With the 2019 Rugby World Cup now merely six weeks away, teams are making their final preparations and squads are being finalised.
This weekend marks the last opportunity for players to book their seats on the plane, and a cracker at Twickenham is preceded by Ireland v Italy.
Our rugby expert guides you through the best bets from this weekend’s World Cup warm-up fixtures.
Ireland v Italy
Ireland go into the World Cup after experiencing a worrying last six months. The Six Nations didn’t go to plan at all, and they were found out a little bit without a fully fit Johnny Sexton.
Italy haven’t looked good recently, and they face an almost impossible task in the World Cup, as their group features both New Zealand and South Africa. Italy should be looking to build for the next four years, and have an eye on Six Nations scalps down the line.
Ireland will use this game to test out new partnerships and try to gather some momentum heading into a World Cup where they would be expected to top their group before running into a Southern Hemisphere juggernaut in the quarter-final.
The handicap sits at 26.5, and I would back Ireland to comfortably overcome that in an absolute rout, and they can be found at 10/11 on the handicap.
England v Wales
England battle against Wales at HQ, hoping to overcome a surprisingly poor Six Nations and an utter capitulation against Scotland last time out.
With the squad seemingly settled for the Red Rose, only a few backup places are up for grabs, but expect a lot of intensity as crowded competitions in the back row and back three get settled.
Warren Gatland has his Wales squad peaking at the right time, and after a Grand Slam in the Six Nations, they should be looking to carry that momentum into the World Cup.
However, Wales aren’t anywhere near as good away from Cardiff, so expect a relatively easy England win, by double digits. Back England to win by a converted score on the handicap (-6.5) at 10/11 with Grosvernorsport.com.
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