The Six Nations 2014 starts in three weeks’ time, who are you picking to win?
Warren Gatland’s boys dominated 2013 on the British and Irish Lions squad to Australia and won the Six Nations last year, but can they continue to dominate? They have so many talented players like Leigh Halfpenny, George North and Sam Warburton, but the Six Nations requires even the best teams to be on their game as you rarely see a team win every match in the competition.
Their main threat will be England who will be looking to build for when they host the Rugby World Cup in 2015. England will host rivals Ireland and Wales and this could be a crucial home advantage, although it didn’t help them against Wales last season.
The enigmatic French can never be written off, but they have had a terrible 2013 season. They finished last in the Six Nations and then never really got off the ground. Coach Saint-Andre must now go with some new talent as things can’t really get any worse heading towards Rugby World Cup 2015. He has dropped veteran Freddie Michalak. They have some world class players in Wes Fofana and Thierry Dusautoir and can’t be totally written off, but I don’t rate their chances!
Ireland came within a whisker of beating the All Blacks at the end of the year, but they will have to continually motivate themselves like they did that day if they are to win the Six Nations 2014. It will be interesting to see what new coach Joe Schmidt can achieve, but Ireland will have to do it without Brian O’Driscoll who has supposedly retired from international rugby. It is difficult to know if coach Joe Schmidt can weave some luck back into Ireland’s bag of tricks for the Six Nations 2014, or even change O’Driscoll’s mind, but Ireland will be competitive in the Six Nations, but I get the feeling that they won’t have the killer instinct and depth to win.
Scotland and Italy finished third and fourth respectively last season and are no longer the whipping boys of the competition. Sure, I can’t see either team winning the Six Nations 2014, but they are more difficult to beat than in the recent past and don’t be surprised if they pick up a win or two each over the competition. Italy has some very experienced players now with Sergio Parisse and Martin Castrogiovanni leading an experienced pack. Scotland have improved into a team capable of beating tier one nations like Australia on their day.
In summary, I am picking the Six Nations 2014 to be a two horse race with Wales and England the favourites. Ireland are my dark horses under new coach Joe Schmidt. A competition is only as strong as their weakest link, so although teams like France are not as strong as in the past, credit must go to Scotland and Italy for making this a tough competition. My pick for Six Nations 2014 champions is Wales.
Who will win the Six Nations 2014?
Come join my Six Nations prediction game on SuperBru! It’s free and loads of fun.
Just click here: http://www.superbru.com/sixnations/pool.php?p=11154969
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