Can Wales win the Six Nations?

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Can Wales win the Six Nations?

With three teams still in the running for the Six Nations title, the tournament will once again be decided on the last day. England are currently slight favourites, but both Ireland and Wales will fancy their chances to put points on the board against the two lowest ranked sides in the competition, Scotland and Italy respectively. We take a look at Wales’ chances of winning the 2015 tournament on Saturday.

Team spirit

Many supporters, journalists and commentators ruled Wales out after they lost on the opening night against England at the Millennium Stadium. After building up a commanding first-half lead, they failed to register a single point in the second 40 minutes and lost to a depleted England side. However, Warren Gatland’s side have shown immense team spirit in their last three matches, with away victories over Scotland and France and a victory over Ireland in their last game.

Injuries haven’t hindered them… yet

Despite suffering a number of injuries, including George North’s controversial concussion after the England match, Wales have defied the odds and now stand an outside shot of taking the title. They face Italy on Saturday in the first of three matches, and will be looking for a hefty victory to pile the pressure on Ireland and England. However, fresh injuries to Samson Lee and Gethin Jenkins will afford their advantage in the scrum and they will have to find a way to deal with that.

Past history suggests Saturday’s encounter could be close

Wales have won their last seven matches against Italy, but only one of these victories – a 47-8 thrashing at the Millennium Stadium in 2008 – has been a comprehensive win. In addition, their last three matches in Italy have been won by 17, eight and five points; all of these margins are likely to be too low on Saturday.

Can they defy the odds?

As the table stands, Wales have a point differential of +12, compared to Ireland’s +33 and England’s +37. Realistically, this means that they will have to beat Italy by at least 30 points in order to stand a genuine chance of winning their third Six Nations title in four years. It is not an impossible task by any stretch of the imagination, as the Italians have conceded an average of 30 points a game so far, however, the bookmakers suggest this may be a stretch too far for Gatland’s side although they will certainly be in a buoyant mood heading into the World Cup later in the year.

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