The 2022 Six Nations Championship got off to a flying start last weekend as Scotland retained the Calcutta Cup in a hard fought contest with while France and Ireland got their title challenges off to flying starts with dominant victories.
We correctly predicted the victor in all three matches last week and also got the margin by which Ireland would beat Wales spot on while being only two points out in Scotland v England and only one point out in France v Italy.
This weekend the results look even harder to predict as Scotland head to Cardiff, a city which has not been a happy hunting ground for them in the past two decades, while the two current title favourites go head-to-head in Paris.
On Sunday, England look to bounce back from their opening weekend defeat as they travel to Rome but could the Italians possibly spring a surprise?
Here are our predictions for the week two matches:
Wales v Scotland
- Date: Saturday, February 12
- Kick off: 14:15
- Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff
- Odds: Wales 13/9, Scotland 7/9
Scotland have come a long way under Gregor Twonsend in recent years and the fact they head to Cardiff as favourites with the bookmakers says a lot about just how good the men from Murrayfield are looking at the moment.
It also says a lot about Wales and the problems in their camp at the moment, Wayne Pivac’s new look side were heavily beaten by Ireland in their opening match.
However, the Welsh do have a mental advantage going into this weekend’s fixture as they have not lost to Scotland in Cardiff since 2002.
The Scots only win in Wales in that time came in front of an empty Parc Y Scarlets in 2020 and the Welsh also won at Murrayfield in last year’s Six Nations when they were also considered pre-match underdogs by many.
Much like 2021, Scotland went into that game in week two after beating England but a 54th minute red card for Zander Fagerson had a huge impact on the hosts and played a massive part in Wales’ eventual 25-24 victory.
This year should really see the Scots atone for that disappointment, they need to cement themselves as credible title challengers after laying the ground work last week and have a brilliant opportunity to do just that.
Wales remain without so many key players for the fixture and had little to celebrate last week as they lost in Dublin but a packed Principality Stadium will be there to help the players.
Expect this match to be a far closer contest than their opener but getting a result against this confident Scotland side might be just too big an ask.
Our prediction:Scotland to win by a 5 to 10 point margin
France v Ireland
- Date: Saturday, February 12
- Kick off: 16:45
- Venue: Stade de France, Saint-Denis (Paris)
- Odds: France 3/4, Ireland 14/9
It’s only week two but an argument could be made that this match is possibly the most important fixture of the 2022 Championship.
France v Ireland will have a huge baring on the Six Nations title and could also set one of these sides up for a potential Grand Slam victory.
Both sides looked impressive in their opening day victories with Ireland fully in control against Wales and France coming from behind to demolish Italy.
The French showcased the talent and flair in their side while Ireland fronted up and their opponents could not deal with their physicality.
It ‘s going to be an interesting mesh of styles when the two collide in Paris and could be a defining fixture for this group of French players not only in the 2022 Six Nations but over the next few years where they have a home Rugby World Cup coming up.
Will Fabien Galthié be able to make sure his players stick to the game plan or will they get drawn into Andy Farrell’s simple but effective, blunt force style.
France are the favourites and have home advantage so it would be easy to pick them as winners here but we are going to really stick our neck out and back Ireland to get the win in Paris.
It’s so close between the two sides but the Irish have the ability to batter any team into submission and all the talent in the world doesn’t count for much if the visitors keep the ball out of their hands as often as possible.
Our prediction:Ireland to win by a 5 to 10 point margin
Italy v England
Date: Sunday, February 13
Kick off: 15:00
Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Odds: Italy 20/1, England 1/25
There were positives for England to take from their defeat in Edinburgh but the negatives far outweighed them.
The same can be said for Italy in Paris, but that is a far more familiar story for the Azzurri.
England’s discipline and game management suffered under the controlled chaos approach of Scotland and Italy are a side who can implement a similar strategy even if they lack some of the talent that the Scots do.
However, that probably wont be the approach this time around and Italy will back their current squad to have skill enough to give Eddie Jones’ side a competitive match.
It will be interesting to see if the Australian coach rings the changes for this match, knowing how important a win is after their opening weekend defeat.
Whatever happens, it’s safe to say that England are heavy favourites and will be expected to leave Rome with a bonus point try.
Italy have never beaten England in the Six Nations or any other competition, they are 28-0 in the record books and that’s just one of several unwanted records they hold at the moment.
They haven’t won a Six Nations match since 2015 and will be sick of hearing that but it’s up to them to right it and we’ve spoken before about identifying specific fixtures where they have the best chance of doing it.
Whisper it quietly, but they may actually think (after last week’s results) that this one could just maybe be it.
All the same, we’re going for a convincing England win in Rome.
Our prediction:England to win by 20+ point margin
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