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Guinness Six Nations 2019 Round 3 Predictions

By Ruaraidh Britton, Feature Writer

It’s not often we get to start assuming Grand Slam winners in round three, or that we begin to think game over before the half way mark. But after what’s felt like an age with the rest week, our favourite rugby showcase returns to our screens, and Saturday looks set to epic.

Scotland travel to France with the aim of winning at the Stade de France for the first time since 1999, the year they famously won the final Five Nations trophy. Wales look to make it 12 unbeaten against one of the best England sides we’ve seen in years, who could take a huge stride towards winning the title if they overcome Warren Gatland’s side.

And as if that wasn’t enough, Joe Schmidt looks to regain some ground on the title race with a trip to Rome to face an Italian side who look like they’re
crawling ever closer to that rare Six Nations victory. I think it’d be fair to say that we are well and truly ready for this one.

FRANCE vs. SCOTLAND

This prediction has become somewhat of a sword sized thorn in my side because I really don’t know how to call this one. France have been utterly shambolic so far, and despite a reported player revolt led by Morgan Parra, Jacques Brunel has stuck relatively close to the team he started the
tournament with.


Parra’s complaints clearly did him no favours as he drops out of the match day 23 along with Camille Lopez, who was also pretty vocal in the aftermath at Twickenham. There’s a feeling that Brunel really doesn’t know his best side yet, and in some areas that would definitely appear to be the case.

No discredit to Romain Ntamack, but to be pulling the strings in your third
cap seems very optimistic. Obviously there are some positions where there are no doubts at all, such as the exciting prop Demba Bamba and the ever impressive Louis Picamoles at 8 (who I’m really excited to see against Josh Strauss), but for me I can’t see how this side will have improved from their humbling at Twickenham, so it’ll be interesting to see how they attempt to restore some pride.

Stuart Hogg misses this weekend’s clash with a shoulder injury.

Meanwhile, Scotland are having an injury crisis far worse than I can remember any team having in the Six Nations. But now it’s gotten really serious, as Finn Russell, Huw Jones and Stuart Hogg all drop out of the squad through injury. That would scare a Scotland fan much more three or four years ago than it would now, as their squad depth is tremendously further forward than it was back at the last World Cup, but those are three names you desperately don’t want to hear on the injury list.

Imagine England losing Owen Farrell, or Ireland missing Peter O’Mahony, or Wales having Alun Wyn Jones on their absences list, the panic button would be smashed to pieces. How Peter Horne will do at 10, I’m unsure, but he played a blinder at Cardiff Arms Park last weekend. France is an entirely different prospect, but they’ve hardly lit the tournament alight this campaign apart from that first half against Wales.

Blair Kinghorn’s return to the starting setup will bring some comfort to the dark blues, but ultimately he’s not quite an in-form Stuart Hogg so it’s fair to say they’re definitely not running at full strength, but I think they’re not worlds away either.

I’m going with Scotland for this weekend’s opener, simply because I believe in their side more given their performances in the opening two rounds. France have been far from their best and it really showed last weekend and if Scotland can put all the talk of their away form out of their minds and seriously punish France’s defensive atrocities, I could see this game swinging in Scotland’s favour and what a historic result that would be.

Don’t expect France to make it easy though.

Predicted result: Scotland by 5

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