Former All Blacks centre Sonny Bill Williams has made three bold predictions for the final round of the 2023 Guinness Six Nations.
Williams – who retired from all footy in 2020 – believes that England will beat Ireland by six points in Dublin, while also predicting away wins for Wales and Italy against France and Scotland, respectively.
Williams, who has taken to predicting Guinness Six Nations results on Twitter in recent weeks, appears confident that a struggling England will come out on top against Ireland and spoil Andy Farrell’s Grand Slam party.
His St Patrick’s Day weekend-ruining prediction comes despite Steve Borthwick’s side shipping a record defeat home defeat against France last weekend.
Maybe more shocking is the prediction that Warren Gatland’s Wales will beat France in Paris. Wales, who sit in 5th on the table, face a France side that looked untouchable in Twickenham just seven days ago. The former Roosters star predicts Wales will win by four points.
Given Scotland’s form in the tournament to date, a win on the road for Italy also seems like a big call, even if Kieran Crowley’s side have improved massively in terms of on-field performance. Sonny Bill predicts Italy will win by five in Murrayfield.
Interestingly, neither Ireland nor France can improve their rating even if they win, because of the substantial points difference between themselves and their opponents, England and Wales. Home advantage is also a factor.
If both teams win, Ireland will remain in first place and France in second. Even a draw for Ireland would still keep them in top spot as they would only lose one rating point, which is still better than their nearest rival.
If Ireland loses and France wins, France will take over the top spot. However, if Ireland loses and France draws, France will still become number one if Ireland’s defeat is by more than 15 points.
In the event that both Ireland and France lose, with Ireland losing by more than 15 points, New Zealand will become the new top team in the world. South Africa will also move up two places to second.
It’s also possible for both Ireland and France to fall to fourth place in the rankings.
Similarly, Scotland cannot improve their rating this weekend, even if they win by a large margin, because they are playing at home against Italy, who are nine places and 8.14 points below them in the rankings.