6 Nations predictions

by Chris Bertram on February 3, 2007

It is a good long time since we had a sporting thread — and especially one that is utterly incomprehensible to most of our American readers. Today marks “the beginning of the Six Nations”:http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/rugby_union/fixtures/4777061.stm , and Ireland seem to be everyone’s nailed-on favourites. But I reckon there could be some surprises. Brian Ashton, the new England coach, will play a different kind of game to his predecessor, Wilkinson and Farrell may come good, and Leicester (with a good chunk of the England team) recently beat Munster (with much of the Irish one) in the Heineken Cup. So I’m backing England to do better than expected (and maybe win, pipping Ireland), for the French to be flakey and unpredictable but finish third, and Wales to come in fourth. As for last place, I think Italy might just do it this time and edge out Scotland, maybe by getting a home win against Wales. (The Merseyside derby is today too, so it will be a long stretch in front of the telly.)



eenauk 02.03.07 at 6:16 am

Well the french will always be flakey and unpredictable. Call it derridean rugby: it doesn’t always work, but it’s certainly has flourish.


dearieme 02.03.07 at 7:39 am

Will poor Wilkinson last the eighty minutes?


Fence 02.03.07 at 7:41 am

I wouldn’t read a huge amount into Munster’s defeat, yes, it was an upset, but Munster did win their previous encounter. Wales tomorrow will be a big challenge, after all getting off to a good start is vital.

It’ll be good to see Johnny Wilkinson back for England, he is such a class player, but I’m not to sure about the return of Robinson. In his day he was fantastic, but I’m too sure that he is such a threat any more. I’d still see England to beat Scotland though. Italy may provide the biggest upset, but if I were putting my money on the game I’d have to go with France.


rea 02.03.07 at 8:50 am

“Today marks the beginning of the Six Nations”



Giles 02.03.07 at 9:15 am

agree with most of of that – although I dont think Englands rebound will be as strong as all that. My prediction Ireland, England (will beat Ireland but loose to someone else), France, Italy, Wales, Scotland.

My monies on Italy having their best tournament and Wales their worst.


a 02.03.07 at 10:31 am

I take the Colts.


Steven Chabot 02.03.07 at 10:55 am

You think Americans are confused, I am from Canada and thought you were talking about the six nations of the Iroquois Confederacy.


Gene O'Grady 02.03.07 at 12:51 pm

Just what sport is this? Or is the point to make people like me feel at a loss?


dearieme 02.03.07 at 1:40 pm

It’s us, the Frogs and the Eyeties knocking six bells out of each other, Gene. We call it Rugby.


dearieme 02.03.07 at 1:41 pm

P.S. It’s favoured by those who find American Football a little camp.


marcel 02.03.07 at 1:43 pm

Steven Chabot and Rea: I’m from central NY state, and had the same reaction. Just goes to show how provincial Europeans can be.

Gene O’grady: Dearieme has answer rugby, but several of us would have (most likely) answered lacrosse.


Kieran Healy 02.03.07 at 2:16 pm

several of us would have (most likely) answered lacrosse.

No, that’s for people who find American Football not camp enough.


Chris Bertram 02.03.07 at 3:26 pm

Just goes to show how provincial Europeans can be.

Not to mention the Australians, New Zealanders, South Africans, Samoans, Tongans, Argentinians ….


Chris Baldwin 02.03.07 at 3:57 pm

Bloody soft southern sport!


stostosto 02.03.07 at 4:28 pm

utterly incomprehensible to most of our American readers

I am Danish and I am as in the dark about this as the next guy.


Gene O'Grady 02.03.07 at 5:49 pm

Hell, I used to watch rugby when I was in college forty years ago. Hardly that esoteric. Although Theodore Roosevelt did think it was too rough.


marcel 02.03.07 at 7:30 pm

My college age son used to play (rugby) his freshman year. Not that he was much of an athlete – that’s why he was playing rugby. I dreaded Monday’s that year. Every week, I’d hear from him about his strained neck, his back,… He was on crutches for a week with a knee injury. One of his closest friends ended up with 24 stitches in his face after a game with the Coast Guard Academy. Thank god he – my son – became engrossed in politics during the 2004 campaign. Lacrosse may have been deadly when the Iriquois played it, but rarely when white college students do.

The only game I enjoyed watching was against Middlebury – they had some Kiwis who had taught the team not only how to play but also the Maori war chant. That alone was worth the drive.


Slocum 02.03.07 at 7:54 pm

It is a good long time since we had a sporting thread—and especially one that is utterly incomprehensible to most of our American readers.

I don’t know if it’s true that most U.S. colleges and universities have rugby clubs, but many do. The situation is similar to soccer — the men’s national team qualifies for the world cup but is marginal (more so than in soccer) while the women’s national team is a power that has won the world championship:


I won’t be surprised to see rugby follow the pattern of Lacrosse in the U.S. which has boomed in recent years.

P.S. It’s favoured by those who find American Football a little camp.

No doubt, the hype of the Superbowl is pretty silly (never mind the half-time show), but the non-continuous play of American football that makes it so strange to non-North Americans also makes it complex and interesting — something like chess with with live pieces. This is especially the case when playing computer versions — which activity I predict (and half fear) is poised to become a spectator sport in its own right (with televised tournaments). I have no idea how Madden sells elsewhere in the world, but I also predict that if American football ever does become widely popular outside the U.S., it will be through Madden on the XBox and Playstation rather than live matches.


nick s 02.03.07 at 11:13 pm

slocum’s right about Madden, since it’s a decent way to learn what’s actually going on from play to play, something that American commentators obviously take for granted. As for televising it, ESPN would need to devise a better format than ‘Madden Nation’, but I wouldn’t put it past them.

(I believe there have been attempts at rugby games, though not particularly well done.)


astrongmaybe 02.04.07 at 4:31 am

5 away games (3 overseas, 2 on the northside of Dublin) for Ireland is too many.


Justin Horton 02.04.07 at 7:45 am

We call it Rugby.

Well, you do. Proper rugby, however, is in the close season at the moment. What we have here is the Fat Version.


dearieme 02.04.07 at 8:56 am

You should be pleased I don’t call it Wugger, Justin. The other version was played in Queensland when I lived there: I gather that a pale shadow of it is played in the neighbourhood of the M62.


Giles 02.04.07 at 2:21 pm

No of Clubs: 239
No of Registered Players: 42,000
No of Referees: 1604

No of Clubs: 570
No of Registered Players: 63254
No of Referees: 815

Interestingly there are more rugby players in the US than that rugby heartland Wales.


Benedict 02.04.07 at 3:43 pm

The US has a population a hundred times that of Wales, though.


Chris Bertram 02.04.07 at 4:12 pm

Interestingly there are more rugby players in the US than that rugby heartland Wales.

Wales: population 3 million.

USA: population 300 million.


Thom Brooks 02.04.07 at 11:20 pm

I’m afraid my money is on Ireland, although Wilkinson does look in excellent form.

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