Wales have a tricky set of fixtures this year, and there will be likely be little between great success, and miserable failure. Momentum is crucial in the Six Nations and, with the World Cup on the horizon, how far can the Welsh continue their current unbeaten streak?
For Wales this years Six Nations could be decided by the smallest of margins. The Algorithm has Wales to win three of their games by a combined total of five points and to lose one by two. It really will be a tournament of fine margins for the Welsh. Do you kick for the corner (ahem …) or go for the posts? For Wales this year, this could be the difference between being a Championship contender or an just an also-ran.
Wales will be high on confidence after an unbeaten Summer and Autumn, currently on a nine match unbeaten streak. They will kick off the tournament in Paris and, with the strongest record of any visiting side in the Six Nations, will feel confident that they can pull off a win. This does not mean it will a walk in the Parc (de Princes – wrong stadium I know – but hey!) but they will certainly feel in with a shout. The Algorithm agrees, and has the game to go to the Welsh by just three points.
Ireland and England will likely garner the most attention for the Wales fans, but Scotland should not be overlooked. They will be looking to avenge last years savage defeat and, at home, will take advantage of any Welsh complacency. Both Scottish club teams have made it to the Champions Cup knockout stages for the first time ever. No Welsh sides have made it this year. Scotland will certainly coming into the international window with good confidence. It is predicted to be a tight game, but The Algorithm has Wales to scrape over the line by a single point.
Wales take on England at home and, despite a higher world ranking and a long unbeaten stretch, this will be a psychologically and physically bruising contest. Wales last beat England on home turf in 2013. Since then they have suffered consecutive 16 – 21 defeats, both of which are sure to have left their scars.
England could provide one of the encounters of the tournament in this, likely Championship defining, match for both sides. The Algorithm gives it to Wales – just – for their consistency over the last 12 months.
Ireland are rightly considered favourites to repeat their recent 6 Nations successes given their recent run of form. The Algorithm currently has them going where none have gone before, winning back-to-back Grand Slams. However, The Algorithm also predicts Wales to be four from four going into their final game as well. If this turns out to be the case, the final match will become a Grand Slam decider, set in the cauldron of the Millennium Stadium. The Irish would certainly still be favourites – The Algorithm has them winning by 2 – but it would be wrong to overlook the dangers Gatland’s team could pose.
In the last four Six Nations games between the two in Cardiff, Wales have come away the victors three times. Wales fans can therefore be more than a little hopeful that Gatland’s pre tournament predictions about Welsh glory might be proved correct.