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Six Nations Predictions – Round 5

After two dramatic twists in the Six Nations tale in Round Four, the Championship will reach an exciting climax this weekend with four teams still in the title picture, writes Quintin van Jaarsveld.

Six Nations

After two dramatic twists in the Six Nations tale in Round Four, the Championship will reach an exciting climax this weekend with four teams still in the title picture, writes Quintin van Jaarsveld.

England’s last-gasp 23-22 win over Ireland in front of 81 000-plus fans at Twickenham has given them a chance to win the title, should they beat France handily in Lyon and Ireland lose at home to Scotland.

The Scots, meanwhile, only have the slimmest of chances of pulling off a major heist left after their shock 31-29 loss to the Azzurri, while the same is true for France. Up first on super Saturday, though, winless Wales and buoyant Italy will look to finish their campaigns on a high.

Wales v Italy

Saturday, 16 March – 16:15

In the early stages of a rebuilding phase, Wales were always going to struggle in this campaign. However, fans were hoping the Dragons would pick up a few wins along the way. Despite being full of promise and passion, results haven’t materialised, leaving them in danger of enduring their first winless campaign since 2003.

The match against France last weekend was closer than the 45-24 scoreline suggests, but in saying that, soft moments once again cost Warren Gatland’s charges dearly. On the positive side, they’ve been able to convert scoring opportunities into points quite well, but it’ll take time to lay a solid foundation.

Scrum issues aside, the biggest drawback for the Dragons is the fact that they’ve consistently come off second-best in the contact areas. Their lack of power and mongrel won’t be as hard felt this weekend as the Italians aren’t powerhouses either, but it’ll continue to haunt them against the big guns.

On a high after their famous victory over Scotland, their first home win in the Six Nations in 11 years, the Azzurri will be more than up for their campaign closer as they’re in a position to avoid the wooden spoon for the first time since 2015, needing two log points from Saturday’s showdown to condemn Wales to that embarrassment.

Their organisation and heart on defence were impressive against the Scots while overall, they’re not as tactically naive as they were in the past, instead, attacking in the right areas of the field. There will be a lot of two-way action on this game and rightly so, with Italy looking in good shape.

However, Wales have been moving towards a breakthrough and with less power to contend with and home ground advantage, I expect them to end their campaign on a winning note.

Prediction: Wales by 5.

Suggested Bet: Italy +8.5 at 1.85.

Ireland v Scotland

Saturday, 16 March – 18:45

Two teams who were stunningly tripped up last weekend seek to set the record straight in the likely title decider in Dublin.

Inaccuracies were at the heart of log-leading Ireland’s loss at Twickenham, which ended their Grand Slam dream, while Scotland’s inconsistency saw them crash to defeat in Rome. A swift mental shift is required from both sides as they go all out in their title quests.

Ireland, despite their slip-up, are in control of their own destiny. Leading second-placed England by four points and third-placed Scotland by five on 16 points, the Irish need just two log points to clinch the Northern Hemisphere crown for the second successive year, while a single log point could also be enough.

Scotland have only a slim mathematical chance of ending the night in possession of the title. They have to bag a bonus-point win, avoid conceding a losing bonus point, overturn a points difference of 76 to Ireland and hope France fail to win. In other words, it’s highly unlikely.

The Irish aided in their downfall against England and will focus on the basics this weekend. That should be enough to get them over the line against a talented but erratic Scottish side, whose 2-2 record reflects what they are – a work in progress.

Gregor Townsend’s men have been unable to produce an 80-minute performance all campaign and they’ll be unable to keep up with the Irish, who’ll lift the silverware in front of their home fans.

Prediction: Ireland by 10.

Suggested Bet: Scotland +15.5 at 1.83.

France v England

Saturday, 16 March – 22:00

The Championship could come down to Le Crunch if Scotland are able to keep Ireland from adding to their tally. That would open the door for England, who’d be able to snatch the title with a bonus point win. France, in turn, have the same slim hopes as Scotland.

England haven’t been without their challenges, but they’ve registered three victories in a Championship season for the first time since 2020 and are coming off their best performance of the year. Yes, Ireland weren’t at their best, but England deserve credit for standing up to them in the set pieces and at the breakdown to ultimately clinch a deserved win.  

As mentioned previously, the scoreline in Cardiff flattered France but it was nevertheless their finest performance of the season to date. Thomas Ramos delivered on all fronts at No. 10, their pack flexed their muscles, and they had more sting in their attack.

It’s defensively where Les Bleus are still making life hard for themselves. Cracks remain, particularly in midfield, where England are expected to launch plenty of attacks. Again, there should be solid two-way action on this one on the betting front. The Red Rose will be full of belief, but without the Twickenham factor, it’s France who’ll prevail.

Prediction: France by 3.

Suggested Bet: England +7.5 at 1.85.

Quintin Van Jaarsveld is a former MDDA-Sanlam SA Local Sports Journalist of the Year and a former three-time Vodacom KwaZulu-Natal Sports Journalist of the Year. Formerly the sports editor and Outstanding Journalist of the Year award winner at The Fever Media Group, deputy editor at eHowzit, editor at and senior staff writer at, he boasts over 15 years’ experience and is currently a freelance sports writer.

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