England vs Wales: Bet on England to win but not convincingly
Martin Johnson’s selection for Saturdays World Cup warm-up with Wales has made this a very interesting tie.
While there are a number of England’s first 15 in the squad, with the likes of Ben Foden, Chris Ashton, Toby Flood, Ben Youngs, Dan Coles and Tom Wood missing out, this is very much an experimental team from England.
With it being Jonny Wilkinson’s final game at Twickenham you sense that Martin Johnson’s decision to pick him at 10 is based on sentiment – something that may backfire with the World Cup just three games away and Johnson not knowing what his best team is.
England are 1/4 to win and Wales can boast just one victory at Twickenham in their last 12 attempts, but there are a number of key match-ups in Saturday’s game and England may not have the better of them all.
The front row battle should go England’s way with Wales losing captain Matthew Rees along with Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones, but it looks as if Wales have the edge in the second row and the lineout will be crucial.
The battle between Mike Philips and Danny Care will be intense but it’s at number 10 where the game could be won and lost with Jonny Wilkinson taking on Stephen Jones.
Both have two very exciting centre partnerships outside them and both sets of fans will be imploring the two outside halves to throw the ball.
However tactical kicking will play a big part in this and that is why Wales, with a +10 point handicap, look the best bet at 10/11.
Manu Tuilagi’s tussle with Jamie Roberts will be a big test for the England centre on his debut and we’ll find out if the Samoan-born centre is ready for international rugby.
With all these key battles on the pitch the majority of the points will come from the boot with tries few and far between and the 6/4 for under 41 points in the match looks a solid bet.