14 2 mins 12 yrs

It’s time for one of the genuine highlights of the sporting calender because tomorrow, dear reader, the international egg-chasers take centre stage as the 6 Nations begins. Place your bets.

As always England will be the team to beat. Ehem, moving swiftly on …

Defending champions Ireland will be strong strong strong. Captain Brian O’Driscoll was long ago acknowledged one of the greats and he gets better each year. If his unbelievable physical commitment doesn’t see him crocked they can score from anywhere. With Gordon D’Arcy back to his best, the warrior John Hayes still pounding away at tighthead, Stephen Ferris at blindside, Tommy Bowe finishing as sharp as anyone and Rob Kearney at full back, Ireland might well retain their title. Tomorow Italy’s pack might inflict some pain but it’s trips to Twickenham and Paris that may undo them.

Wales have a top team and the hwyl will burn, but their front row has lost Martin Rees and inspirational prop Gethin Jenkins. That’s why they’ll lose to England at Twickenham tomorrow. France will be France – stuffed with talent but unpredictable. Toulouse and Stade Francais are flying however and their confidence can’t be as fragile as it often is when they pull on the blue shirts. The Jocks are the Jocks, they might cause an upset somewhere.

Prediction: France to win the championship, Ireland, Wales and England to fill the next three places in any order, then Scotland and Italy in fifth and sixth, but in truth I have no idea because this is a hugely unpredictable year.

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14 thoughts on “LET THE GAMES BEGIN …

  1. Prediction: France to win the championship, Ireland, Wales and England to fill the next three places in any order, then Scotland and Italy in fifth and sixth, but in truth I have no idea because this is a hugely unpredictable year.

    Well said Pete.

    It is more unpredictable than usual, but we can rule out Scotland and Italy, which leaves four viable contenders.

  2. Unfortunately we’ll have the same old IRFU playing the same old politics of the past i.e. playing the military Soldier’s Song in Dublin and flying the flag of the RoI, while treating Belfast as an away venue. But of course it’s a joint team … honest.

  3. Don’t care, really.
    Was forced to play rugby at school and have hated it ever since (with a passion). More concerned with Crusaders away to Glentoran tommorow.
    It’s all the same to me whoever wins the Five Nations and the Island of Ireland competition.

  4. Peter –

    I’d fancy Ireland if they had England and France in Dublin, but those games are away this year and that puts it up for grabs.

  5. ‘JM

    Have you ever seen this take on NI Sport’

    Most amusing:-) and pretty ‘on the ball'(excuse the pun!).
    We are a hardy lot us local football fans.
    There is much to enjoy about it, if only more would give it a chance?
    I’ve been with Crusaders now for over 30 years and haven’t regretted one moment of it.

  6. ‘JM

    You stole my real thoughts! Up the Crues!’

    So say we all!
    We have a chance this season? A few poor results recently but we are still up there.
    Injury to Michael Collins is bad news. He has been fantsatic since coming to Seaview.
    Now if only ‘the God like genius that is David Rainey’ could remember how to score a goal life would just be that much brighter!!

  7. Ireland’s golden generation got their deserved grand slam last season. It will be hard to do it a second time. My money is on France.

  8. "The Saints will win the big game this weekend."

    You’re just annoyed that the Colts gave you New Yorkers the pasting you deserved.

    "Prediction: France to win the championship, Ireland, Wales and England to fill the next three places in any order, then Scotland and Italy in fifth and sixth, but in truth I have no idea because this is a hugely unpredictable year."

    The key game for Ireland will be the game in France, in Week 2. If we can win that one I could really see us winning the whole thing and possibly adding another Grandslam. If we don’t beat France it could knock the confidence out of the team and lead to further losses against the Welsh and England. But if we can build up momentum going into the England game then we should win it.

  9. I actually Scotland might surprise people this year, they beat Australia in the Autumn and looked a lot better than they have at any time since the late 1990s.

    They won’t win the tournament but I wouldn’t be surprised if they take a couple of scalps.

  10. Aussies were poor rather than the Scots being good. The Scots are always a good shout for an upset but it will be an upset if they beat anyone other than Italy.

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