It was hard to narrow the weekend’s big sporting stories down to five. A Six Nations shock was joined by the Super Bowl and a shift in the Premier League top-four race.
But here were the biggest events of an unpredictable, dramatic weekend – kicking off with English delight in Dublin.
Slade secures it in Six Nations cracker
Ahead of their Six Nations opener at Aviva Stadium, visitors England were real outsiders at 3/1 to see off hosts and holders Ireland. But a stunning performance from Henry Slade was the difference between the sides.
With England narrowly ahead, the lightning-quick Slade chased down a Jonny May kick to secure his first Try in dramatic fashion on 65 minutes.
And he killed off the game with a second 10 minutes later, swiftly intercepting a poor Irish pass to get over the line once again. Ireland scored through John Cooney in the last minute, but by then it was too late.
As for England, they’re now 4/6 favourites to win the Six Nations.
It’s a Real good weekend…for half of Madrid
Real Madrid’s struggles this season have been well-publicised, but they’re gradually turning things around under head coach Santiago Solari. Sunday’s 3-0 defeat of Alaves meant four straight La Liga wins for the first time since March 2018.
Teen prodigy Vinicius Junior netted his first league goal since November, in the sort of routine win Los Blancos have excelled at in recent years.
And the news got even better for Real fans, with city rivals Atletico Madrid slumping to a surprise loss at Real Betis. That leaves Solari’s men two points off second-placed Atleti, and eight points off top spot.
You can get a chunky 9/1 on resurgent Real Madrid winning La Liga this season.
Pats get it done in nervy Super Bowl
Despite the involvement of a Tom Brady-led New England Patriots and the free-scoring Los Angeles Rams, there wasn’t much super about last night’s Super Bowl.
Unless you’re a Pats fan, of course.
The score after three intensely nervy quarters was 3-3, with Greg Zuerlein’s impressive 53-yard field goal for the Rams the only eye-catching piece of offensive action.
However, a rushing Touchdown from Sony Michel with seven minutes remaining was followed by a second Stephen Gostkowski field goal, to secure a 13-3 win. As for the Rams, they became the first side in a Super Bowl not to score a TD since 1984.
Ole’s United crack Prem top five
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may still be caretaker boss at Manchester United, but the Baby-faced Assassin is improving his chances of a permanent gig every week.
Sunday’s 1-0 win at Leicester City saw the Red Devils ride their luck a bit, but lifted Solskjaer’s side up to fifth in the Premier League. Marcus Rashford was the hero of the hour, netting a 26th league goal in his 100th Prem appearance.
United replace an Arsenal side whose 3-1 loss at Manchester City means they’ve taken just two points from seven away games. Ole’s aces are now just 7/5 for a top-four spot this season.
Bellshill leaps to Leopardstown glory
It was almost literally a two-horse race in the Irish Gold Cup, with six of the 10 competitors withdrawing due to tricky conditions.
However, that shouldn’t take away from a stunning performance from Willie Mullins’ Bellshill, who had the ever-impressive Ruby Walsh in the saddle.
The nine-year-old trailed Road To Respect for much of the race, but found an extra gear in the home straits to edge it on the line. That’s seen odds of Cheltenham Gold Cup glory trimmed for Bellshill, who’s now 14/1 to win the famous race.
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