Valentine’s Day 2016 is the day after Ireland will be in Paris, the city of love, planning to beat the French to a bloody pulp, and not expecting anything kinder back in return. Ah, the romance of it! Well, after a draw we could kind of live with against Wales, we now head into a game we can’t really lose if we have any serious ambitions of winning the tournament. On the basis of form, we are looking pretty good, Wales and Ireland set the bar for discipline, structure and performance, while France were cheerfully all over the place, and came within a whisker of losing to Italy. We have a decent track record now against France too, we’ve beaten them the last three times we’ve played and drawn the two before that. IRELAND are now their bête noir! On the basis of our coach, and a few guys coming back into contention, we should get the win.
Wales and Scotland will be an epic battle, neither team really felt like they did themselves justice last weekend. Wales found Ireland to be unexpectedly good, and by the time they’d woken up, we’d racked up enough points to eventually get the draw. Meanwhile Scotland found that while they could keep tantalisingly close to England, they couldn’t push on for the victory. And their game was littered with mistakes, missed opportunities and too much indiscipline. I’m going with Wales if they bring the same intensity as they brought to the Aviva stadium.
Finally, England get to travel to Rome to take on the Italians. Coach Eddie Jones has demanded a big performance from England, and they need it too, the Championship has been decided on by points difference in the last two years. Has he yet instilled that ruthless edge to get England to really put the Italians away? We’ll find out on Sunday, but I’d expect Italy to be annoyingly competent up until the last 20 minutes when the score will start to blow out.
Ireland’s ladies are also going to be in action, they got off to a good start with a victory against Wales, and their match against France (likely to be a tough affair) will be televised on Friday, while the Under 20’s will be hoping to bounce back after losing to Wales last weekend.
And on the other side of the world, there’s an inaugural Americas 6 Nations, with the USA, Canada, Argentina A, Uruguay, Chile and Brazil taking part, available online if you’re twiddling your thumbs.
13 Feb 2016
France vs Ireland 14:25
Wales vs Scotland 16:50
14 Feb 2016
Italy vs England 14:00