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17 April 2024

Fired-up Dragons on form

Ryan Jones should lead his Wales team to victory against England today, according to Jason Robinson. (GETTY IMAGES)

By Ahmad Lala

When even a former England stalwart like Jason Robinson grudgingly admits that he doesn't fancy his country's chances against Wales in the Six Nations, it's pretty easy to pick who the clear favourites are for today's Cardiff clash.

England travel to the Millennium Stadium on the back of a somewhat fortuitous 36-11 victory against Italy last week. The visitors coach, Nick Mallet, played flanker Mauro Bergamasco out of position at scrum-half, and his wayward passing gifted the 2007 World Cup finalists 21 points.

Wales needed no helping hand to beat Scotland 26-13 though. Picking up from where they left off last year, the defending Champions played clinically to maintain hopes of becoming the first Dragons side to retain the title in 100 years.

"It's going to be very tough because England are not playing as well as we like to be playing," said Robinson, who was also part of a written-off team at the past World Cup, where the Red and Whites surprised everybody by finishing runners-up.

"Wales on the other hand are on form. They are playing well, are very confident and unless England produce a miracle performance, they are certainly the favourites.

"But, hopefully we can turn it around [tonight]."

Scotland will travel to Paris to face an inconsistent France team today. With both sides suffering defeats last week, they will want to ensure they can get their campaigns back on track as soon as possible at the Stade de France.

"France have got a team that has great players, who we know can play very well with a flamboyant, open game, but you never know what you are going to get with them," said the 2003 World Cup-winning fullback. "One week they can be very good and the next very poor. But they should beat Scotland at home."

Meanwhile, Ireland, who like Wales also started confidently last week by beating France 30-21, face Italy in Rome tomorrow. The visitors look like strong contenders for the Six Nations title.

"If I was looking to put the teams in place for this Six Nations, I would say of all the countries that can challenge Wales the closest would be Ireland," said the 34-year old.

"They have a very strong pack with guys playing for Munster and Leicester, who are doing very well. They also have some great backs with Brian O'Driscoll and Gordon D'Arcy just coming back from injury.

"They are one of the teams that can win, but I think it's going to come down to the last game."