Six Nations round 2 weekend preview (2013)

Scotland v Italy (14:30)


Last week Italy played well against France but they always up their game in Rome. France may have been on an off day and I think a lot of people have got carried away with the Italians.
One play from fly-half Luciano Orquera took the ball from one end to the other could be said to be a 14-point play.

Scotland weren't that bad against England and will prove a difficult prospect for the Italians travelling to Edinburgh.
I have to back the Scots at home and think it could be quite comfortable for them too.

France v Wales (17:00)


This a must win game for both teams who want to keep their Championship aspirations alive.

Wales are struggling with the depth of their squad and have to play the French away.

Even with the problems that seem to be present in the French set up at the moment the strength of depth in their squad gives them a big advantage over their Celtic rivals.

Freddie Michalak struggled last week but has survived for another week and the French need him to improve tomorrow.

In my opinion the Welsh attack was weak last time out and whilst they scored late on in the game it came too late to change the result.

The bookies have a France win by +8 points and I think they are good to cover that.

Ireland v England (Sunday 15:00)


Ireland against England in Dublin on Sunday has to be the game of the weekend.

After winning their last two games, in the Autumn against the All Blacks and then against Scotland last weekend, England have become Championship favourites.

England tried to play more rugby in these two games than in a long time. Their intent to shift the ball and attack has worked well and they must resist the temptation to resort to kicking and playing for territory to continue their development.

The last game was Owen Farrell's best for England so far and showed that he can play an expansive game. It is a shame Manu Tuilagi isn't playing from the start, in my mind, he is just irreplaceable.

Ireland will employ the choke tackles against England and the break down will be a key area for both teams and Jonny Sexton will look to move England around.

I think Ireland can gain parity up front and gain from playing at home and I think they can win though it will be close and with Tuilagi and Tom Waldrom on the bench England have subs who could come on and still win it for them.

If England can win tomorrow playing the same way they have in the last two weeks, they will silence the doubters, including me.

Weekend Winners:
Scotland, France and Ireland to win.

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