Sexton recovery will bolster Ireland’s Six Nations chances

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Ireland fly-half Jonathan Sexton will return to action against Italy at the weekend, in a match his side are priced 1/14 to win.

Following a narrow defeat at home to tournament favourites Wales, Ireland will relish the chance of facing tournament minnows Italy at the Aviva Stadium, and they shouldn’t have too much trouble overcoming a side that has lost its opening two games, and are priced 7/1 to end that run with a win here.

Having had their away fixture to France postponed recently, the Irish have had an extra week to mull over their last-gasp loss to Wales, and are now raring to go to put that match behind them.

Sexton said: “We came in for a one-day camp last week and the lads are excited about getting back playing now. We’ve had a bit of a break since the Wales game and to have that hanging over you for an extra week is not the nicest feeling.”

Sexton’s return at fly-half will bring with it a pedigree in penalty-taking that would make Ireland look a good bet in handicap markets for the match against Italy.

He has successfully converted an impressive 14 penalties in 55 Six Nations appearances, and after overcoming an indifferent World Cup in terms of kicking, he could make the 10/11 for Ireland to win giving up a 15-point head-start a value bet.

The Italians meanwhile, will be missing flanker Paul Derbyshire for the Ireland clash, and Martin Castrogiovanni for the rest of the tournament, as they look to avoid receiving a fifth consecutive Wooden Spoon, which they are priced at 8/13 to get.

This particular bet should see interest from punters, considering Italy’s recent history in the tournament, while many will also be tempted by the 5/4 odds for Ireland to win giving up a generous 18 points to their visitors.

Italy lost by 18 points on their one previous away trip in the Six Nations this year.

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