Thursday, March 17, 2016

Six Nations - Ireland's battle for third!

The Six Nations wraps this day with the traditional final Saturday  featuring three matches one after the other. At this stage, England have won, Italy have come last, and Wales will have to outdo themselves not to come second. The hot ticket this year is the competition for third, with Scotland, France and Ireland all in contention. Winning it is so last year!

First up will the visit of Italy to Wales, which the Italians must be looking forward with the same enthusiasm as a trip to the dentist. They were hammered in Dublin last weekend, and face a Welsh side with their title aspirations in tatters after a demoralising defeat in London. Wales will be determined to finish with a bang and show they’re better than last weekend’s result, Italy will just want to go home, and it could be a long afternoon for the Italians.

Then its Ireland’s chance to finish with a little more success, and the chance of a third place finish – not brilliant, but better than 5th. Scotland arrive flushed from a victory over France last weekend that was 10 years in the making. How did WE not beat France? The revival of Scotland has happened in fits and starts, but they are on the up, no doubt about it. I think the hallmark of our performance will be desperation this weekend, but we should win it – our defence is better organised than theirs, and while their attack is committed, if we can keep Hogg in check they don’t offer a major threat. Our attack has to click again of course, but I think it will, so another home victory for us.

Finally, England travel to Paris in search of a Grand Slam. France were all over the shop last weekend, either attacking with breath-taking skill, or committing the most basic of mistakes. They played like we expected them to then! England’s organisation, confidence and precision should claim a well deserved slam.

In the Pro 12 , it’s also Scotland v Ireland, as Leinster travel to Glasgow, looking to reinforce their place in the top four, while Glasgow still have hopes of getting in there themselves. Both of them are decimated by the 6N, but on paper Leinster look stronger. If they can navigate the sand pit that is Scoutston, they’ll probably win.

Munster go to Cardiff needing a win to keep them going towards the top 4, and again, I think they look stronger than on paper than Cardiff, and they’ll pull through.

Friday, March 18   
Cardiff Blues v    Munster     7:15 PM
Glasgow Warriors v    Leinster    7:30 PM

Saturday, March 19   
Wales v    Italy     2:30 PM
Ireland v    Scotland     5:00 PM
France v    England     8:00 PM

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