After a week off, the Six Nations roars back into action this weekend with three more intriguing fixtures. If the drama of two weeks ago is anything to go by, we should be in for another action-packed weekend.
Here are the best bets for this weekend’s matches.
Ireland v Scotland
Joe Schmidt’s men edged closer to their third Grand Slam, and first since 2009 with a 37-27 win over Wales.
Their victory in round three was one of the most entertaining games of the tournament so far and took Ireland’s winning streak to 10 matches.
Scotland’s inspired performance against England last time out proved they are no pushovers, however.
The thrilling victory was their first over the English since 2008 and showed that they must not be taken lightly here.
They are 27/10 to win in Dublin for the first time since 2010.
Ireland have not lost a home Six Nations match in the five years that head coach Schmidt has been in charge, and despite Scotland’s upturn in form, I don’t see that changing here.
They’ve beaten their Scottish counterparts by at least 10 points in three of their last four matches at home and I’m expecting that trend to continue.
Back Ireland -9.5 at 10/11 with Grosvenorsport.com
France v England
Playing a Six Nations home match away from Paris for the first time, France comfortably saw off Italy 34-17 in Marseille in round three.
The reintroduction of Mathieu Bastareaud seemed to work wonders for the struggling French who were without a win in eight games prior to that.
They are 23/10 to take this one.
England are on somewhat of a recovery mission after their shock 25-13 defeat to Scotland at Murrayfield.
It was only their second defeat in 26 tests under Eddie Jones, which ended their hopes of a second Grand Slam in three years.
Despite that humbling defeat, they are the heavy favourites at 1/3 for Saturday afternoon’s encounter.
With the likes of 19 stone Bastareaud to call on, it’s pretty clear what the French game-plan is; big ball carriers who will get over the gain line.
If there is anyone who can set up a team up to stop such an intimidating prospect it’s Jones, and I’m expecting his side to show why they are such strong favourites in Paris.
France wasted numerous opportunities against Italy and they simply won’t be given the same luxury against England. I’m backing Jones’ men at 13/10 to win both halves.
Wales v Italy
Wales are looking to bounce back having lost their last two matches against England and Ireland.
Their loss to the Irish was a really entertaining affair but a number of sloppy errors cost them any chance and put pay to any hopes they had of winning a first championship since 2013.
Warren Gatland’s men are the overwhelming favourites for Sunday’s match at 1/100.
They face an Italian side who look set to pick up the wooden spoon for a third consecutive time having lost their first three in 2018.
Conor O’Shea’s side have now lost a record 15 straight Six Nations matches. Despite showing a number of encouraging signs, they have failed to put it all together and are still a fair way behind the other five teams in the tournament.
Italy are 19/1 to cause an upset.
The last time the Italians defeated the Welsh was 2007, and since then Wales have beaten their Italian counterparts by an average of over 20 points.
Warren Gatland has had an extra week’s preparation for this one and with the likes of George North returning, it could be a long afternoon for the already low on confidence Italians.
Take the Welsh at -27.5 at 10/11 to win in comprehensive style.