On Saturday Eddie Jones’s impressive English team travel to the Principality Stadium in Cardiff for a top of the table clash against Warren Gatland’s Wales.
Both teams have started their campaigns with a couple of victories respectively and whoever claims the win this weekend will be in the driving seat to win the Six Nations Championship and well on route to a possible Grand Slam. Table toppers England have claimed maximum points in their games, whereas Wales have failed to get the needed four tries for a bonus point in their games. With England welcoming Italy and Scotland to Twickenham in rounds 4 and 5 a win on Saturday suggests it’s their championship to lose.
Even though England and Wales are the clear front-runners for the title, both Scotland and defending Champions Ireland have an outside chance. Joe Schmidt’s men would have been massively disappointed with their poor start against England, failing to get a losing bonus point and also giving the Englishmen maximum points conceding four tries.
It leaves the Irishmen with a difficult mountain to climb if they’re going to retain their title, realistically it doesn’t look very likely or bright but it’s technically impossible. They must get maximum points in all of their remaining games, which would finish their points tally at 19.
They also need certain other results to work out in their favour if they were to complete the very difficult task. They will be hoping former coach Warren Gatland and his team can defeat England and ideally deny them a losing bonus point and fail to get a try winning bonus point of their own. Ireland will then have to defeat Wales by a bonus point on the final weekend.
Expecting a bonus point victory at home to Italy, England must fail to get a bonus point victory over Scotland for them to also to finish on 19 points tied with Ireland at the climax of the championship. Currently, England have a 51 point advantage over Ireland when it comes to points difference. The world’s second ranked nation will have to win by some impressive scores to stand a chance of defying the odds.
This is a massively talented Irish team that will keep fighting until its all over, but realistically it’s fair to assume that their aspiration’s of retaining the title are over. Although stranger things have happened so who knows!
Written By Ciaron Noble
Image from Irish Times