Gavin Hastings’ Exclusive Six Nations Tips – Week Five: Don’t Expect France To Make It Easy For England!


Wales 1.01 v Italy 29.00 – Saturday 14.30 GMT

Wales just gave England too big of a lead last week, but it was close enough in the end. I said it might end up a draw and it almost was!

But despite the comeback Wales will be disappointed with their championship. They were most people’s favourites going into the Six Nations but it just hasn’t worked out for them.

They gave Ireland a start and came back, and gave England a start and came back, so obviously they’ll see how they begin matches as something to improve on. Those are two games in which they could have easily got four points, but they only ended up with one.

England v Wales - RBS Six Nations : News Photo

Here they’ll want to chuck the ball around, play disciplined rugby and finish on a high, and I think they are going to easily do that.

It’s a shame, but Italy have gone backwards throughout the championship.

They played well against France and okay against England, but then they were poor against Scotland and Ireland. I fear the worst for them on Saturday.

It could be an absolute cricket score if Italy don’t have the right attitude and Wales are on their game, and I think we could be looking at something close to Ireland’s score against Italy last week (58-15).

Wales -37.5 to win – 2.14

 

Ireland 1.32 v Scotland 3.40 – Saturday 17.00 GMT

Everyone has been talking about Scotland not being too far away, but they had to get over the line and produce a big win and they did that against France on Sunday. Now they’ll go to Dublin full of confidence and looking for a third win in a row.

They are right to be confident, too.

I think Ireland have been very poor in this championship considering that they won the last two. Scotland will think that they can nick a couple of tries, and there’ll be a lot of Scots there supporting them in Dublin.

Scotland v France - RBS Six Nations : News Photo

They’ll take heart from recent performances, and will have the fact that they got tonked by Ireland (40-10) last year in mind. These games always used to be special to play in back in the day, and I hope the Scots take the game to them.

There’s something special about the last weekend of the championship. The weather is usually a lot better and you tend to see teams enjoying their rugby more. They chuck the ball around and score lots of points, just like we saw on that remarkable Super Saturday last year. It is rugby played at its very best.

I think that’ll happen here, but given that they were impressive last week I’ll just go for Ireland to win it, perhaps by three or four points.

Ireland to win by 1-12 points – 2.65

 

France 3.45 v England 1.31 – Saturday 20.00 GMT

England go to Paris with their heads held high, and Eddie Jones has made a remarkable start.

Not many would have thought that England would have had the championship wrapped up before the final game, and even less would have predicted a potential Grand Slam, but all credit to them. They have played very good rugby – winning rugby – and ultimately that is what it’s all about.

In the back row Billy Vunipola has been absolutely amazing, extraordinary even, and James Haskell and Chris Robshaw have also done incredibly well.  The whole back row have done well, in fact. The forwards have dominated and won all their battles. England have proved that they’ve become tough to beat, which is the sign of a good and improving side.

England v Wales - RBS Six Nations : News Photo

That said, I’ve got a sneaky suspicion that we might actually see the real France turn up here.

They’ve been a massive disappointment so far, only just edging past Italy, then beating Ireland by just a point and losing to Wales and Scotland.

They’ve been so poor, but I just can’t believe that they haven’t at least got one game in them, and a big part of me thinks that this won’t be easy for England, who are going to have to play very well.

It is right that they are favourites, but notwithstanding the fact that France have been rubbish they aren’t going to lie down and just give them the Grand Slam.

I think it’s going to be close, and if England are to win it then it is only going to be by three or four points.

England win by 1-12 points – 2.70