With the 2010 RBS Six Nations taking a week off after a fortnight of frenetic action, we look back at each team’s early games, and project their finishes as the championship reaches the home stretch.
So Far : W 18 – 9 @ Scotland, W 33 – 10 v Ireland
Coach Marc Lievremont took some heavy criticism over the last few years, as a team that finished fourth in the 2007 World Cup experienced a dip in form as he attempted to rebuild his team. Considering the rebuilding completed. France have looked very scary in the first two weeks, playing a style of rugby that is efficient and attacking. They put up a strong showing in the opener in Edinburgh, dominating the Scots in the second half of a game they deserved to win by more. They then returned home to a packed Stade de France and made a statement, thoroughly demolishing the defending Grand Slam-ers Ireland. They next travel to Cardiff for a big Friday night clash against Wales, before finishing off with a home double-header against Italy and England. A Grand Slam looks within reach.
Prediction : W @ Wales, W v Italy, W v England
So Far : W 33 – 17 v Wales, W 17-12 @ Italy
For a team sitting second in the table, England are facing a lot of biting questions from their fans and the press. While they were very good for most of the game against Wales, they nearly conceded a large lead late in the game, and needed a lucky turnover to secure the victory. Their win against Italy was the most boring game of the tournament so far, as the English looked uninspired, booting the ball back to the Italians every few minutes to nearly lose a shocker. They return home to face an Irish team looking to avenge their French humiliation, before traveling to Murrayfield and Paris to end their campaign.
Prediction : L v Ireland, W @ Scotland, L @ France
So Far : W 29 – 11 v Italy, L 10 -33 @ France
It hasn’t been easy sailing so far for the defending Six Nations champs. While the margin against Italy was comfortable and the game never in doubt, Ireland weren’t as dominant as their fans expected, making some uncharacteristic mistakes. They had a chance to redeem themselves in France, but they were totally outplayed by a powerful French team that many predict the Irish will be passing the trophy to this year. Still, look for the Irish to keep fighting hard as they attempt to defend their title, as they take on England at Twickenham, before hosting Wales and Scotland in Dublin.
Prediction : W @ England, L v Wales, W v Scotland
So Far : L 17 -33 @ England, W 31 – 24 v Scotland
They started the tournament in less than ideal fashion, as a brave comeback attempt against England fell short thanks to several clumsy mistakes in the games dying minutes. The next week, however, the country of Wales celebrated one of their most famous victories, as star Shane Williams scored the winning try in added time to give the Welsh victory, after they trailed the Scots by 10 with less than 10 minutes left. They may be only be at fourth place, but they have the ability to change the whole dynamic of the competition; if they can get a big home upset win against the French, the tournament will be blown wide open, as the Welsh then travel to Ireland before receiving Italy.
Prediction : L v France, W @ Ireland, W v Italy
So Far : L 9 -18 v France, L 24-31 @ Wales
Scotland have so far played with heart, determination, and spirit, more than can be said for the likes of, say, England. Unfortunately, this Scottish side is short on talent and experience, the latter of which was exposed when silly penalties left them down two men in the final minutes of their loss in Cardiff. Don’t expect too much in what for Scotland is what we Americans might call a “rebuilding year”. Trips to Rome and Dublin sandwich a home game against England.
Prediction : W @ Italy, L v England, L @ Ireland
So Far : L 11 – 29 @ Ireland, L 12 – 17 v England
Italy have given a good account of themselves this season. They were competitive against defending champs Ireland, and took advantage of poor English play to nearly spring the upset. However, even though they are making slow progress, Italy do not yet have the skill and talent to seriously compete with the rest of the Six Nations field. Their seventh ever Six Nations win will not come this season, as they host Scotland before going to Paris and Cardiff.
Prediction : L v Scotland, L @ France, L @ Wales