Last weekend saw Ireland learn a few lessons while also enduring what many are calling an incompetent referee for the game. Ireland deserved to lose.
So, what are the chances now of Ireland winning the championship?
While Ireland have an almost 40% chance of winning the championship, they are given an 80% chance of beating Scotland . Scotland have a 25% chance of coming out on top against the Irish in Murrayfield. Italy, who play first against Wales, have a miserable 10% chance of winning, which on their form this year seems generous. Wales are given an 80% chance of beating Italy while they also have a 15% chance of winning the title.
The last game of this year’s Six Nations features England with a 83% chance of beating their opponents France, who have a 22% chance. What is quite extraordinary is how these two teams now have very different chances of winning the championship. France have absolutely no chance of winning the title at .33% while England are favourites at 57%.
France and Italy have been the biggest disappointments of the championship with dreadful performances. Its been a fairly poor competition in terms of quality and doesn’t bode well for the World Cup if the defending teams are constantly given the advantage by both the referees and their interpretations of the rules while some of the rules are in urgent need of review.
The stand out game is the England v France game at Twickenham. Will the French turn up? If they do, it’ll be their first time and could see off England.
Whatever happens, it promises to be an exciting end to what has been a very flat and disappointing championship. I hope the powers that be start to wake up and start giving the attacking teams advantage and open the game up.
As far as Ireland goes, Joe Schmidt clearly has his eye on the World Cup and is building his centres up slowly and perhaps we’ll see Connacht’s wonderfully talented Robbie Henshaw show off what he does regularly at the Sports Ground. For me, Robbie is the stand out player for Ireland this season so far and I’m backing him to get over the line at least once this Saturday. If Jonny Sexton is playing at 10 and is on form, this could happen given the points we’ll need to get against Scotland if we are to win the Championship. If Madigan gets the nod, which he well might do given Jonny’s off form, then it really might open up for Robbie. Wouldn’t it be great to see Robbie running under the posts? He well deserves a chance to show his immense power, intelligence and skill to the world. Is it his time?