A month out from the Super Rugby finals, I reckon it’s time we start seeing some cream rise to the top as expected. Enough of this anyone-can-beat-anyone business!
The 2019 Six Nations will come down to a final week of matches, with three teams still in the hunt to take out the overall honours.
After England, Wales and Ireland all picked up wins last week to continue their dominance of the competition, there is now the chance for all three teams to win the competition, with France, Italy and Scotland all out of the running.
As it stands, here is the ladder heading into the final week.
As a reminder, there are two bonus points on the line in each game. One is for scoring four or more tries, and the other for losing by less than seven points.
And here are the fixtures for the final week.
Saturday, 11:30pm: Italy vs France
Sunday, 1:45am: Wales vs Ireland
Sunday, 4am: England vs Scotland
Times are AEDT
As you can see, it’s incredibly close. Here is how it could play out with results across the final two games being the ones which will count.
If Wales win
The rest won’t matter if Wales win. The Six Nations have a feature called the ‘grand slam bonus point,’ which is given for beating all of the other five sides, meaning, they would jump to 21 points.
That gives them an unassailable lead over England, who at most can get five points in their clash with Scotland (four for the win and one for a tries bonus point).
If Ireland win
Here is where it gets interesting. If Ireland were to win, they would jump to a minimum of 18 points, and potentially 19 if they were to get a bonus point.
They will be gunning for the bonus point as well, because if they were to only win, but Wales get the two losing bonus points, the scores would be tied on 18 points, at which point it would go on for and against.
Even that could fail to split the sides. A six-point win for Ireland would leave them tied with Wales on for and against, leaving it to a total tries scored countback, which currently sits at Ireland 13, Wales 9.
Essentially, Ireland will want to win by more than seven points to eliminate that issue, going to 19 and leaving Wales on an absolute maximum of 17.
But what about England?
By the time England run out at Twickenham against Scotland, they will know exactly whether they have a chance at winning the Six Nations.
If Ireland manage to win, then all they have to do is take victory. They have a far superior for and against of 83, and so even if Ireland jump to 19 points with a bonus point, a win takes England to 19, and the tournament victory.
Of course, if Wales win, this match will turn into a dead rubber.