As is my want, and just in case anyone is paying attention, here are my fairly loose predictions ahead of the first weekend of Six Nations action in 2021 (with the rather significant caveat that I am often somewhat wide of the mark when it comes to crystal ball gazing):
Italy v France
There is a very small chance that Italy, playing at home, could catch France cold at the start of the tournament. I suspect, however, that despite some bright patches in the game, the Italians will struggle to contain the French for the full 80 minutes. Yet another defeat for Italy therefore beckons, unfortunately. France by 20+.
England v Scotland
I would like to say I am confident that Scotland will, once again, return home empty-handed from Twickenham, but given England are missing 4 of their first choice pack and have selected 5 Sarries players, including the fly half and captain, who have played no competitive rugby for two over months, it would be a foolishly bold call. The weather forecast for tomorrow, however, is awful – cold, windy, rain and sleet – which may well turn this match into an arm wrestle and which I think plays into English hands (or feet!). Sod it – England by 10.
Wales v Ireland
Difficult one to call – neither team really shone in the Autumn and the two sides look pretty evenly matched on paper. I do feel that Ireland look the slightly more cohesive unit, however, and I think Henshaw and Ringrose have the edge in the midfield over Williams and North. So, without very much confidence at all and whilst acknowledging that the result could easily go the other way – Ireland by 7-9.
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