Who would have thought it?
It’s been another amazing tournament and my pre-tournament tip of France to win the championship is not looking such a great bet! I don’t think I was alone in thinking France started as favourites and no-one would have believed they would now be lying bottom with three straight losses. That’s the 6 Nations for you!
The emergence of Scotland, culminating in their resilient victory over Ireland, has been another surprise but England have rightly grabbed most of the headlines. They made such an outstanding start against Scotland and have backed that up with the professional jobs they have done in grinding out wins against Ireland and France.
I expect England to beat Italy this week and then all eyes will be on Cardiff and whether Wales can spoil the Grand Slam party the following weekend. But first up for Wales, it’s Scotland this Saturday...
Scotland v Wales, Saturday 9th March, 2.30pm
Even before their magnificent win against Ireland, I saw this Scotland game as a potential banana skin for Wales. It’s so tough to win at Murrayfield and Edinburgh will be bouncing on Saturday. They’ve got a great back row in Harley, Brown and Beattie so that will be a big battle.
The question mark for Scotland has always been the 9-10-12 axis and, in this 6 Nations, they’re just about doing enough but I think Wales will have a bit too much class for them behind the scrum. I expect Wales to sneak it but it will be close.
Scotland Danger Man: Kelly Brown (flanker). Goes under the radar and just does a lot of hard graft. Defensively, he’s been outstanding and an inspiration to his team-mates.
Wales v England, Saturday 16th March, 5.00pm
(Coach travel available to the Millennium Stadium from Celtic Manor)
The big one! We would take as much pleasure in beating the English and stopping their Grand Slam as maybe we would winning it ourselves. I think England will beat Italy by enough points to more or less secure the championship so it’s all about the trying to spoil the Grand Slam party for Wales.
England have been very impressive, really professional and they’ve been well organised defensively. They should be full of confidence but they’re also a young side and it will be interesting to see how they perform with the pressure really on in Cardiff. Wales have been fortunate in that all three of our recent Grand Slam deciders have come at home. England do not have that luxury and it does make a massive difference.
Injuries picked up this week might come into the equation but, if they go in fully fit, I think England will win by a score and seal their Grand Slam.
England Danger Man: Manu Tuilagi (centre). He brings that little bit of X Factor that could prove the difference in a tight game. Sometimes he’s unstoppable with ball in hand.
Martyn Williams is a two-time Grand Slam winner with Wales and
an analyst for BBC Sport's TV coverage of the RBS 6 Nations.
He is also an ambassador for the Celtic Manor Resort