Ireland to snatch a win before England do battle with their old enemy

England's Ben Youngs during a training session at Bagshot. Picture: PA

England's Ben Youngs during a training session at Bagshot. Picture: PA - Credit: PA

We're down to the business end of the Six Nations this weekend, with only two games for each team to play and some cracking matches among them.

Wales against Ireland will be a physical affair when the two heavyweights meet tonight. It's a really tough game to call, but the in-form team is Ireland so I'll back them to pinch the win.

England versus Scotland should be another tough test for the championship leaders. Scotland will travel to Twickenham high on confidence. They always raise their game when they play England so this could be a ferocious encounter.

England will certainly have to be wary of kicking the ball to full-back Stuart Hogg – he's been the catalyst behind many of Scotland's tries in this season's competition. Billy Vunipola has been drafted into the England fold – he's on the bench as he's returning from injury and that is a boost because we've missed his ball-carrying ability of late.

I can't see Italy getting anything at home against France – this is a game which should cement their position at the bottom of the table.


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France have previously struggled against the lesser teams in the competition's history, but they have progressed this year into a balanced side and, mentally, looked stronger than I've seen for a long time.

Just looking back and it was an exciting last weekend of Six Nations rugby: there was my first wrong prediction of the competition, with Scotland battering the Welsh; Italy's ruck tactics causing players and coaches all sorts of problems at Twickenham and Ireland moved into second place, with Jonny Sexton running the show against France.

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England certainly weren't expecting that from Italy.

It wasn't popular with the home supporters, but Italy rattled the hosts and went in at half-time leading.

Eddie Jones' men re-grouped and the forwards started to play what was in front of them and attack through the middle of the ruck.

And scrum-half Danny Care started sniping as the Italians tired as England ended up 36-15 winners.

England are still unbeaten but the quality of their recent performances will be a concern for head coach Jones.

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