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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 February, 2005, 15:36 GMT
Ask Jeremy Guscott
Jeremy Guscott
Six Nations 2005
Live on BBC Sport

BBC Sport's Six Nations pundit Jeremy Guscott answered your questions on Friday ahead of a busy weekend's rugby.

The first weekend was anything but predictable, with Wales beating England in an historic encounter at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

Scotland were unlucky to lose to France in Paris, while Italy pushed pre-tournament favourites Ireland all the way in a feisty match in Rome.

What does Jerry think of England's problems in the centre, how good can Gavin Henson become, and are Ireland still the team to beat?

Jerry answered your questions on Friday 11 February.

Qu: If you were England coach what would your back-line and tactics be?

Gary Sullivan, England

JG: I'd have everyone Robbo has chosen but replace Jamie Noon with Ollie Smith, who I think is the form outside-centre. As for tactics - similar to the way England played against South Africa.

One or two phases and if nothing is happening let Hodgson or Barkley put the pressure on the French defence with their kicking.

Qu: After a poor performance from France last weekend, has your opinion changed on a French victory in this weekend's clash against England?

Nicholas, England

JG: Aaaargh! It's so close....but I'll have to stick with my original predictions, so no, it hasn't changed. Much.

Qu: The ball Jerry, the ball! Why on earth are there two balls for this Six Nations? It beggars belief. How the hell can Italy dictate that the Mitre ball is used?

Shaun, Ireland

JG: To be fair you get this a lot in rugby. Whenever you go on tour to Australia or New Zealand you often play with a different ball - and it wasn't so long ago that the French used a different one too.

It's not too difficult for an international team to get a ball a week ahead of a game and practice with it. That's the least you'd expect from a professional outfit, and if Ireland didn't take those steps then they're not as professional as they tell us.

The Mitre ball may be used in Italian club rugby, so if they're all used to playing with it week in week out why should the players change when they're playing at home?

Qu: I'm off down the bookies later today Jerry and I need some top tips for the weekend - give me your best!

Mike, Birmingham

JG: I'm not a gambler to be honest Mike, and if I were I wouldn't be putting any money on this year's Six Nations. There are no firm favourites anymore.

I'll confidently predict a win for Wales in Rome but apart from that it's anyone's guess. Injuries have rocked Ireland's chances in Scotland while Sunday's match at Twickenham is a lottery.

My best advice is keep your money in your wallet - that way it'll still be there come Monday.

Qu: Jerry, I can't wait for this weekend's rugby action! Can anyone stop Leeds retaining their Super League title on the back of them being crowned the best team in the world last week?

Eric Stewart, England

JG: I thought some of my Rugby League friends might get in touch! I would have said Wigan but there seems to be a bit of uncertainty up there these days.

Leeds definitely look a solid bet - Danny McGuire is a superb prospect, Kevin Sinfield is a great player while the arrival of Gareth Ellis from Wakefield bodes well. I won't pretend I'm a massive Superleague expert but on paper Leeds look hard to stop.

Qu: Do you agree that the performances of Charlie Hodgson over the autumn and against Wales merely show just how much England miss Jonny Wilkinson?

Dan, England

JG: Not at all. Jonny didn't look in great form after his injury, so his arrival back at 10 for England wasn't inevitable. And I think he would struggle behind the current England pack. Jonny is a great player but he had an armchair ride behind those forwards in recent years, not something Charlie can rely on.

Perhaps his place kicking would have made a difference against Australia but to be honest rugby isn't and shouldn't just be about kicking penalties. Give Charlie a chance.

Qu: Andy Robinson has rung the changes but I'm still worried about Danny Grewcock. He's a great player but he just snaps - can we afford such a liability?

Rob Seager, England.

JG: Rob, you've always got to be careful what you say about a second-row who's a black-belt in karate - but you make a good point. Every player deserves second chance but there comes a point when you say enough is enough.

I'm sure Robbo will have had words with Danny, and if his indiscretion leads to a yellow card that costs England the game then it may well be full-time for Danny - but that time hasn't come yet.

He's a great player but you can't continually afford to overstep the mark.

Qu: Jerry, sorry - this isn't a Six Nations question but who would you like to see as Bath's new head coach when John Connolly quits?

Andrew Reynolds, England

JG: That's a difficult one. Personally I'd love to see Nick Mallet come down to the Rec and take charge. He was a great coach for South Africa and led them on a run of 18 games unbeaten.

I don't think the powers that be will pay the money for that quality of coach, so we'll have to wait and see. But what I'd like is for the new coach to display some ambition and move the team away from their current mould of restricted phase play.

Qu: Gavin Henson - British Lion?

Huw, Cwmbran

JG: If he continues to play as he has done then there's no argument. At the moment my Lions centres would be Henson and O'Driscoll. They're both on fire.

Qu: Why isn't Mike Catt in the team? We're so obsessed with building for the 2007 World Cup that we've forgotten to select out best players here and now.

Stephen Bishop, England

JG: I'm sure Mike would love to play for England again but when you think about the quality of the youngsters coming up then you have to look to the future. Ollie Smith, Olly Barkley, and when fit Mike Tindall and Will Greenwood are all younger and probably better picks.

Catty is an amazing player, but sooner or later every England coach has to look ahead.

Qu: You've worked with Andy Robinson and Clive Woodward, what are the main differences in their coaching style?

Dom, Bath

JG: The crucial difference is that Clive doesn't coach - he manages. Andy is a coach first and foremost. He'll have his tracksuit on out there directing operations. But as characters they're similar in the sense that they don't bottle anything up - what you see if what you get.


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