It would be immodest to mention that I got it pretty well spot on in the second series of games. They were, I suppose, fairly predictable. England were lucky to beat Wales - but this is a poor Welsh team and England just grind out the results pragmatically. This week we can leave England and Italy to one side - England will win and get a bonus point. Ireland should also beat France - although if conditions turn nasty it could become a place kicking contest and I trust Sexton less in this regard than Jackson. Otherwise I think we are too organised for them and it would be a major shock if we lose. The Wales Scotland match is the most interesting. I fancy Scotland to win but Laidlaw is a massive loss. Apart from his decision making and sharpness around the field, his unfailing accuracy with penalties could be sorely missed. As a result it may be closer than it would have been.
Ireland could win all their remaining matches and still lose the championship unless they pick up a bonus point today or against Wales, or England. Today is their best chance. If we do so we can end up on 19 points. England will get a bonus point today and very likely one at home against Scotland. This would give them 18 points and if they hold Ireland to a small margin and thus get a bonus point they will also end up on 19 points. Then it comes down to points difference so Englands score against Italy today could be crucial. We'll worry about all this if we beat Wales next week.