By News Team
Last Updated: 6th March 2020
The penultimate round of the Six Nations takes place this weekend, however, due to the coronavirus the final two rounds will not feature Italy fixtures. This leaves just two matches this weekend, as England host Wales on Saturday and leaders France travel to Scotland on Sunday. We preview both games below.
England vs Wales
After a rocky opener against France, England have ground out wins in their last two fixtures, overcoming Scotland at a rain-soaked Murrayfield before dominating Ireland at Twickenham two weeks ago. Eddie Jones’ sides usually perform well after a break when he has more time to build a game plan, while the return of Anthony Watson to the starting line-up adds a bit more balance and pace to the back three.
The hosts are comfortable 1/5 favourites, while the visitors are 4/1 for the victory. The handicap currently sits at 13, which is a lot for Test level, even if England have home advantage at Twickenham. The returning Watson will be dangerous, but much of England’s attacking play revolves around centre Manu Tuilagi. If he can perform at his irresistible best, the Red Rose could blow away the travelling side. England’s No. 13 is 15/8 to score anytime.
Wales have experienced some growing pains under Wayne Pivac, which can be expected at the beginning of a World Cup cycle with a new coach stamping his style on the team. Close losses to Ireland and France have rubbed the shine off a good 42-0 win against Italy and Pivac will be hoping his troops can perform against England at Twickenham.
The decision to drop Taulupe Faletau is a big one, while Liam Williams returns to the side. As mentioned, 13 is a big handicap at Test level and to back Wales +13 at 10/11 could be a shrewd bet.
Scotland vs France
Scotland’s off-field problems have been well-documented during this championship, but they haven’t performed terribly, with two one-score losses against Ireland and England, before struggling to a 17-0 win against Italy. This revitalised French team will offer a different proposition, but Murrayfield is one of international rugby’s great levellers, so it should be an intriguing fixture.
The home side are 2/1 underdogs, while France are 4/9 favourites. If Scotland can perform at their attacking best under Gregor Townsend, a shock could definitely be on the cards. The handicap sits at just six, with Scotland +6 available at Evens.
France have been exciting to watch for the neutral in this year’s Six Nations and are on course for an improbable Grand Slam, despite entering the tournament as many fans’ fourth or fifth favourite. A young core has lit up the scoreboards, while the French fans have been re-energised.
Les Bleus have scored 86 points across their three fixtures, but each match has been pretty close. France to win another nail-biter by 1-5 points is 5/1 and could offer great value in what could be a tight contest in Edinburgh.