By News Team
7th February 2020
Round one of the Six Nations threw up some surprising results and some exceptional performances. The marquee matchups come thick and fast in this tournament, so we preview this weekend’s big games below, including a rematch of last year’s 38-38 epic between Scotland and England.
Ireland vs Wales
Wales had a highly successful first Six Nations outing under Wayne Pivac, comfortably dispatching Italy whilst playing a more expansive game than under predecessor Warren Gatland. Andy Farrell’s Ireland laboured to a 19-12 win against Scotland, meanwhile, which has only increased the volume of calls to move on from the ageing half-back partnership of Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray.
However, Farrell has a reputation for being defensively strong, but at Test level more can be needed, as a lack of imagination in attack can be brutally exposed. If Wales can find their rhythm and apply some early scoreboard pressure, a famous win could be achieved across the Irish sea. Back the Welsh at 11/8.
Scotland vs England
England were atrocious against France in Paris last week but have no time to lick their wounds as they travel to Murrayfield to take on a Scotland side that were very unlucky to lose to Ireland. While many expected Eddie Jones’ men to not quite hit the same heights as the World Cup semi-final performance against New Zealand in the autumn, the display last Sunday was awful. Simple mistakes, dropped balls and a criminal decision to stop playing as France cruised through their lines for a second try.
Expect a much better showing from the men in white on Saturday, but they don’t always have it their way against a Scotland team in the cauldron atmosphere of Murrayfield. Last year’s abysmal second-half collapse by England will give the Scots plenty of hope, despite being 11/4 underdogs. England are 1/3, which looks short if they play how they did last week. Scotland +7 at 11/10 offers good value in what should be a tight contest in Edinburgh.
France vs Italy
Sunday’s game should be a formality for the French if they play how they did last week. Questions still remain about Italy’s viability as a Six Nations team, especially considering the rapid development of Georgia in recent years.
Should Les Bleus perform up to the expected standards, which have indeed risen after last week, they should cover the handicap at 10/11 and cement themselves as favourites for the Six Nations, which they can currently be found available for at 3/1.