The Six Nations may have started with France v Wales, but there’s no doubting what the weekend’s biggest game is. That honour goes to Saturday’s clash between Ireland and England.
Joe Schmidt’s side breezed to the 2018 title, winning all five games to land a famed Grand Slam – and on St Patrick’s Day too! By contrast, it was a miserable tournament for the English, who slumped to a fifth-place finish. That marked the Red Rose’s worst result since the tournament expanded to six nations in 2000.
Ahead of this clash at the AVIVA Stadium – live from 4:45pm on ITV – we’re previewing the action and passing you the prices…
Ireland are looking for a third successive win over Eddie Jones’ side. The most recent clash took place at Twickenham last March, where Irish eyes were smiling after a 24-15 victory.
Having won 11 of their 12 games last year, it’s hard to see past more joy for Ireland. Especially so with England having lost four of the last five on foreign soil.
The odds make Ireland firm favourites for victory at 2/7. Meanwhile, England are 3/1 for victory, and an unlikely Tie is up for grabs at 18/1.
Ireland’s vice-captain Johnny Sexton has done it all. Named World Rugby Player of the Year in 2018, the 33-year-old shows no sign of slowing down.
An ice-cool kicker and hugely skilled fly-half, he’s caused England no shortage of misery over the years. In the last three Six Nations meetings with England, he’s managed a 100% record from four conversions and three penalties.
At the other end of the age scale, the man catchily named ‘Stockie Jockie’ could play a huge part for the Irish. Jacob Stockdale broke the record for most tries in Six Nations history, racking up seven en route to Ireland’s first title in three years.
England have the Premiership’s joint-top scorer in their ranks in Jonny May. He’s on nine for the season, and scored in every game of England’s up-and-down tour of South Africa in Summer 2018.
They also have one of the sport’s finest players in Owen Farrell. The 27-year-old is equally comfortable as inside-centre and fly-half. Now Saracens’ all-time top points scorer, he’s likely to be a handful as usual.
Points and try scorers
It’s no surprise to see Stockdale the favourite at Evens to score a Try Anytime. Meanwhile, he’s 6/1 to be the first man over the line in Dublin.
As for visitors’ hotshot May, we go 11/5 he bags a Try in what could be a high-scoring clash.
The odds have Over 38.5 Match Points at 10/11, while it’s a shade longer at 6/5 for Ireland to Score Over 2.5 Tries.
Schmidt’s side should be too strong over the piece. They’re 4/1 for a winning margin of 6-10 points.
Click here for the latest Ireland v England odds.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing