It's that time of year again, where the whole of Europe's rugby community come together for the Northern Hemisphere's festival of rugby, the Six Nations!
Trevor posted his top 6 on Twitter yesterday (Ireland, England, France, Scotland, Wales, Italy) and it sparked some debate, but it seems the majority of people think it's England who will retain or Irelands year to reclaim the title, and Italy who'll get the wooden spoon, but the other 3 spots are wide open. Of course, the bonus point system being introduced make it a little harder to call, but I shall try my best! (Note, I'm gonna keep the running points totals for the teams after the games, basically cos it's easier for me to do the end table!
NB - Anyone who reads my predictions will know that I am usually totally wrong.
Scotland v Ireland, England v France, Italy v Wales
Scotland are much improved of late, but, so are Ireland, so the first game of the tournament will give my first controversial call. I'm gonna go with Scotland and a close victory, Scotland 4 points, Ireland 1
England are injury ravaged, however, they were during the autumn too, so I still expect to see a strong showing, France have key injuries of their own, and I think if the English pack handles the French 8, it may be a big win. I'll go with England 5 points, France 0
Italy beat the Boks in the Autumn, Wales have looked shaky under Rob Howley, or without Warren Gatland, to be more precise, however, I still think Wales will take this one comfortably. Italy 0, Wales 5
Italy v Ireland, Wales v England, France v Scotland
Italy will struggle to contain Ireland, I can see this being a pretty comprehensive victory taking Ireland to 6 points and keeping Italy on 0
This game has the potential to be a barnstormer, England travel to the Principality Stadium and Wales will be gunning for that unbeaten record....however, I think England will squeak out a close one. (and Twitter will be full of hate from both sides for 48 hours........) Wales 6 points England 9
The final game from the weekend is a tester for 2 sides looking to improve their standing worldwide, and I am gonna go for a hard fought victory for Scotland, taking Scotland to 8 and France getting a bonus point
Scotland v Wales, Ireland v France, England v Italy
Another tough one to call up first, but I'll take Scotland to edge a very close one in front of the Murrayfield stadium faithful, giving Scotland 12 points and Wales going to 7 with a losing bonus point
Ireland will take some stopping at home, and I don't think France will cope with them. There's even a chance for Ireland and a 4 try bonus....but I'll play it safe Taking Ireland to 10 and France holding on 1
England v Italy at Twickenham..... yeah, I'm going for a bonus point home win! England 14 points, Italy 0
Wales v Ireland, Italy v France, England v Scotland
Ireland to pip Wales in a close one, could well be one of the games of the tournament. Ireland to 14 Wales to 8
Italy have won this fixture before, but the guile and hard running of France should see them cruise through. Italy 0 France 6
England to win by about 10 points in an epic war that won't be anywhere near a flowing classic, keeping thee Calcutta Cup and setting up a grand slam chance! England go to 18, Scotland to stay on 12
Scotland v Italy, France v Wales, Ireland v England
Scotland to cut loose on the final day, beating Italy comfortably and ending the tournament with 17 points, and Italy taking home the Wooden Spoon with zero
France have a habit of being superb on the final day with nothing to play for, so I'll give them a close win over Wales, who's defence should hold out against a bonus point. France to 10 points, Wales to 9
How often does the final game prove to be the decider..... I'm gonna go for....*drum rolllllll* Ireland to pip England to beat the streak and stop the slam. It'll be a tight affair but Ireland will go to 18 points, and Englands losing bonus point ultimately winning them the championship
Of course that's just how I see it, reality may be very different, and my controversial call for Scotland to beat Ireland, if wrong, could well set up an Irish slam!
A few more predictions?
Player of the tournament
Maro Itoje, CJ Stander, Jonny Gray. For me, the three standout performers for the home nations right now. All 3 will be after a spot on the Lions tour and will be looking to impresss.
Top Try scorer
Jonathon Joseph. Poacher extraudinaire and a vital cog in Eddie Jones backline.
Top Points Scorer
Owen Farrell. Kicks, runs in tries, annoys 90% of non-English fans.....
Match of the tournament
Wales vs Ireland No Idea why I think that, but, has the potential to be a pivotal match for both sides
Right, that's it from me.
IT STARTS THIS WEEKEND! And I can't bloody wait!!!!!!