Round 3 of the 6 Nations is over and we have 3 more games to discuss and dissect. More importantly, world rugby has updated its rankings and I can update my forecasts for round 4 based on these. I explained how the rankings work in my previous 6 Nations post and that is also worth reading to see how the forecast of round 4 now differs from then.
Looking back at that post, it was interesting how the rankings predicted a narrow win for Scotland over Wales. Given that Scotland had not beaten Wales for 10 years that was quite a call and in the event they won the game comfortably. Scotland’s reward is that they are up to #5 in the world rankings, 2 points behind Ireland.
With the updated rankings, here are my revised forecasts for round 4.
The forecasts for rounds 1 to 3 are based on the rankings that existed at that time. So far, the rankings have correctly predicted 8 out 9 matches with Scotland V Ireland in round 1 the only wrong call but that was predicted to be very close. For round 4, Wales V Ireland is predicted to be even closer, in effect a draw though by 0.02 points, Ireland are ahead. Remember that home sides have 3 points added to their rankings for prediction purposes.
Italy V France looks like Italy’s best chance of a win this season. Two factors they can take heart from is that they beat France in 2011 & 2013 and France have only won 3 of their last 14 away games in the 6 Nations. France’s last away win was against Italy in 2015 so whilst on paper France are favourites, it might be a closer game than expected.
Finally we have England V Scotland which on paper is a clear win for England. Then again so were their matches against France and Italy this season and both didn’t go to plan.
The forecasts for Round 5 are based on the rankings as of today but these will change again once round 4 is complete. The round 5 forecasts should be treated as indicative for now but based on these, we could end up with an England grand slam followed by 3 teams with 3 wins. At that point bonus points, introduced into the 6 Nations for the first time this season will come into play.