England vs Wales : Redemption on the Horizon

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TournamentSix Nations
TimetableSaturday 26th of February at 16:45 GMT
PredictionEngland to Win
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Week three of the 2022 Guinness Six Nations may be the week of redemption for England or Wales. After defeats to Scotland and Ireland respectively in the first round, the 26th of February looks set to bring us the fiercest clash of this competition. Will Twickenham light up white for England in Six-Nations salvation or will Wales have too much to say on foreign soil to leave the English in a similar position to last year's competition?

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Background on England vs Wales

England vs Wales may not be the oldest competition in rugby, but the first test can still be seen to be somewhat of an ancient affair for modern sports, dating back to 1881. In that time, a total of 137 matches have been played, with England having won 65 of these and Wales having come up trumps 60 times. There were also 12 times where the scoreboard could not divide the teams.

The rivalry between the two teams is fierce, and the fact that the numbers reflect very little difference between the two sides is one factor in what makes the occasion not only popular in these two Home Nations, but around the globe.

First Weeks' Results

As mentioned earlier, this could be the week of redemption for either England or Wales, given results from the first round. Both teams are trailing behind dominant France, who have two wins in the bag, and have results as follows:

England Results

MatchScoreWinner
Scotland vs England20-17Scotland
Italy vs England0-33England

Wales Results

MatchScoreWinner
Ireland vs Wales29-7Ireland
Wales vs Scotland20-17Wales

Analysis of Results

One win apiece pretty much points out what a close game this is going to be. Will England be licking their wounds after a surprising defeat to Scotland? Will Wales feel humiliated after such after feeling such a crushing blow from Ireland? It's clear that both sides need to step up; so which team will do the business? Let's take a look if there are any other clues as to the winner and see if the England vs Wales odds are correct.

Performance in the 2021 Six Nations

Ask the English whom will win? England. Ask the Welsh whom will win? Wales. That never changes, year to year. What does change, however, is the result, and the Welsh dragon was certainly on fire last year when they roasted England 40-24. They were also considered underdogs in the competition, but went on to win the title, so England fans best be cautious about throwing out bold claims that this will be another walk-over, so seems to be the popular conception in the press.

Based on last year's performance, one may be swayed to think this will be another win for Wales.

World Rankings

Looking at the perceived qualities of the two sides may give us an insight into whom World Rugby thinks will take the W on Saturday. Below is a table of current standings:

World RankingCountry
1South Africa
2New Zealand
3England
4France
5Ireland
6Australia
7Scotland
8Wales
9Argentina
10Japan

According to the world rankings, this should, statistically speaking, be a win for England (third) over eighth-place Wales. England find themselves deserving of this ranking, after a highly successful Autumn Internationals campaign, but is a win based on distinctly different other matches a fair representation of the outcome of this match? Perhaps it may be more important to consider the human factors.

The Human Factors

The incredible thing about any sport, whether it's rugby, football, or anything else, is how unpredictable results can be - or at least appear to be. Let's analyse some of the human factors that often go overlooked when considering predictions.

The 16th Man: The Effect of the Home Crowd at Twickenham

Playing at the world's largest rugby union stadium is going to be a big feather in England's cap, come Saturday. With the potential for 82,000 fans of mostly English support, the Sweet Chariot will be rolling in highest gear. With this being England's first home game of the series, I expect to see more than just a little bit of a fiery welcome for travelling Wales rugby fans. I could see this going England's way on atmosphere alone.

The Styles of the Head Coaches

I've coached a lot of rugby coaches, over the years, on different aspects of how they interact with players. In fact, managerial style and how external forces can affect players' performance on the pitch was one of my biggest talking points when I was humbled to meet rugby legend Graham Henry at a Best Coaches Day in Auckland. On that day, he revealed to me that he started off his career trying to coach to earn individual success, but that his teams' performances spiked when he stopped coaching selfishly and started coaching for the people on the pitch. I think a lot can be said of that mentality. Can such wisdom be seen in the coaching styles of the Head Coaches for England and Wales? Let's take a look.

Eddie Jones

Does he love his players or is he leading England rugby for himself? There has been a lot of newspaper talk over Eddie dropping players and even other coaches when he has asked questions of them and not liked the answer. That's not to say that you can believe everything you read in the press by any stretch of the imagination, but what about the old saying no smoke without fire - especially when there's a heap of smoke pouring out? It's a difficult one to understand fully the truth of the matter.

On a positive note for Eddie, after dismal performances in the 2021 Six Nations Championship, a thorough review of his performance was conducted, which included players on the panel. Eddie kept his job through that review, so that's some thumbs up from the English set-up. Perhaps the RFU are seeing something that some others can't at the moment, and that Eddie may have a few tricks up his sleeve to clinch the win.

Wayne Pivac

The same question to Mr Pivac: does he love his players or is he leading Wales rugby for himself? Wayne's coaching career at Wales didn't get off to the flying start I am sure he was hoping for, but the Welsh have faithfully stood by him, time and time again. Their faith, too, has been rewarded: from beating England last year to winning last year's competition overall. Wales have had several notable victories that have kept them at the peak of world rugby, so from what one can infer, at their own risk, from the rumour mill, the Welsh are pretty happy with their Head Coach.

My England vs Wales Prediction Winner

England always have a tendency to make a mountain out of a mole hill when it comes to playing Wales, never seeming to finish the job in a decisive or convincing manner when perhaps the scoreboard suggests otherwise. Wales are going to bring a lot to trying to crack the English defence, and it will be a hard game to defend if Wales can deliver on their attacking promise.

On paper, with the home advantage, state of world rankings, history of the sides, and more, this should be an England win all day long, but it's really up to Eddie Jones to get England playing the game they are meant to play. I am predicting an England win, but woe betide anybody that expects Wales to give this game up on a platter.

Steven Brown - Rugby Coach and Writer

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This prediction was written by Steven Brown.

Steven grew up in the football-mad town of Cannock, Staffordshire, in the UK, but he was introduced to rugby at the age of 11. He was a keen player in his youth, and went on to set up a successful sports agency, working with rugby stars such as Leicester legend and England captain, Martin Corry.

Steven’s great love for the game has also led him to exemplary coaching success, having coached men’s and youth teams in the UK, Luxembourg, New Zealand and Malta. Two of his personal highlights from his time coaching came in the form of having six All Blacks lead a one-and-a-half-hour coaching and QA session for an U14s team he had helped to set up and a Best Coaches conference where he had the privilege of talking rugby with a coaching idol of his, Graham Henry. Steven is now pursuing his love of coaching once more, back in the UK.

You can follow Steven Brown on his Linkedin.

England to Win