Six Nations 2022: Week One predictions - Scotland to edge out England, comfortable wins for Ireland and France

Rugby’s Greatest Championship returns this weekend as Ireland face Wales, Scotland host England and France take on Italy.

We all have those special days in the year that we look forward to whether it’s birthdays, anniversaries or religious celebrations but, for rugby union fans in the northern hemisphere, one day trumps them all.

It’s SIXMAS folks! The opening weekend of the Six Nations Championship where England,France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales compete across five matchdays to determine the cream of the crop amongst the European heavyweights.

This year the tournament begins with an absolutely titanic clash in Dublin where Ireland host reigning champions Wales.

However, that’s just the starter and the main course is the Calcutta Cup contest in Edinburgh where Scotland and England go head-to-head in rugby’s oldest fixtures.

Rounding off the weekend are title favourites France against massive underdogs Italy in Paris on Sunday.

Here are our predictions for the week one matches:

Ireland v Wales

Tomos Williams of Wales passes the ball during the Guinness Six Nations match between Wales and Ireland at Principality Stadium on February 07, 2021 in Cardiff
  • Date: Saturday, February 5
  • Kick off: 14:15
  • Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin
  • Odds: Ireland 1/6, Wales 7/1

Wales may be the defending champions but Ireland are the heavy favourites to win this match, and rightly so.

The Welsh squad has been devastated by injuries and are missing several key and experienced players with Alun Wyn Jones at the head of that list.

Ireland are in a much stronger place squad wise and come into the tournament on the back of an incredibly impressive Autumn International run which saw them demolish Argentina and Japan before claiming victory over the mighty All Blacks.

Expect Ireland to carry that form into their Six Nations opener and kick the weekend off with a victory.

Wales were written off by many pundits last year and would prove the doubters wrong but things look to be even more against them this time with the Irish having home advantage and a full strength squad who are high on confidence.

Our prediction:Ireland to win by a 13+ point margin

Scotland v England

Ben Youngs of England is tackled by Hamish Watson during the Guinness Six Nations match between England and Scotland at Twickenham Stadium on February 06, 2021 in London
  • Date: Saturday, February 5
  • Kick off: 16:45
  • Venue: Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh
  • Odds: Scotland 13/10, England 10/11

The bookmakers may see England as the narrow favourites for this match but we see it slightly differently.

England have only won one of their last four meetings with Scotland and the Murrayfield crowd are always a massive advantage for the Scots.

Not only that but Eddie Jones is missing key figures in Owen Farrell and Courtney Lawes while Gregor Townsend has fielded his strongest starting XV which features eight British & Irish Lions.

Put all that together and there only looks like being one outcome, but it will be far from straightforward.

Nobody has strength in depth quite like England and have phenomenal ability in their young talents like Marcus Smith and Freddie Steward who will get their chances to light up the match.

All the same, Scotland should have enough to see off their old rivals.

Our prediction: Scotland to win with a 5 to 10 point margin

France v Italy

Charles Ollivon of France is tackled by Johan Meyer of Italy during the Guinness Six Nations match between Italy and France at Stadio Olimpico on February 6, 2021 in Rome
  • Date: Sunday, February 6
  • Kick off: 15:00
  • Venue: Stade de France, Saint Denis (Paris)
  • Odds: France 1/40, Italy 80/1

It looks for all the world that France will win their first Six Nations title in 12 years.

Les Bleus are the pre-tournament favourites and arguably the best team in world rugby at this moment in time.

Captained by 2021 World Rugby Player of the Year Antoine Dupont and featuring several other high quality individuals, it’s going to take something special from the other nations to stop them.

Could Italy put a huge dent in their title aspirations on week one? Probably not.

The Azzurii haven’t won a Six Nations match since beating Scotland in 2015 and it would be the shock of all shocks if they broke that losing streak in Paris this weekend.

They might look like a more improved side than they have going into recent championships but they are still some way behind their continental counterparts.

Our prediction:France to win by 28+ point margin

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