William Hill Online Help Centre Close Detach
  • Change view:

William Hill Online Sports Betting - Live Football, Horse Racing, Greyhounds, Sports & Games

Nic Ladds 5th Feb 2009 - 15:58

Johnson hoping his selection comes Goode

England will take to the field for the first Six Nations game at odds of 1/12 to overturn the perceived whipping boys Italy.

This to many will actually seem a relatively big price due to the fact Italy are perceived to have no chance whatsoever and aren't England meant to be one of the greatest rugby union sides in the world?

Once upon a time the answer would be an emphatic 'yes' but times have changed and while you are unlikely to get anyone desperate to get a piece of the odds of 6/1 about Italy, this will be closer than it has been in previous years.

England at 10/11 in the betting, are being asked to give up 16 points on the handicap and you could not take that with supreme confidence that they are going to hand Italy a beating making the Italians with a 16 points head start at odds of 10/11 marginally more appealing.

Martin Johnson will remember well beating the Italians 80-23 at Twickenham way back in 2001 but those days are over.

Italy under South African Nick Mallet have continued to improve and only last year lost by just four points to England (albeit in Rome) and managed to beat Scotland.

Johnson's selection was eagerly anticipated and the main talking point has been Danny Cipriani not even being in the squad against Italy and he will instead line up for the Saxons side on Friday.

Toby Flood has picked up an injury so fly-half responsibilities fall to Andy Goode. Goode is regarded as one of the slowest fly-half's around but there is no doubt he is solid and not as flashy as the likes of Cipriani which is what England may need right now.

He is top point scorer in the Top 14 League for his side Brive and comes into the game in good form. Goode is 20/1 in the betting to push for a regular place in the starting line up and score the first try.

Elsewhere perhaps Julian White should have been included but finds himself on the bench but may get his chance in place of Phil Vickery.

Mark Cueto is available at 8/1 in the betting to score the first try after he replaced the injured Ugo Money with Paul Sackey at odds of 9/1.

The Armitage brothers get their chance to impress and they look set to have a fantastic tournament with Delon 12/1 for first try and Steffon 7/2 to score a try any time.

Italy's back line seems to be comprised of a flanker and centres. Mauro Bergamasco is being deployed at scrum half when he usually plays flanker which could either prove a tactical masterstroke or a humiliating error.

Either way Mauro is 33/1 to grab the first try. His brother Mirco Bergamasco carries by far the biggest attacking threat for Italy and wouldn't be the worst bet at 4/1 to score anytime while he is 16/1 to cross the line first.

If the Begamasco at scrum half experiment goes horribly wrong then England could trounce Italy and give themselves a much needed confidence boost but you get the feeling that the score line will be respectable.

A winning margin of 1-12 in England's favour looks a cracking be at odds of 11/4. If you fancy narrowing it down further then England to win by 6-10 points is 9/1 or 11-15 points is 13/2 with the shorter prices coming for England to win by margins of over 20 points.

This game could be the catalyst that really gets England going and if they can win well then Johnson will no doubt receive praise for his selection.

There will be those armed and ready to put the boot in should England fail to impress and it is hoped they do as on home turf, against the worst team, The Three Lions won't get a better chance to show the world what they are made of.

England to win by 1-12 points - 11/4

View England v Italy betting

View all Six Nations betting

View all rugby union betting


View AllPlay Games


View AllNic Ladds