NEW YORK, NEW YORK – The Six Nations can always be counted upon for a shock or two. Last weekend, four members of the panel had their heart broken in the seventy eighth minute by Gael Fickou. This weekend, any number of players could have a similarly devastating impact, as the difference between first and last place in the highly competitive (and much vaunted) RugbyWrapUp Six Pack will likely remain razor thin for the duration of the tournament. Some divisions have opened up this week, as at least one member has stuck their neck out in every match-up, a different atmosphere from last round, where all hung on the England-France fixture.
As ever, a quick reminder before getting to the picks. 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.
Ireland vs Wales: The pick of the weekend’s matches, the panel has a strong Irish lean to it. All will be clear on Saturday, but for now, four panelists are sticking their neck on the line for BOD.
- Blaber: The Irish Line-up is a bit old but it will be bad weather and the Irish have better experience in the Mud. Plus this one’s for BOD.
- Harrington: After their performance against Italy last week, I’m astonished that the Welsh have been installed as favourites to win the Six Nations this year. It’s Ireland for me, and Gatland’s goons will come a cropper at the Aviva.
- Yeats: BOD’s Revenge on that dirty Gatland.
- Loyd: Wales are gonna kick back. HARD!
- Hall: One of the toughest calls of the tournament for me. Ireland at home are always so strong, but I have to go with the champions until they falter for real. I believe that last weekend was a fluke, and Gatland won’t let his men fall without a serious fight in Dublin. The magic of BOD can only carry so far, and while it would make for a fantastic narrative in the final Six Nations of his career, the Welsh won’t be willing to be a mere stepping stone into history for the Irish great.
- JWB: This is the toughest match to pick. The heart says Ireland, but the head says Wales… But my Irish mother will box my the ears on said head, so it’s damn the torpedoes and full heart ahead!
England vs Scotland: The Calcutta Cup is always fiercely contested, but only one panelist sees the Scots stealing one at home.
- Blaber: I just don’t see where Scotland will come up with that little bit of magic to steal a victory, even at home
- Harrington: England were unlucky to lose in Paris last weekend (and Philippe Saint-Andre knows it!). They surely can’t be that unlucky again. The Calcutta Cup’s heading to Twickers again.
- Yeats: I will back William Wallace’s men. They get up to face the English unlike any other team they play.
- Loyd: Zero imagination, limited ability, Scottish rugby is in a mire right now, and it is reflected in their national team.
- Hall: Dropping Brown was a huge mistake, and I see it backfiring spectacularly. Though the pitch may be a mess, England should stroll to victory in Edinburgh.
- JWB: England will win against a seemingly lost Scottish side. The Thistles are William Wallace without Robert the Bruce.
Italy vs France: The consensus seems to be that France has too much talent to lose again, but it would have been difficult finding anybody willing to bet on Italy before last year’s match in Rome.
- Blaber: It is in France, they are feeling good about the win last week and they will also sneak by this week.
- Harrington: I said in my review of the first weekend that it won’t be long before Italy are celebrating only the second away win in their short Six Nations history. I still believe that. I just don’t believe it will be this weekend
- Yeats: When Italy plays France always go with the Italians. They are more consistent than the Frogs.
- Loyd: Perhaps some consistency may finally instill itself in the French game? Close for 60 minutes, but expect individual brilliance to shine through for Les Bleus
- Hall: The French just have too much talent for a plucky Italian side. It’s one pick I’d be happy to lose, but I have to listen to logic and call this one for the French.
- JWB: This is a match the French should win, so they will probably lose. But… There is a certain je nais sais quoi at work here and it will be Frogs leaping over the Tombas, avenging last year’s debacle.
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.