With the Six Nations only a week away we interviewed armchair expert and former Deeside RFC Under 8’s legend Finn Nixon…
What is the Six Nations?
The Six Nations is an annual rugby tournament contested between the best international sides in the Northern Hemisphere and Wales.
Who are the Six Nations?
England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales.
And who is most likely to win?
Last years’ Grand Slam winners, Ireland will enter the 2019 championship as favourites after an incredible victory over New Zealand in the Autumn. With three provinces in the European Champions Cup and an awesome starting XV they are surely the ones to watch.
Ireland are however likely to face a tough challenge from Wales who are on an unbeaten run of 11 games after a strong Autumn. An Autumn in which they ended their 13 game losing duck against Australia. Defensively they look very strong.
England are also likely to challenge for pole position after a disappointing campaign last year in which they finished 5th. Eddie Jones has begun the mind games in earnest but it will be interesting to see how the English perform in Dublin on the 2nd February after mixed performances in the Autumn.
What about the other nations?
France will have to improve massively if they are to challenge for the Six Nations trophy after losing to Fiji in Paris in their last game. Overall, they have been notoriously poor in recent years, last finishing in the top half of the table when they were winners in 2010.
Meanwhile, Scotland will be underdogs to win the title and would probably be pleased if they won three games. They would hope to beat Italy and should probably be aiming to beat France in Paris for the first time since 1999.
Italy won’t win the Six Nations but are improving under Conor O’Shea who will be hoping his side can cause some upsets. Perhaps at Murrayfield where they have had success in past years but also maybe in Rome against the always unpredictable France in the last round.
What will likely happen?
The Six Nations are always unpredictable and it would be wrong to suggest that anything is set in stone before any rugby is played. We could perhaps predict Italy will finish with the Wooden Spoon though, an unwanted award they have been given since 2016.
As always the only prediction we can make about France is that Jacques Brunel’s side will be unpredictable. Prepare yourself for an incredible one-off performance in which they dismantle England, Ireland or Wales before being beaten by Italy or Scotland in a dismal performance.
From a Scottish perspective it pains me to say we are highly unlikely to beat England, having not beaten the Auld Enemy at Twickenham since 1983. Though you never know eh?
Also expect fireworks in post-match press conferences as Eddie Jones plays mind games, Warren Gatland looks eternally grumpy and Joe Schmidt seems far to nice (apparently he is terrifying on the training field!)
So what are your predictions for the final standings?
My predictions? Well thanks for asking!
- Ireland – 4 wins
- Wales – 4 wins
- England – 3 wins
- Scotland – 3 wins
- France – 1 win
Ooh interesting so it comes down to bonus points and no grand slam?
Yes. I think Ireland will score more tries than Wales. This would make for an exciting final day as Wales and Ireland would be playing for the championship. I predict the Welsh will win that game but that won’t be enough for them to take home the Six Nations trophy.
And how would you want the table to finish?
What is your problem with Wales?
It is with a certain amount of guilt that I admit my dislike of the Welsh rugby side. Since becoming a Scottish fan they have caused me a great amount of pain. I have never forgotten that horrendous game which Scotland threw away in the dying minutes in 2010. Damn you Lee Bryne and that football-esqe dive!
Which games are you looking forward to the most?
Games in which England, Ireland and Wales are going to head to head are likely to make great viewing. From a Scottish perspective I would like to see us beat France in Paris, something I think we are finally able to achieve. It will also be fascinating to see if Scotland can challenge Ireland at Murrayfield.
And which games are you least looking forward to?
Scotland’s trip to Twickenham looks ominous as always, particularly after the 61-21 blowout in south-west London two years ago. I’m also anxious about the Welsh game at Murrayfield. My heart says Scotland while my head says Wales.
Thanks for your concise and intelligent expertise. I’m looking forward to a Scottish grand slam.
Anytime. That’s the spirit!
(Don’t worry I haven’t totally lost my marbles – Ed.)