Kyran Bracken shares his Round 4 Predictions
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Former England scrun-half, Kyran Bracken gives his predictions for Round Four and is expecting a Championship decider in Dublin
Round Four of the RBS 6 Nations kicks off on Friday night in Cardiff and Tissot ambassador Kyran Bracken has given his thoughts on what will happen there and then in Rome and London on Saturday.
Bracken is a former England scrum-half who won 51 caps for England and was part of the squad that won the World Cup in 2003.
Here are his predictions for the matches in Round Four, starting with Ireland’s trip to Wales, followed by Italy hosting France and then the Calcutta Cup clash between England and Scotland.
Ireland to set up a decider
I think Ireland got caught a little cold in their first game but since then they have recovered well and now have the chance to take it to the final day and a game against England.
But Wales always have a big game in them and now it’s a really big job for Rob Howley to pick the right team.
I’ve been really impressed by Sam Davies, the way he’s playing the ball really flat but then Dan Biggar hasn’t done anything wrong so that will be an interesting call.
Taulupe Faletau could also come into the team and his ball-carrying is a big thing for Wales, while they probably need George North and Leigh Halfpenny to play a bit better in the back three.
But the problem for Wales is that I think Ireland have played the best rugby in the Championship so far, along with Scotland. The way they played against France was really impressive and I think they’ll have just enough.
It would set up a brilliant final day in Dublin so I’m going for Ireland to edge it 26-25.
Results to follow performance for France
I think France have played some outstanding rugby but the results haven’t necessarily been there which is a contrast to previous seasons where they have struggled.
They’ve got a couple of pretty good half-backs now, they control the game and have a bit of a spark.
I just can’t really see Italy troubling them like they did a few years ago.
I was really impressed by what Italy did against England and it was a tremendous achievement for them to go in 10-5 up at half-time.
But if you look at the way their teams are struggling in Europe, and the fact that the other countries are improving, I think it’s a difficult situation.
That means they are a little way off the pace and I think France will be too strong for them so I’m going for a 48-5 win for France.
Time for England to click into gear
Scotland have got some swagger about them for the first time in a while and that’s a good thing for the Championship. They can finish now which makes them really dangerous and they have proved that they can get results.
They have some really good backs with Finn Russell and Tim Visser, as well as Stuart Hogg who is world class.
The depth is perhaps an issue, and I’d be worried if they lost one of those guys or the Gray brothers.
I think it will be a tough game for England, and the funny thing is they haven’t really played well in any of their games but they are picking up the wins.
I’d expect it to click at some point and I reckon if it does they might just blow someone away. That’s not to say it will be Scotland this weekend, but I think they have a big performance in them.
Eddie Jones isn’t afraid to take big decisions so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Billy Vunipola come straight back into the starting line-up. It will be interesting to see what he goes for in the back row, maybe he’ll leave Nathan Hughes in there as well.
England are looking to equal New Zealand’s world record and hopefully they can do it to set up a decider in Dublin the following week. I think they’ll do it and win 30-24.
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Natwest 6 Nations calendar
- 04.02.2017 - 05.02.2017 6 Nations
- 11.02.2017 - 12.02.2017 2nd weekend
- 25.02.2017 - 26.02.2017 3rd weekend
- 11.03.2017 - 12.03.2017 4th weekend
- 18.03.2017 - 18.03.2017 Last Day