The Six Nations is always a great indicator ahead of the summer Lions tour. It gives every player the chance to stand out, and make whoever the manager will be sit up and take notice. Plus, it’s international rugby almost every week for a month. Who’s going to complain about that?
France took their time before getting going against the Italians. Their front five were poor, and Italy if they had taken advantage of their dominance at the set plays, could’ve won the game.
England were comfortable enough against the Scots, I thought that they were there for the taking, but they defended quite well.
Now, it’s time for the champions to enter the fray
Ireland vs Wales – 3pm Sunday – The Aviva Stadium (Live on ITV and RTE)
The top two teams in Europe collide in Dublin.
Paul O’Connell’s retirement, Sean O’Brien, Ian Henderson and Cian Healy are all missing from Joe Schmidt’s Grand Slam champions. The pack is weak and the front row even weaker.
But Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton are pulling the strings at the breakdown, which means Ireland can’t really be written off.
I think Schmidt made the right decision in choosing his captain, and I’m looking forward to seeing how Rory Best deals with the pressure. Ireland’s injury list is incredible and they will need a leader with the armband
Wales were impressive defensively in the World Cup so I think they should start as slight favorites, but only slightly. Remember. Ireland don’t show up in big games against Wales. Yes, there was that Grand Slam win in Cardiff, but Wales have won twice in the last three matches in Dublin and knocked Ireland out of the 2011 World Cup quite comfortably.
People seem to have forgotten, Wales beat the Irish relatively easily in the 2015 tournament, and are the highest ranked European team in World Rugby.
A lot of it will depend on the Dublin weather, which is forecast to be poor. I expect it to be an intense, scrappy game. Look for Tom James to open the try scoring at, but if there’s horrible conditions, maybe one of the forwards. Best, Devin Toner, Rob Evans one of those.
In terms of match betting, I think life without Paul O’Connell is going to start a little rough for Ireland. Wales to win at. Of course if you think I’m biased, go for the Irish at