It was a great start to the Six Nations for Wales last Sunday as they beat Ireland with the last kick of the game in the match of the weekend. Scotland didn’t fare as well, however, succumbing to a 13-6 defeat in their Calcutta Cup contest with England.
Can Scotland find a try from somewhere when they travel to Cardiff on Sunday or can Wales continue their excellent run of form?
After their excellent comeback on Sunday against Chelsea, Manchester United face another title rival this weekend as they welcome Liverpool on Saturday lunchtime. United are 5/6 to win while their old enemy can be backed at 10/3.
A new look England side got off to a promising start in their 2012 Six Nations campaign after their first win over Scotland at Murrayfield since 2004. Stuart Lancaster’s team beat their old rivals on Saturday, but can they consolidate their good start to the tournament with an away win over Italy this weekend?
What better way for England and Scotland to open their Six Nations campaigns than with the 119th Calcutta Cup match? The old rivals meet at Murrayfield on Saturday with the home side desperate to avenge their narrow defeat at last year’s World Cup.
So, can Scotland win the Cup for the first time since 2008 or can a new look England get their 2012 off to a flyer?
They were two of the most attractive teams in last autumn’s World Cup and both Wales and Ireland made plenty of friends in New Zealand for their style of play and their excellent results.
Wales edged the meeting in October but the pair meet again on Sunday in their first Six Nations match of 2012. It promises to be a great game.
France proved almost everyone wrong by reaching the World Cup Final last autumn and came within a couple of points of winning the tournament for the first time.
The tournament favourites kick off their 2012 Six Nations campaign with a home tie against Italy.
So, after the All Blacks finally won the World Cup for a second time, the attention of the rugby world moves to the Northern Hemisphere for the 118th annual championship featuring Europe’s top teams.
With Friday night matches having been shelved, the Six Nations matches return to their traditional Saturday and Sunday spots for what promises to be an open tournament.
This weekend sees some tasty looking encounters in the Premier League in just the second match of the new season, starting with a North East derby as Sunderland take on Newcastle. Steve Bruce’s side acquitted themselves well against Liverpool on the opening day and are good value to register their first win at 11/10.
West Ham have given themselves a fighting chance of avoiding the drop after a disappointing season but face a difficult away tie at their London rivals Spurs on Saturday. The Champions League quarter finalists should win this at 4/7.
After their Carling Cup final defeat and controversial Champions League exit to Barcelona, Arsenal could be left fighting on just one front if they are knocked out of the FA Cup by Manchester United this weekend.
Another season without a trophy would be hard to bear for Gunners fans, but United’s form has been awful of late and Arsenal are excellent value at 3/1 to keep their Cup hopes alive.
Following their hard-fought victory over the French, everyone (well, the English media) is convinced that England (1/16) will win the Grand Slam. Impressive they were, but next up is a Calcutta Cup showdown against the old foe Scotland (8/1). This match-up is summed up in one word ‘battle’. England are heavy favourites to topple Scotland and rightly so. The visiting side hasn’t won on English soil since 1983 and the 2009 match between the two sides was the first time Scotland conceded fewer than 40 points at Twickenham since the start of the Six Nations back in 2000.
After seeing his side suffer a narrow defeat at home to France, Ireland (4/9) head coach Declan Kidney has decided to drop his number 10 Jonathan Sexton and recall the old reliable Ronan O’Gara to the starting line-up to face Scotland (17/10) at Murrayfield on Sunday afternoon. A lack of discipline ultimately cost Ireland a test victory in their latest RBS 6 Nations encounter and Kidney, along with hoards of Irish fans, will hope the appearance of O’Gara, and Tommy Bowe, who returns from injury, will help galvanise the Irish as they go in search of a much needed victory that could potentially lead them to a Triple Crown, or even more importantly, Six Nations glory.