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Yes I agree with that - Italy were no walkover for Ireland yet played much worse against England. Definitely not the side they were a few years back - at some point I think they'll beat a 'good' side due to complacency.
Ireland lost that game due to their penalties rather than the French actually winning it.
Looks like an interesting weekend coming up.http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/rugby_union/9406593.stm
If the French defence sharpens up I could see them nicking it, but it looks like a championship decider.
Hopefully a strong Welsh team should help avoid the potential Italian bananaskin.
Really don't know what to expect of the Ireland Scotland match. Scotland to bounce back and roll over a disillusioned Irish team or vica versa.
I can see England absolutely stuffing France
Wales to sneak past Italy
Scotland to beat Ireland
I have stupidly agreed to meet a friend for lunch so I'll probably miss most of Saturday's action. Hoping to enjoy Sunday's match as a post-long run laze.
Morning - really looking forward to the England/France game tomorrow. I think it's going to be close. It's late afternoon Nemo, 5 I think so unless your lunch is a major sess then you should catch it.
I agree that Wales should see off Italy but there could be an upset there. As for Scotland/Ireland could go either way but on paper, Ireland should win. It's going to be an interesting weekend
All depends which france turns up as usual.
My friend is mad BDB, no saying where we'll end up
FF, I don't think it matters which France turns up...
I don't think its sure thing against france, fantastic work against italy but there were still some sloppy mistakes which need to be taken care of and they can't get too cocky and think its a guarentee. Need to keep their heads and focus on the task in hand.
Bloody hope we stuff em though. CAN'T WAIT!!!!
Wales, France, Ireland
When Wales play to potential they are very strong. Do seem to be getting better.Dont think England are as good as the hype yet, if France get an early score can see them staying ahead. Ireland will improve with Bowe coming back and O'Gara returning - should be too good for Scotland.
Standard in the 6N has not been of the highest so far - hope that it's because they dont want to peak early in a world cup year ...
Just popping in to sneak a last
ALLEZ LES BLEUS!
Think we're going to have 3 close games this weekend, going to go for
Italy (with the 10pt handicap) - This game could go either way for me so playing this option
England (by under 12.5pts margin)
Ireland (by under 12.5pts margin)
Right best go get a long run out of the way in the rain so I can drink beer and watch rugby this afternoon
I'm convinced that the French intend to concentrate on a kicking game launching bombs deep into England territory- they're rumoured to be playing Yachvilli, Chabal's back and Medard's out.
I see it going one of two ways:
Scenario 1 - The French play a containment game and then it could go either way with a small margin of victory for either side.
Scenario 2 - The French decide that attack is the best form of defence and the England backs cut them to pieces in the second half and England win by a large margin.
I'm really looking forward to this game.
Have a good day TP!
I think the Irish will shade it though.
Thought it was pretty even in the first half but England played better in the second half. It was a lot closer then I feared score wise, France were lucky there were a few forward passes! Not sure where France go from here, their defence isn't good enough to play this sort of game and they seem to have lost their flair.
Still it was nice to see Serge Betsen again, doesn't look quite so scary now!
Well done England, almost guaranteed the Championship now with their points difference even if they lose to Ireland at the end.
Haven't seen the Italy v. Wales game yet but it sounds as though if Italy got themselves a proper kicker they might have won?
Can someone explain to me why England keep picking Danny Care? He seems almost ponderous compared to Young, or indeed, a glacier.
It was certainly tight, but you were waiting for France to let rip - shame they never quite did. Mind you, the rain probably didn't help.
TBH one fo the best games of rugby i have seen for ages...not good for the nerves as an England supporter though....Thought Hartley was awesome throughout.
England's back row is damn good; not sure Mr Moody would get back in the side...
Seems to have been lots of focus on how France might have scored, when England had two tries disallowed (no quibble over the forward pass, but I ve seen them given; the Trundle try looked perfectly legit to me...)
Couldn't agree more about Danny Care; here's a radical thought; why not play Youngs for the whole 80 minutes..?
Rougerie came close, just needed the ball to bounce differently. But apart from that most of the moves were a bit lateral.
Not convinced by Ireland today, Scotland came close to nicking it.
Think England will probably get a Grand Slam.
A small part of me sniggered when Ashton swan-dived his "try"
The Irishman sitting behind me was of the same opinion re Nigel Owens FB and I kind of agree. I much prefer Southern Hemisphere refs ... they tend to be more inclined to let the game flow ... and also they're better eyecandy
The last 20 minutes was anything but dull. Lots of Scotland pressure and good defending by the Irish. I thought we didn't really deserve a win .... would have been nice but not earned.
England V France game
If Ben Youngs would have had just a little bit of support from some of his teammates when he was probing the gaps, England would have won by a far greater margin - I counted at least two occasions where Young was looking for a short offload and nobody was awake enough to support him - on the inside nor on the outside.
If England get that part of their attacking game right - they'll be some team. I'm really looking forward to the World Cup now. I'm not sure they can win it, it may have come too early - but this is a team on the ascendancy and if they continue their form and don't hit too many injuries to key players they can only get better.
Penultimate weekend coming up: Italy v. France, Wales v. Ireland and England v. Scotland
I see Lievremont has made some more bizarre changes for the match against Italy:
Il est fou!
Chabal starts, Harinordoquy is on the bench and Vincent Clerc will be playing at No 9. I think he has finally lost the plot...
I think some selections are with the World Cup in mind. If they always play the best 15 there isn't game time for players on the fringe who might be needed in the case of injury.