2020 Guinness Six Nations Round 2
What a cracking weekend the first set of matches produced. The Welsh shrugged off any World Cup hangover to put the Italians to the sword, the solid and stubborn Irish did enough to beat a wasteful Scottish team, and finally, the match of the weekend, The resurgent French crushed the English. Perhaps one of the worst English performances in a long time.
So what has this weekend cooked up for us?
The Irish welcome the Welsh in an all Celtic affair, the English visit the partisan Scottish with auld rivalries re-ignited and the French host and Italian team looking to bounce back from a poor showing against the Welsh.
Lots to consider, and some great matchups, especially if you’re looking to make a bet. Let look at the fixture and what bets are going to be delivering the best value on rugby betting.
Guinness Six Nations – Ireland vs Wales
This has to be the most intriguing, especially if you’re looking to make a bet because Ireland should hold the advantage, they were the best team in the world for a short time 12 months ago and went into the World Cup one of the favourites. They’ve lost their way and lost their record-breaking head coach.
Most importantly, Ireland does not lose matches at home, especially in the 6 Nations. However…
If the last 3-4 matches are anything to go by, they are playing that static, one out rugby that today’s international teams are better at coping with. It’s relentless and if the weather is wet it will play into their hands, but if it’s not then it might be a different matter.
Wales are similar in some ways. They have lost their record-breaking coach and have a new guy at the helm. Towards the end of Warren Gatland’s tenure, he started to play are a more expansive style of rugby, and started blooding players with skills to match. New coach Wayne Pivac will appreciate that as he is looking to build on that open game.
He’s still missing an outside centre. George North did a decent job last weekend against an Irish side which is likely to target him, it will be another step up required. He’ll certainly have no problems should Bundi Aki decide to run down his channel.
It’s very difficult to look past Ireland winning this one. The Aviva Stadium is a fortress for Ireland and the weather looks wet and cold, perfect for the style of rugby they play. The bookies agree with odds of 8/13. I quite fancy a draw, it will be that tight and there’s value in 16/1.
For some fun, I’d have a punt on No try scorer, a game based on penalties, at 18/1.
Guinness Six Nations – Scotland vs England
Well well well. Last week’s underperformers met each other, with plenty of bad blood expected.
Scotland was their own worst enemy against the Irish, The world-class Stuart Hogg going as far as to drop the ball with the try line gaping. They’re not the biggest team, but they have some dogs in the pack that will make life uncomfortable, and they’re able to raise their game against the English.
They’ll miss Finn Russell, who’s fallen out of favour with Scottish coach Gregor Townsend. They’re spat before the first weekend of games has been less than ideal preparation. The question is whether they can raise their game enough, for long enough against this year’s World Cup finalists.
The English are even more predictable. If everyone was fit, even with last week’s nightmare behind them, you would expect them to go up to Edinburgh and steamroll the Scottish. But, without the Vunipola brothers, and now Manu Tuilagi who limped off with a groin strain, they are seriously lacking players who can get over the gain line.
Fans and pundits alike are calling for a like-for-like replacement for Billy Vunipola, someone like Dom Brandt or Sam Simmonds, but Eddie Jones has not included them in the squad, opting to play with Tom Curry at 8.
Scotland has been in so much disarray, after a poor world cup, public fall out with players and last week’s stuttering performance, it’s really difficult to see them lift their game enough against the English, even at home.
With that in mind, I’m predicting a tight game but England win with odds of 3/10 with odds of 5/1 if they win by 5 points or less.
If you think England are suffering from the World Cup blues and Eddie is making a mistake not having another carrier in the team, you can get odds of 16/1 for Scotland to thrash the English by 11-15 points. Why not? The French did last week.
Guinness Six Nations – France vs Italy
There is little to no chance Italy will travel to Paris and get a result. That’s just the size of the task facing the Italians. The french look rejuvenated and fierce, full of young attacking talent and have seemed to have adapted to defence coach Shaun Edwards rush defence with ease.
Antoine Dupont ran the show against the English and Anthony Bouthier had a debut to remember at 15. It was his composure under the high ball but expect to see his attacking prowess this week.
The Italians will have endeavour, with the likes of Sebastian Negri and Jake Polledri in the back row, but Italy needs to be a team where the team is more than the sum of its parts, and they’re not there yet.
They’ll be aggressive, and they’re a work in progress, their clubs are starting to be competitive which can only benefit the international team moving forwards.
France is going to win this one, the odds are 1/40, the question is by how much? Even by 31-35 point margin, you’re looking at short odds of 13/2.