The Six Nations action rolls on this weekend, as third round of matches takes place in the competition. Ireland and Scotland will both be protecting 100% records when they face Italy and France, respectively. Meanwhile, Warren Gatland’s Wales will be hoping to finally kickstart their campaign when they welcome England to Cardiff.
Italy vs Ireland
Italy has gained a lot of support from neutrals throughout the competition to this point, as they have impressed in the attacking areas. However, they are still lacking quality across the field, which means that it is little surprise that they are 19/2 outsiders to beat Ireland this weekend.
The Irish have been excellent in their opening two matches of the Six Nations, and they backed up their strong display against Wales with a formidable showing against France to end the French’s long winning sequence in their previous match.
We fully expect Ireland to win this match in Rome comfortably, as they take another step in the right direction to complete the Grand Slam this season.
Wales vs England
The interesting match of the day in the Six Nations on Saturday is England’s clash against Wales in Cardiff, that is if the match actually takes place due to the threat of striking action from many of the top Welsh stars.
It has been Wales’ worst start to a Six Nations since 2007, and it has hardly been the start to his second tenure in charge that Warren Gatland would have been hoping for. However, this game in Cardiff could present Wales with a perfect chance to pull together, and at least put a first point on the board in the Six Nations this year.
England will be favoured in the betting to record the victory in this match, but I’m yet to be overly impressed by the way that they are shaping up under Steve Borthwick. England were beaten in their opener by Scotland, and looked uncomfortable in parts against Italy. A value play could be on the Welsh just piecing together a performance on Saturday.
France vs Scotland
The reigning Six Nations champions will be looking to get back to winning ways on Sunday after seeing their record winning run ended at the hands of Ireland on matchday two.
France has no shortage of injury issues to contend with ahead of this fixture, but there is clear strength in depth within the nation’s roster. France really need to be winning this game if they are to stand any slight chance of retaining their Six Nations title.
Scotland really hasn’t put a foot wrong in the Six Nations to this point, and there is certainly a sense that Gregor Townsend is building something special with this team. They have won both matches that they have played, and have scored just two points fewer than the Irish at this stage. I’m surprised that they are as big as they are in the betting, and I think the match on Sunday will be much closer than the odds suggest.