Six Nations Preview: Big weekends for Ireland, England, and Scotland
The 2018 Six Nations kicked off in explosive fashion with shocks, nail-biting finishes, and big scores.
This weekend’s second round of fixtures will be no different with another three huge games to look forward to.
Ireland and Italy kick us off in Dublin, followed by England v Wales at Twickenham. Then, on Sunday, Scotland host France at Murrayfield.
The Ladbrokes News crew set the scenes on the three games and preview the action.
Ireland v Italy – Saturday, 2:15pm
Jonny Sexton’s injury-time 42m drop goal to beat France was as dramatic a win as they come.
Ireland remain on course for a Grand Slam duel with England, and Italy should hold no fear in Dublin.
Joe Schmidt is likely to freshen up his side a little with a handful of changes to the backline and pack.
Italy have beaten Ireland on four occasions, but only once in Dublin back in 1997. The Handicap points mark is set at +-35.
In nine Six Nations games between the pair at home, Ireland would have only broken that three times – most recently in 2014 and 2015.
Both of those wins came under Schmidt. The New Zealander tends to coax big wins out of his side against the Azzurri.
Recommendation: Ireland to win -35 @ 10/11
England v Wales – Saturday, 16:45
Eddie Jones and England got off to the perfect start last weekend with a big win over Italy in Rome.
Attentions turn to Wales this weekend with Warren Gatland’s side arriving off the back of their own significant win over Scotland.
The Welsh were underdogs on their own turf. And, despite being massively depleted just to injury, beat the favoured Scots 34-7.
England are 10/11 to beat their opponents on the -12 Handicap. And on the face of it, that looks a great bet.
However, a closer look at recent games suggests this one could be tight. Under Jones, England have beaten the Welsh in each of their three clashes, but failed to beat that handicap in Six Nations games.
The English have yet to lose at Twickenham under Jones, though. And can the Welsh continue to defy their injury crisis?
England have already gotten up a head of steam against the Italians and could go from strength-to-strength. Especially on home soil in front of a rapturous Twickenham crowd.
Recommendation: England to win -12 @ 10/11
Scotland v France
Last weekend certainly didn’t go to plan for Scotland. Gregor Townsend’s side will still be licking their wounds as they welcome France to Murrayfield.
Les Bleus will likely still be reeling from their own heartbreak after that last-gasp Sexton drop-goal.
This is a clash between two wounded beasts. The question is, who will react the best?
France are notoriously difficult to predict. However, the Scots have their own inconsistency issues under Townsend.
From beating Australia to losing to Fiji. Within an inch of defeating New Zealand, to losing heavily against the Welsh.
Going on the French performance against a strong Ireland side, and the Scots’ disaster in Cardiff, the value is probably with Jacques Brunel’s team.
Recommendation: France to win +5 @ 10/11, France to win @ 7/4
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing