NEW YORK, NEW YORK – After JWB’s shocking upset victory in Rugby Wrap Up’s Heineken Cup picks column, the other five hardy writers decided that they could not take defeat lying down. So, once more, we venture forth to post picks on the weekend’s most compelling action. Because of the limited nature of the Six Nations (only three matches per weekend, only five rounds of action) each pick will carry great meaning when it comes to the overall standings.
As with the Heineken Cup, the Six Pack consists of West Ghana’s Rugby Rain Man Junoir Blaber, England’s knight of the realm Jamie Loyd, The English East Midlands Machiavellian Rugger Nick Hall, the infamous Ireland National, Declan Yeats, the Irish Born-Castres residing, lean(ish), mean(ish) writing machine, James Harrington and contrived Kiwi Co-Host, Johnathan Wicklow Barberie.
In a change to the format, each week our panel will also be adding justifications for each one of their picks, not just their Pick of the Week. Without further ado, here’s how the expert panel sees the first weekend of the Six Nations playing out.
Wales v Italy: Defending Champs open up against one of the competition’s normally weaker side.
BLABER: Wales are at home and in-form; Young Mr. Allan is in for rude first 6N courtesy of Tipuric and Roberts. (Pick of the Week)
HARRINGTON: Gatland’s created a brutally good Welsh unit. They won’t lose at home to Italy.
YEATS: Those Pasta eaters always play well but they are not good enough to go against the defending champs.
LOYD: Perfect start for the Welsh to get rid of the rust and kick off would should be a tournament winning championship. (Pick of the Week)
HALL: There won’t be an easier call all tournament. Italy may be improved over the versions of yesteryear, but no chance can they stroll into Cardiff and expect a result.
JWB: Wales have more experience and their well-heeled/healed Coach Gatland will make marinara of the Italians. (Pick of the Week)
France v England: Le Crunch is the premier fixture of the round and will go a long way to determining this year’s winner
BLABER: Inexperienced England outside backs will struggle against the France’s more experienced outside backs. Plus France is at home and will use the support for a win.
HARRINGTON: France have a mighty pack and backs to die for, but England’s defence is well drilled and organisation is key in Le Crunch. (Pick of the Week)
YEATS: Can’t really trust the Frogs but can’t support the English.
LOYD: JUST!!!!! England’s budding pack should be able to run the French off their feet, although lack of punch in the centres may create problems
HALL: I’m actually wary of this pick, but I think that England will have enough in the tank to overcome the ever mercurial French, who will find their way later in the tournament. (Pick of the Week)
JWB: The French halfbacks are young and raw but this one is closer to pick than most think… The gut says Frog, but the bet is Roast Beef.
Ireland v Scotland: This is may be Scotland’s best chance for an upset victory while Ireland will have the fans and emotion on their side.
BLABER: BOD, In Dublin plus Irish have more class and better coach.
HARRINGTON: Scott Johnson will have roused his rabble, but Joe Schmidt’s Ireland will want to give the talismanic O’Driscoll a tournament winning send off. This one’s for BOD.
YEATS: Bangers and Mash is better than Haggis and Irish Gaelic sounds better than Scottish Gaelic. (Pick of the Week)
LOYD: Time to watch how far the Irish have come from the promise they showed in the Autumn.
HALL: Ireland will be playing for BOD for the duration of the tournament, and should come out the gates strong.
JWB: Brian O’Driscoll and Paul O’Connell will beat back any all William Wallace incarnations in Dublin on this day.
That’s it for now… feel free to comment below, look for and “Like” our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter @: RugbyWrapUp, Junoir Blaber, DJ Eberle, Nick Hall, James Harrington, Cody Kuxmann, Jaime Loyd and Declan Yeats, respectively.