Six Nations Preview: Battle of the Brits and the Wooden Spoon race
Last weekend gave us a chance to get our breath back after a smashing start to the 2021 Six Nations tournament. But absence only makes the heart grow fonder, so we’re raring to go and ready for more.
Last time out, France made it two from two with a narrow win over a so-far underwhelming Ireland. England bounced back to beat Italy but were still far from their best, and it was Wales who won the battle of the Brits, fighting back to beat Scotland and maintain their 100% start to the campaign.
The bad news? France v Scotland is OFF. But we still have Wales welcoming England to Cardiff, and perhaps the early battle to avoid the wooden spoon between Italy and Ireland. Let’s take a look.
Italy v Ireland
The scene-setter for the weekend, this match looks like it will have little impact on the campaign as a whole. Italy have showed fleeting good moments as they often do, causing England a slight scare early on a fortnight ago. But it’s two defeats from two and despite Ireland’s sluggish start, you imagine that will become three from three in Rome this weekend.
However, despite playing the two pre-tournament favourites, the Azzurri have actually scored more tries than Ireland in the tournament so far. They touched down before England last time out and you can back another fast start – the first scoring play to be an Italy try – at 11/2.
Grosvenor Sport are heavily odds-on for an Ireland win, but can Italy keep it close? Ireland to win by 1-12 points is 11/4.
Wales v England
Wales come into this as tempting 37/20 outsiders to oust England and cement themselves as contenders for the Six Nations title. Wayne Pivac’s squad have demonstrated a little bit of everything so far – including that trademark desire which came to the fore in the win at Murrayfield.
The star of the show has been Louis Rees-Zammit with three tries to his name, and it’s tempting to back the young wing to score first at 10/1 – especially after Monty Ioane touched down for Italy early on against England two weeks ago.
Eddie Jones is still resisting the urge for major changes with just Jamie George returning as hooker. England can ill afford another performance like in Week 1, so the pressure is on Jones and captain Owen Farrell to deliver. Will it be a tight one? England v Scotland was a low scoring one, and you can back England to win and under 37.5 points at 33/20.
If you fancy Eddie Jones’ side to live up to their billing as favourites, there’s more odds-against value to be had. England are 11/8 to win both halves or 7/5 to win by 1-12 points. And if you’re sitting on the fence, how about either team to win by 7 or less? That’s 6/5 with Grosvenor Sport.
Six Nations Shouts
In Week 2, we correctly called two out of three with 5/6 and 13/10 shouts landing. Here’s what we’re going for in Week 3.
What do you reckon? We’d love to hear your comments on social media.
Italy v Ireland: Ireland to win and under 51.5 points (19/20)
Wales v England: Either team to win by 7 or less (6/5)
*Stated odds correct at time of writing