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Nic Ladds 30th Jan 2010 - 18:42

Ireland the value to once more dent Saxon pride

England Saxons v Ireland A - 14:00 live on Sky Sports 2

England Saxons take on Ireland A, a game which has the Three Lions installed as 2/5 favourites to gain revenge for their defeat to Ireland in June with the men in green available at 7/4.

Ireland ran out 49-22 winners the last time these two met in the Churchill Cup final, but much of the squad that took the Saxons apart is absent including try scorers Johne Murphy, Felix Jones and Isaac Boss, as well as Leinster starlet Jonathan Sexton who looks set for big things with the Irish full team.

The experienced Peter Stringer will look to create from the scrum-half position while Fergus McFadden in the backs and David Toner in the pack who were two of the outstanding players from the summer game and they will look to spur their side on again from their respective positions.

While Ireland's team does look to be weaker, England's team looks of about the same strength with experienced heads Noah Kato and David Strettle in the backs while Shane Geraghty at fly-half could be a major plus for the favourites if he brings his best game and bright young star Paul Doran-Jones will be looking to make a name for himself in the front row.

With the match being played at The Rec, the home of Bath, it can't quite be considered home advantage for the Saxons players but they will be more familiar with the ground than their Irish rivals and they are being asked to give up six points on the handicap at odds of 10/11.

England last time had come off the back of a long, hard season but considering both teams have been largely thrown together it could be argued that the prices should be more closely matched as it could be a case of simply whoever is more organised on the day will prevail.

If you fancy Ireland to run out 27 point winners like they did last time then a winning margin of 26-30 points is 50/1, but a more realistic 1-5 points is 6/1 or 6-10 points is 8/1 while the same winning margins for the Saxons are 5/1 and 9/2 respectively in what looks a close game.

This should be great to watch with future stars and old heads attempting to combine to take this and advertise their skills for the proper international sides and at the prices a chance is taken on Ireland in the match betting at 7/4.

They may be weaker than last time but England are not much stronger and given the nature of how the teams have been put together and the likely hard - fought nature of the game it really could go either way and narrow winning margin either way, of around 1-5 points looks the call for those dabbling in the winning margins market or for the more cautious punter, Ireland with a six point head start looks the side you should plump for.


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