By David van der Merwe
After an exciting first weekend of Six Nations rugby, that saw some controversial decisions by the referees and TMO's and some unexpected results, it is time to gear up for round two. Here are my predictions and a short reasoning for each.
ITALY vs ENGLAND
England will be well advised not to take this game lightly. Defensively they will have to shape up or they might just see the Italians take an early lead and from there an upset. Although they are a very young and inexperienced team I believe they have what it takes to win this game. After playing together in a pressure match they will show more flowing passes. If they run at Italy they will find gaps and score tries.
Prediction: My pick England by 16 or more.
FRANCE vs IRELAND
France will have home ground advantage and this is a big plus for them. Hopefully the French team that wants to play rugby pitches as this will make for a great game. If France play with their flair and attack the game line they should be able to break the Irish defence. They will not have it as easy as as they had against Italy or Wales had against Ireland. Yachvili will play an important role as always and if he is on song the French should take this one.
Ireland will have to improve on their defence if they want to win this game. They might not have missed as many tackles as England, but the holes in the line was as big as the one in the ozone layer. With the French that plays with flair and loves running this might just be Ireland's down fall. Ireland will however come to Paris with a point to prove and a hurt Irish team is worse than a woman scorned. They have the attack to win this, but it will depend on their defence.
Prediction: This will be a close game, but France with their tails up should take it by between 5-8 points.
WALES vs SCOTLAND
Wales are coming off a high after beating Ireland in a close yet entertaining game. They know their attack is strong but how strong is it really? They had it easy against a weak Irish defence. They will miss Davies who is out for 7 weeks after his spear tackle. Defensively they look sound and against a Scottish team that struggles to score tries, they won't have much to worry about. Home ground advantage also plays in their favour.
Scotland will want to forget the handling errors that cost them the game against England. This is their weak point at the moment and is costing them tries. They will have to work on it as their attack is solid but for that. Dan Parks might be missed, but not that much. He didn't look good at all against England. Looked more like an 80 year old with a walker than a rugby player. His retirement might just favour them. Defensively they are sound. But do they have what it takes to stop Wales? That will only be answered on the weekend.
Prediction: My money on Wales to win by 7 or more.
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