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Ireland in hunt to give O’Driscoll perfect retirement present

| 10.03.2014

You’ll be hard pushed to find a three horse race at Cheltenham this week but that is what it has come down to in the race to win this year’s Six Nations Championship ahead of the final weekend of action.

England’s superb 29-18 win over reigning champions Wales ended Warren Gatland’s side’s chances of a third straight title and in the process kept alive the English dream of a first championship win since 2011.

Stuart Lancaster’s men, who will face Italy in Rome in the final round of fixtures, are on at evens with Ladbrokes to lift the trophy but they will have to keep a close eye on events in Paris.

Ireland gave Brian O’Driscoll the perfect send-off after he played his final Test match on Irish soil for the men in green by running in seven tries against Italy at the Aviva Stadium.

The 46-7 victory gave Ireland, who are 5/6 favourites for the title, a points difference of 81 and any sort of win at the Stade de France will see them lift the Six Nations Championship, unless England run in a monumental cricket score against the Italians.

Josef Schmidt’s side have not won in Paris since 2000 but with O’Driscoll looking to go out in the perfect style, Ireland will be confident of a first win on French soil in 14 years and their first win over France since 2009.

The visitors are 5/6 for victory in France, while Phillipe Saint-Andre’s side are priced at evens to keep their Six Nations title hopes alive. The draw – a result which England will be hoping for – is on at 16/1 and has occurred in the last two meetings between the two sides.

France, who are 33/1 with the bookmaker, also still have a chance of glory provided they beat Ireland and England slip up at the Stadio Olimpico.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Oliver Yew