Scotland v England
It’s a new era for English rugby with Eddie Jones given the task of recovery after an ill-fated World Cup where England failed to progress from their group. They start the campaign as favourites but will not have it all their own way. A new captain in Dylan Hartley and plenty of debuts from promising players are expected, but can they gel from the first whistle? A tentative beginning looks likely with the emphasis on keeping the game tight and therefore scoring likely to be at a premium.
Scotland on the other hand came out of the RWC with huge pride, and but for a controversial decision versus the Wallabies they could have saved the Northern hemispheres blushes. A good defence and an even better coach in Vern Cotter they should hold their own in the opening match. Since the tournament was expanded to six teams they have never finished higher than 3rd and in 2015 lost all five games to be awarded the wooden spoon. It should be a different story this time around with plenty of confidence to carry over.
History tells us that although England have consistently conquered their rivals there has rarely been a plethora of tries, and the same is expected on Saturday. So take the under 35.5 Total Points at 10/11. Rain is forecast and a wet pitch and slippery ball are going to make handling errors very likely. Remember that the bookies always go high on Totals markets because they know most of their business will be on the Overs, so take advantage of this!
Head to Head
2015 6N England 25-13 Scotland (Tries 3-1)
2014 6N Scotland 0-20 England (Tries (0-2)
2013 6N England 38-18 Scotland (Tries 4-2)
2012 6N Scotland 6-13 England (Tries (0-1)
2011 RWC Scotland 12-16 England (Tries (0-1)
2011 6N England 22-16 Scotland (Tries 1-1)
England have won seven of the last eight head to heads with the other one drawn in 2010.
France v Italy
A match that is often predicted to be a blood bath for the Italians, but in reality has been closer than people expect over the years. Both teams had fairly disappointing World Cups and will hope to bounce back in the RBS Six Nations. France finished as runners up in their group but then got battered by the All Blacks in the quarters after so much hype about them being the bogey team for the World champions. Italy were eliminated after a tough group where they finished third to Ireland and France.
France have taken on a new coach and expectations are high for Guy Noves to get them back to winning ways and plenty of changes are going to made to provide success. Saturday may well be a victory for Les Blues, but not a walk in the park. Italy have generally put up a good fight at Stade Francais and we’re going for the same again. With the crowd not just expecting a comfortable win but also needing it for the sake of French rugby, the pressure will tell and once again Les Tricolores may flatter to deceive. Take the Italians to win with an 18 point start and expect them frustrate the hosts for long periods of the game. If youre interested in a bigger price then check out our Sports Blog that contains a great looking tip with the French involved.
Head to Head
2015 RWC France 32-10 Italy (Tries 2-1)
2015 6N Italy 0-29 France (Tries 0-2)
2014 6N France 30-10 Italy (Tries (3-1)
2013 6N Italy 23-18 France (Tries 2-2 )
2012 6N France 30-12 Italy (Tries 4-0)
2011 6N Italy 22-21 France (Tries 1-2 )
Ireland v Wales
What a match to finish off the 1st weekend of this year’s Six Nations! Ireland and Wales have dominated the last four years of the Championships and they have produced some classic match ups in that time.
Ireland have lost their influential skipper Paul O’Connell through retirement and there are huge doubts over the fitness of Jonny Sexton at 10. Head coach Joe Schmidt is confident that the Leinster star will be raring to go, but surely he won’t be at 100% after suffering yet another concussion 2 weeks ago.
Wales coach Warren Gatland has gone for Rob Evans over Gethin Jenkins at prop meaning that he will have an incredible 364 caps of experience on the bench to call on.
These matches are usually very tight and it’s the Welsh who shade the value. 11/8 is on offer for them to win the game, but we’re going for the Welsh on the Handicap market. They have won the last three matches and have the bragging rights going in to vital game which may well help them exude confidence and allow them to play their natural expansive style that Ireland could well find hard to control.
Head to Head
2015 Friendly Ireland 10-16 Wales (Tries 1-1)
2015 Friendly Wales 21-35 Ireland (Tries 3-5)
2015 6N Wales 23-16 Ireland (Tries 1-1)
2014 6N Ireland 26-3 Wales (Tries (2-0)
2013 6N Wales 22-30 Ireland (Tries (3-3)
2012 6N Ireland 21-23 Wales (Tries 2-3)