2017 World Rugby Predictions!
Written by Ronan Calvert of Munster Haka
Champions Cup: Saracens
Outside chance: Munster
If Munster secure a home quarter final, I think they could beat any opponent – besides the unlikely event of that opponent being Saracens. The London side have went from strength to strength since securing the crown last term and look razor sharp out the backs. They could well beat everyone, and Munster will hope they only meet in the final.
Outside chance: Leinster
Sitting proudly on top of the tree at Christmas, Munster have surged to heights that haven’t been reached in a few years now. Boosted this season by superb coaching and inspired by the late great Anthony Foley – the men in red look to have an edge over each and everyone in the league.
Six Nations: England
Outside Chance: Scotland
I think the news of the bonus point introduction earlier this year will have been music to English supporters’ ears. England have upped their already threathing expansive atttack and cutting edge from Stuart Lancaster’s time and now with the serial-winner Jones at the helm, it may not even come down to that. A possible grandslam repeat for England – and Scotland as an outside chance because f*ck it, they’re improved this year and it would be nice to see them repaid for their ambtion of seasons gone by. Ireland are somewhere in between.
Super Rugby: Hurricanes
Outside Chance: Highlanders
A recent theme in Super Rugby has been the exile of top players from each side somewhat diminishing their quality. This season however, there is one team that are in fact, in an even healthier state than last – the Hurricanes. With every internationalremaining in the New Zealand captital for the title holders and with Nehe Milner-Skudder and Jordie Barrett coming into the fray this term, I can’t see anything but a Super Rugby title retention. The Highlanders may also be worth a punt as wonderkid Tevita Li joins their already supreme backline, but a lot is riding on the form of Aaron Smith for Tony Brown’s side. If anyone will stop the Canes however, I think it’s between Brown’s boys and the Blues.
Lions Tour: New Zealand
Ireland’s November triumph may have raised many people’s expectations ahead of the tour of New Zealand but the inevitable realities of this tour are down to perspective. The All Blacks underperformed massively. Credit to Ireland, they put in an epic performance but I don’t think that standard would be retainable over three tests for the Irish, I don’t think New Zealand would ever be that bad more than once in a year, let alone a month – and I certainly don’t think it could happen with a recently assembled Lions team. The Blacks will be bitter, not bad, and the Gatty doesn’t have the same time as Joe Schmidt to drill sufficient detail into his troops.