersey-pub-puller. LOL! 5 Feb 13:12
10 caps
2 Feb 16:25
32,220 caps
No comment then. 5 Feb 12:39
15,693 caps
Ireland looked impressive and France a bit disorganized especially with du Pont missing
3 Feb 08:03
55 caps
3 Feb 15:19
32,220 caps
Oupa oupa stick it up your jumper. 5 Feb 12:41