Dublin, Ireland – After an exciting first round and long night of drinking, our Expert Panel finally shook off their hangovers and got their picks and reasons in… And just to review, the Panel is comprised of West Ghana’s Rugby Rain Man Junoir Blaber, Ireland’s quick-witted fly-half (that’s redundant) Kevin Fegan, the infamous Ireland National, Declan Yeats, feisty French #8 Pyk O’Kallapfer, contrived Kiwi Johnathan Wicklow Barberie and England’s Sir Jamie Loyd. This Six Pack’s picks are as reliable as your favorite six pack of cheap beer; they cost you dearly the next day… That aside, they each pick the winners of each match and a Pick Of The Week, for which they provide the margin of victory. So, without further ado, here are the much ballyhooed 6 Nations Picks & Previews from our dubious Expert Panel…
Scotland v. Italy
The group is split down the midddle. This a rare for the Six Pack. Here are their respective opinions:
BLABER: Italy have yet to win two games in any 6 Nations tournament since joining. This may be the year that they do it, but I am not sold. They will have to go into Murrayfield, where the Scots always play well, and Scotland doesn’t fire them up like France.
FEGAN: Italy threw everyone for a loop last week but while the Azurri are tough at home they have the worst travel record in the Six Nations. If Hogg and Maitland can play as well as last week, Scotland will squeak by at home.
Pyk: They capitalize on their great game against France, to claim a hard, close win in Scotland.
YEATS: Italy shocks Pepe LePew last week but their luck runs out vs William Walace and the Clans.
JWB: The head says Scotland but we’re going with the heart. The Azzurri, behind Castrogiovanni‘s new Top14 contract, will make Haggis Parmigiana of the Thistles at Murrayfield.
LOYD: Despite their anger at having capitulated to the English, the Scots do not have the quality to beat Italians at home.
France v. Wales
Despite breaking hearts last week, France are the favorites again this week and here is why;
BLABER: Wales are going through a Howley-caust and are in poor form. Meanwhile, the French will be spitting nails after losing to Italy. Plus the French will be at home.
FEGAN: Two teams looking to rebound here and I expect this to be a real bruiser. Neither team should be 0-2 but, merde happens. Wales will be inspired but ultimately lose again.
Pyk: 9th defeat in a row for the Leeks in Paris. The French will have no choice but to win this one to make amends for their defeat in Rome.
YEATS: For the Frogs it’s deja vu all over again and the Welsh are singing after the final whistle.
JWB: Wales solve their “blitz defense” issues & plays like Tom Jones was performing at half time – and you DON’T tick off Tom Jones. Les Bleus keep Pyk on death watch.
LOYD: Two angry teams but home-field advantage should swing this one for the French. Evenly matched but I think the French will sneak it.
Ireland v. England
The biggest match of the weekend, has the Irish as the frontrunners and here is why;
BLABER: Sticking to my guns, based on my tournament predictions. Stuart Lancaster is a very good head coach, Declan Kidney is not. That will be the difference in this match.
FEGAN: This one could determine the winners of the championship. Ireland got a fright last week when Wales dominated the second half while England were tough and confident against Scotland. Ireland are injured but the crowd in Dublin will help them over the line in this classic.
Pyk: The two most annoying teams. Yet, I can’t have any deceny and pick the English. Plus the Irish at home are always way better against the Rosbifs.
YEATS: Cian Healy for President!
JWB: Upset of the weekend. Brian O’Driscoll makes Chris Ashton look like a schoolboy and runs over Owen Farrell.
LOYD: Ireland look rejuvenated but the return of Manu Tuilagi and any kind of start by England (unlike the Welsh) should precipitate an English victory. England can match the Irish in the forwards and backs, but I think England will are younger and hungrier to prove they are the business.
And there you have it. Let the games begin!