The Six Nations 2015 Championship concludes today, but who will be champions by the evening?
England, Ireland and Wales are all on the same points. A win for one nation and a draw or a loss for the other two is easy – the winner would win the title.
However, with no one side facing the other, it’s more likely that the tournament will come down to points difference.
England are currently ahead with +37 points, but Ireland are just four points behind. Wales have more to do on +12, but still are in with a shot if they post a huge total against Italy (or if the other two sides lose).
So, Going into the last round of games there are four teams who still have it all to play for. The complications of what should be a very exciting finale to the tournament are actually not as bad as it first would appear.
So let’s look at who can win it and what they have to do in order to be crowned champions.
The first match of the day sees Wales take on Italy. This game is one that the Welsh are favourites to win and win by at least 20 points. The Italians will be tough and will give a spirited display, but they are not an 80 minute test match team. They beat Scotland in round 3, but suffered losses to Ireland, England and France by 23, 30 and 29 points respectively. I would expect that the Welsh will also beat them by over 20 points.
This will not be enough for Wales to win the Championship though, not unless the Irish lose to Scotland and England lose to France. The points difference in the image below will show you why. Their lack of anything more than a narrow 3 point victory over Scotland could come back to haunt them.
The second game sees Ireland go to Murrayfield to play a Scotland team who desperately want to escape the wooden spoon. At first glance this would appear to be a gimme for the Irish, many respected pundits say that they are the best and most rounded team in the Northern Hemisphere at the moment, but the Scots are difficult to beat. A closer inspection shows that Scotland are not the whipping boys of 2015 – France beat them by 7, Wales by 3, Italy by 3, and England beat them by 12, none of these losses were a thrashing.
So, can the Irish put up the points they will need against the Scots? I believe they can, but they have surprisingly only scored 4 tries in their 4 games so far. The Scots have scored 5.
Scotland have been playing some fine, high-paced Rugby this season. This could be as much of an opportunity as a threat for the Irish, the openings will be present and the boot of Jonny Sexton may not see as much penalty action as it has in the past games.
My prediction is a 14 point win for Ireland.
That leaves the fate of England in their own hands. The French will arrive in Twickenham with the desire to spoil the party for England and to save face going into the World Cup. They lost to Ireland and Wales, but like most of this season’s fixtures those games were close and the margin of victory was just 7 in each game.
I expect England to do what has to be done, a victory of 1 point should see them crowned champions for 2015. This match should be the most closely contested game of the day so there are no certainties for any of the four potential champions.
If I was a betting man I’d keep my money in my ass pocket because surely there will be one more cat thrown amongst the pigeons that is the Six Nations 2015.