Analysis: Can Ireland Still Win The Six Nations?

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Ireland are 0 from 1, but can they still win the RBS 6 Nations?

Scotland pulled off the shock of the weekend on Saturday by defeating Joe Schmidt’s Ireland who went into the game as massive favourites, with many expecting them to go unbeaten all the way to the final round. A winner take all game was predicted on the final day between Ireland and England at the Aviva, but those dreams have been squashed at the final hurdle. Or have they?

The introduction of a the bonus-point system complicates things this year, but could easily work in Ireland’s favour. Unlike previous years, Ireland lost, but still came away with a point having stayed within 7 points.

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Up next is a trip to Rome to face Conor O’Shea’s Italy and we expect a massive backlash from the Irish. Sticking to England as Ireland’s closest rivals for the title, here’s how things might play our in their next three games.

Round 2
Ireland vs Italy – Ireland to win with a bonus point. 5
Wales vs England – England to win without a bonus point 4.

Round 3
Ireland vs France – Ireland to win without a bonus point. 4
England vs Italy – England to win with a bonus point. 5

Round 4
Wales vs Ireland – Ireland to win without a bonus point. 4
England vs Scotland – England to win without a bonus point. 4

Table heading into the last round:

1. England – 17
2. Ireland – 14

This would mean all Ireland would need to do is beat England on the final day by more than 7 or have a better points difference. Should England pick up some bonus-points along the way however, things get trickier.

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If Ireland ended up losing to Wales in Cardiff they would need bonus point wins over both France and Italy at, while claiming a losing bonus point against the Welsh.

Presuming England’s results go as above this would be the table going into the final round in that instance:

1. England 17
2. Ireland 12

This would mean Ireland could lost two games and still manage to overtake England on the last day on points difference with a try bonus win. The way we see it England could easily end up losing to Wales away from home, or even Scotland in Twickenham on current form.

The Welsh could also easily beat both Ireland and England and put themselves in contention, blowing the tournament wide open. They face a tricky trip to France on the last day. We’ve also learned not to rule out the Scots.

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Either way, it’s going to be interesting and Ireland’s faith is still in their own hands. The big game for Schmidt’s men will be Wales in Cardiff. If they can win that, then game on. The rest should hopefully fall into place.

It’s also a massive guessing game, as we really don’t know how things will pan out, especially after this weekend’s games, but who doesn’t love to speculate?