Feb 24, 41 days ago

2017 Six Nations match betting preview

2017 Six Nations match betting preview

Another late show by England kept up their impressive winning streak a fortnight ago, and the current Six Nations champions look to have a straightforward match this weekend as they host an Italy side who has never beaten them.
Elsewhere, Ireland face France and Scotland play Wales. Keep reading for our Six Nations match betting preview.

Ireland the rugby betting favourites to overcome France

Ireland were in sensational form a fortnight ago, beating Italy 63-10 in Rome to keep up their Six Nations challenge. Saturday’s match is likely to be a closer affair, but the Irish can grab a second consecutive win as they welcome France.
Despite performing well in the tournament so far, Paddy Jackson is expected to lose his place to the returning Jonny Sexton – although Jackson’s performances have given the Ireland coaches a tough decision.
Richie Murphy said: “Johnny gets picked like everyone else; he has no divine right to get picked. Will he get picked? That is a decision that has to be made. I am not trying to create any confusion. All I am saying is that there will be a decision made on the back of how he has performed over the last two days.
“Paddy Jackson has been brilliant. We have been very lucky that while Johnny has been out Paddy has been stepping in and filling that gap really well, since probably last summer.”
Rob Kearney is also set to return for Ireland having come through training unscathed, while Conor Murray could also play.
France bounced back from an opening day defeat to beat Scotland but only a win in Dublin will keep their title hopes alive. Camille Chat may return for the French who have benefited from a long training camp over the last few days.
Ireland have won three of the last four meetings between the sides and can overcome a 7 point handicap to win at 10/11.

England and Scotland looking for home wins

England‘s late score against Wales a fortnight ago kept up their winning streak which now stands at 16 matches. Eddie Jones’ side can make it 17 on the bounce on Sunday as they welcome Italy to Twickenham.
Mako Vunipola is set to make his first appearance in this year’s Six Nations after returning from two months out with knee ligament damage, although he is likely to feature from the bench with Joe Marler retaining his place at loose-head prop. Jonathan Joseph has also been omitted with Elliot Daly and Ben Te’o pushing for a starting berth.
Michele Rizzo has been called up by Italy to replace the injured Dario Chistolini in the Italy squad, who have struggled in their opening two matches.
England have a 42 point start on the handicap, but it’s worth bearing in mind that they have only beaten Italy by this margin once since 2002. England will win, but it could pay to back the visitors with a 42 point start at 10/11.
Wales‘ defeat to England was tough to take and they face a tricky away tie in Scotland.
George North will return on the wing for Wales in place of Alex Cuthbert in the only change from the 21-16 reverse to England. Ross Moriarty continues at number eight with Taulupe Faletau on the bench.
Coach Rob Howley said: “We have been able to select from a position of strength which is a huge positive and it is good to welcome George [North] back into the starting XV and Luke [Charteris] on to the bench,” said Howley.
“In terms of intensity and performance, we stepped up a level against England and we need to take the positives from that performance and take it into 80 minutes against Scotland at Murrayfield.”
Scotland have lost their last nine meetings – including the last four at home – against Wales, and it’s been a decade since they claimed their last victory. However, the last couple of meetings have been close – 26-23 in Edinburgh in 2015 and 27-23 in Cardiff a year ago – and the Scots are improving.
The home side could nick this and Scotland are evens to win.

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