Wales vs England – Game will be won and lost in the scrum

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Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Date: February 4th, 2011
Coverage: Live on BBC1, Kick Off: 19.45pm,

There is no better match to open the 2011 Six Nations than Wales vs England and the Friday night kick off is sure to add some extra spice to the occasion.

England are the 4/7 favourites to win Friday’s encounter, but in front of a passionate Welsh crowd, punters will find more value in backing Wales at 11/8 – especially considering they are unbeaten in their last three games with England at the Millennium Stadium.

However the key area will be the scrum and with Wales losing two of the world’s best scrummagers to injury, Martin Johnson will be hoping his England side can dominate at the set piece.

Paul James and Craig Mitchell come into the Welsh front row in place of Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones, but the scrummaging power of Andrew Sheridan, Dylan Hartley and Dan Coles will prove difficult for Wales to handle.

The 25/1 for England to score a penalty try looks the pick of the Wales vs England betting.

All eyes will be on Hartley to see how he copes in what will be an intense and passionate atmosphere, and having received a yellow card against the Cardiff Blues in the Heineken Cup already this season, the 12/1 for Hartley to be yellow-carded also looks a strong bet.

The handicap is set at three points and England are 5/6 to win with a -3 point start, although other handicap lines are available and England are 6/5 with a -6 point start with Wales priced at 4/6.

A tight match should be expected and the 25/1 for no tryscorer may be worth a speculative bet, but the 5/6 on offer for under 42.5 points looks the better pick.

Tries may be few and far between, but if any one is to get one, Chris Ashton with 78 tries in 81 club appearances looks the pick and is 9/1 to score the first try.

Teams
Wales: J Hook, M Stoddard, J Davies, J Roberts, S Williams, S Jones, M Phillips; P James, M Rees (c), C Mitchell, AW Jones, B Davies, D Lydiate, S Warburton, A Powell
Replacements: R Hibbard, J Yapp, R Jones, J Thomas, D Peel, R Priestland, L Byrne

England: B Foden, C Ashton, M Tindall (c), S Hape, M Cueto, T Flood, B Youngs; A Sheridan, D Hartley, D Cole, L Deacon, T Palmer, T Wood, J Haskell, N Easter
Replacements: S Thompson, D Wilson, S Shaw, J Worsley, D Care, J Wilkinson, M Banahan

Referee: A Rollaind

A £25 stake on Wales beating England would return £59.37. New customers can sign up here for a free bet worth £25.

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Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.