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The 2022 Six Nations draws to a close with another Super Saturday of action. France out to win their first title and Grand Slam since 2010 but Ireland can still spoil the party.
Kicking things off at 2.15pm is Wales v Italy in Cardiff before Ireland welcome Scotland to the Aviva at 4.45pm. A win for the hosts will take them top of the table and secure a Triple Crown.
But then the pressure will be on France to get the job against England in Paris at 8pm. Any victory would secure them the Six Nations – but any defeat – even if they get a losing bonus point – would hand the trophy to the men in green.
One man who can’t wait to get stuck in is Jon Newcombe of TheRugbyTipster.com. He banged in four winners last week and joined our pals at PPTV to reveal his predictions for the deciding day of the championship.
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TV: BBC 1/ RTE 2
This is very much the undercard to what lies ahead. These two occupy the final two places in the tournament with Italy resigned to finishing bottom for an eighth year in a row. Wales will want to lift morale after what has been a disappointing defence of their title, and you’d fancy them to cover the handicap of -29 here.
That said, Italy will be encouraged by their attacking display against Scotland and will fire a few shots. That’s been a problem area for Wales, but you’d bank on them scoring at least five tries in this match with perhaps one or two at the other end.
One bet I like here is Team to Score first. Italy have done so in two of their four games and in the other two – they didn’t score at all against England, and against Ireland they lost a man early on.
I think they are good value having taken the lead against France and Scotland.
For Wales, Gareth Davies is starting at scrum-half for the first time this championship and will be out to prove a point. He’s usually good for a try or two.
TV: ITV 1/ Virgin Media 1
I think for the neutral everyone will be hoping for an Ireland win to make the France v England game extra special. Obviously, we will be too, having backed Ireland to win the title! Hopefully they can take it to the wire.
Ireland were struggling at scrum time against England so that was a bit of a worry for them but regardless of that they look in pretty good shape to put away the Scots who haven’t won in Dublin for 12 years.
Ireland, well, they don’t lose in Dublin. Their Aviva Stadium record is immense. Scotland don’t travel well across the Irish Sea. Ireland have got plenty of try scorers, they’ve scored twice as many as Scotland and they’ve conceded about a quarter less than Scotland.
With that sort of math in place you’d expect all the numbers to add up to a fairly comfortable Ireland victory. I think they might be able to cover the handicap.
James Lowe does really seem to have hit a rich vein of form and he’s now joint-top try scorer. He’ll be backing himself to add to that. Hugo Keenan at full back, he’s started to really motor now after a slow start in terms of his attacking play in this Six Nations.
In the last couple of games he’s started to carve up the meat and has been looking a real threat as well. Of the two he’s better value. Lowe, no doubt, would be favourite, but at the price I’d be looking to Hugo Keenan Anytime Tryscorer.
TV: ITV 1/ RTE 2
Unfortunately for Irish fans, France seem to deal with the pressure quite well. There have been three other occasions when they’ve got for the Six Nations Grand Slam: 2002, 2004 and 2010 and they’ve delivered each time.
They thrashed Ireland the first time and the last two were against England which were very close games. This time, though, I think the distance between France and England will be a little bit more, perhaps France winning by between 6-10 points.
England have only scored two tries outside of the Italy game so I can’t see them putting too many points on the board. I fancy France to score at least three.
Damian Penaud, who was our pre-tournament pick as top try scorer, he’s back from Covid and I’m delighted to hear that! He’s such a dangerous runner and pops up in midfield, pops up on the wing.
Although it might not be the most expansive game, given what’s at stake, I fancy him to get his hands on the ball, get opportunities, and if he does you can bank on him to finish it so I’ll go with Damian Penaud Anytime Tryscorer.
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