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Thursday, 31 January 2013

2013 6 Nations Predictions

In advance of the eagerly anticipated 2013 6 Nations, ENS has asked some of its clients for their predictions going into the tournament….. Rob Henderson – Ireland This year is one of the toughest championships to call in some time. The French look strong with their clubs doing fantastically well in the Heineken cup, the Welsh are struggling with injuries, the Scots are looking to bounce back from their dented pride from the Tongan loss in November and the departure of Andy Robinson, England are on a high following their impressive defeat of the All Blacks, the Italians are still on their upward curve and Ireland's are players hitting some form at the right time. From an Irish perspective, I will be interested to se how Jamie Heaslip adjusts to the captain’s armband. There is no doubt he is a quality back row forward and I hope and believe that the extra responsibility will raise his performance levels even higher. I would like to see Freddie Burns of Gloucester be given a chance at stand-off for England - he has shown his full range of abilities and skills all season and deserves the chance to show them off in the Six Nations. It is hard to look past Scotland and Italy for the Wooden Spoon. I think Italy might find a win from somewhere however. With 2013 being a Lions year, I can see the winner coming from the home nations and currently England and Ireland are best placed to challenge for top honours. If I had to pick a winner, I would back Ireland as we have the French and English on home soil. Michael Owen – Wales This year’s tournament is too close to call but I think England and France start as favourites, simply because of their performances during the Autumn Internationals and their strength in depth. However, on their day Wales and Ireland can beat anyone. I think a lot of the games will go to the wire and each team’s respective goal kicker will be crucial. It is hard to look past Italy for the wooden spoon because they are still the weakest team in the tournament but no nations will relish a trip to Rome as the Azurri are capable of an upset. I think Owen Farrell could have a large say on the outcome of the 2013 6 Nations – he is going to be very important for England and is growing in stature all the time. I am a bit apprehensive for Wales this year but they will have a strong team out for their first game against Ireland with lots of experience. If they start the tournament well, they will get their confidence back and could retain their title against the odds. David Flatman – England I think England will win the tournament this year. Travelling to Dublin in the second round of fixtures will be very tough but the English look to be the tightest-knit team in the tournament at the moment. Unfortunately I think Italy will struggle again but Scotland might not be too far ahead of the Azzuri. There are several new faces for Scotland, both on the playing and managerial side, which is a good sign, but it's tough to win international matches with that many rookies. Joe Launchbury is my player to watch for the tournament is Joe Launchbury. He burst onto the scene with his outstanding performances during the Autumn Internationals and this kid could well be the next big thing. I honestly think England will fare very well and this is our best chance of a Grand Slam in many seasons! Craig Chalmers – Scotland Perhaps surprisingly, I think Ireland will win! They have a good mix of youth and experience and play good attacking rugby, constantly asking questions of the opposition. They also have the best number 10 in the tournament in Jonny Sexton who will put them in the right areas of the pitch at the right times. Also, in my opinion they are the best all-round TEAM in the tournament! Unfortunately I think Italy will pick up the Wooden Spoon, simply because they have to travel to Murrayfield. They will target Wales at home and Scotland away, but I feel they will just not have enough quality to win a game. They have a real lack of quality at half-back and one or two of their forwards are now getting a bit long in the tooth. I am really looking forward to seeing Craig Gilroy of Ulster in action for Ireland as well as his teammate Simon Zebo of Munster. Both have been in electrifying form for their clubs recently and I hope they can transfer that to the international stage. I am backing Scotland to beat Italy and Wales at home! This would be a huge improvement on last season and something for Scottish fans to cheer, but I just can't see them beating England, Ireland or France at the moment. Think they’re wrong? Prove it by signing up to our ESPN fantasy 6 Nations game here. Simply create your team and then enter our league with the PIN: 35404. The winner at the end of the tournament will win a rugby ball signed by Ian McGeechan and Lawrence Dallaglio! ENS Ltd is a sports PR agency based in central London, tasked with promoting and protecting brands in sport. Its services include football public relations, online PR and SEO.

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