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Six Nations: The marginal betting call for Ireland v England

| 28.02.2015

In northern hemisphere rugby, it doesn’t get much bigger than Ireland v England in the Six Nations at the moment, especially as this year’s Aviva Stadium clash is likely to decide who will go into autumn’s World Cup with palpable momentum.

Stuart Lancaster’s side have always been the bookies favourite for the championship and remain so at 8/11, although the hosts head the market in Dublin at 4/5 after winning nine Tests on the spin since going down 13-10 at Twickenham last March.

It’s that tight, and even the loss of last year’s player of the tournament Mike Brown at full-back won’t dampen the mood in the England camp, who have comprehensively shown their awesome strength in depth this season.

Ahead of their 21-16 win over Wales in Cardiff, a scoreline that flattered the hosts, Lancaster was shorn of influential stars Courtney Lawes, Ben Morgan, Tom Wood and Manu Tuilagi, among others, but replacements such as Man of the Match James Haskell still had far too much for Warren Gatland’s side.

Their recent record against Ireland is excellent too, with a couple of wins on the spin including last time in Dublin two years ago, when dreadful conditions saw Lancaster’s men grind out a 12-6 triumph in an error-strewn clash.

However, England hadn’t won over the water for a decade prior to then, and after Joe Schmidt’s side second victory in a row against France last time out, albeit by a nervy 18-11 scoreline in front of the faithful, Ireland clearly mean business.

Number eight Jamie Heaslip is out with a fractured back bone after the defeat of Les Bleus, but brutal flankers Sean O’Brien and Peter O’Mahony, plus captain Paul O’Connell, all make it into the pack. The trio’s physicality could be the difference.

With seemingly so little between these sides, getting on both the handicap draw (Ireland -1) and the outright draw at 16/1 apiece is the advised split-stake strategy.

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

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Alex Fortune