Round 4: No gloating I promise ….

David Erwin is head of capital markets at Cushman & Wakefield and a passionate follower of Irish rugby

All agents know how to play spoof and being good spoof players, they know that gloating is forbidden. So, no post-Twickenham gloating from your Irish correspondent, only real satisfaction from a professional job well executed and a memorable day out for Family Erwin with my folks returning to Ballymena as happy old Hectors.

Truth was we took our chances like a smart team – it is very unusual nowadays to win a game when you don’t have the ball. With hindsight, Sexton was good, O’Gara too when he came on, our back row is genuinely world class and our two wings, Earls and Bowe, look like sharp tacks compared to their English counterparts’ rather blunt knives. Told you there would be no gloating…

It all remains terribly predictable from the men in white and I am now worried for their supporters that Martin Johnson’s renowned obduracy might backfire – there is a fine line between loyalty and blind faith and I think some changes are needed behind the scrum in addition to the tinkering in the pack. Sorry to sound like a broken record but JW is a shadow of his former self and if any other out halfs had kicked off as badly as he did at Twickenham against us they would have been pilloried. As an aside, it is fascinating to watch how important the initial play of the match is in setting the tone for what comes next. A dropped ball or a poor kick off very often plague the offending teams way beyond the initial error – just something that I have noticed over the years.

Anyway, having nearly bagged my three away wins on the last round of games (what were you doing to me Scotland) here is what I think will happen this time round:

I have a horrible feeling that my mate Jonesy might be the happier of us come teatime on Saturday and there is a flashing red light in my subconscious about this one. I think it will be a cracker with both teams effectively seeking to bypass their front 5s and giving the ball a real spin. Good weather should ensure points and I can see this one being a bit like a Ali – Frazier slug with both sides coming back for more. Wales have nothing to lose and I have just got a feeling that we aren’t 4/11 shots to win the Triple Crown. So against what I want to see happen, I take Wales by a score.

Before I look to Murrayfield, I think Paris on Sunday is a given. You really have to believe in something to make it happen and I can’t see Italy going to the Stade de France in a positive mindset so it is just a question of how many. The motivation for France will be that a decent win secures them the title by dint of points differential irrespective of the England result and I think they will win by more than 20.

Up at Auld Reekie, I think it could be a reasonably turgid affair with two out of form teams having their own private arm wrestling match – interesting to both players but not a great spectacle to the rest of the world. As it happens, I picked up some old Calcutta Cup highlights on ESPN last night (very bad channel for marriages by the way) showing England’s win in 2003 and was fascinated to see that firstly some of the players are still in the current team but it served more as a reminder of how good that pre-World Cup team were and especially how positively they played the game – just what they need to do now. I do see England coming through by 10 and the message can then be sent from Twickenham to the Scottish coach confirming “come home agent Robinson, your work is done”.

An England win would then set up Le Crunch and that will be something to look forward to.

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