Six Nations Round Four Preview 2013

Six Nations Round Four Preview

The 2013 Six Nations enters its penultimate round of action this weekend, and once again there are fascinating matches at both ends of the table. Wales travel to Scotland who are enjoying resurgence under Scott Johnson and are looking to take second spot in the table. The surprise strugglers France face Ireland in Dublin, with Les Bleus still searching for their first victory. While England should have no problems dispatching Italy to keep hopes of a first Grand Slam in ten years well and truly alive.

Scotland v Wales – Saturday (2.30pm)
Scotland have been the surprise package of the 2013 Six Nations, they entered the tournament low on confidence and on the back of an embarrassing defeat to Tonga. But interim-coach Scott Johnson has managed to get the best out his squad, and they sit third in the table after their miraculous win over Ireland last time out. Wales started the tournament with defeat at home to Ireland but have since picked up wins against Italy and France; there are signs that Rob Howley’s side are starting to find their form again.

Wales enter the match as odds on favourites and are priced at 1/2 (Ladbrokes), but are as short as 4/9 Bet365. Scotland are a best price of 9/4 (SportingBet) and this looks a very attractive bet in what should be a tight affair, and if the hosts can still be within touch going into the final 20 minutes they could snatch the win just as they did against Ireland. Scotland are also well handicapped with a +5 start priced at evens (Bet365).

Another attractive bet is on the half time/full time market with Wales/Scotland a massive 10/1 (SkyBet). On the try-scorer markets there are plenty of options on both sides, Stuart Hogg has served us well so far this year and is again worth backing to score anytime at 11/2 (SkyBet). Welsh full-back Leigh Halfpenny scored in this fixture last season and provides good value 14/1 (Stan James) to score the first try.

Ireland v France – Saturday (5.00pm)
France have been the biggest disappointment of this year’s Six Nations and have failed to register a win in their first three matches, but they do have a fantastic record against Ireland and showed signs of promise in defeat to England. Ireland are probably still in a state of shock after their defeat to Scotland, they dominated every facet of the match but were unable to finish off the chances they created.

France are rightly favourites for the match at a best price of 10/11 (BlueSq) their pack I monstrous and should win the arm wrestle at the breakdown. Ireland aren’t too far behind in the market and are priced at 11/10 (Paddy Power), but with an inexperienced fly-half and key players missing it is tough to see them overcoming Les Bleus.

The half time/full time market has thrown up another good priced bet with the Draw/France priced at 25/1 (SkyBet). Irish centre Luke Marshall may be lacking in experience but showed some flashes of quality against Scotland, and looks a nice price at 20/1 (Ladbrokes) to score the first try. Wesley Fofana showed just how good he is with an outstanding solo try against England, and provides tremendous value at 4/1 (SkyBet) to score anytime.

England v Italy – Sunday (3.00pm)
England suffered a difficult opening 40 minutes against France two weeks ago, but the power of their bench made the difference in the second half and they ended up as comfortable winners. Italy started the tournament with a historic victory over France, but have failed to match that level of performance since and will be dreading facing an England side full of confidence.

As expected England are overwhelming favourites and are as short as 1/250 (SkyBet). Italy are a massive 40/1 (SportingBet) and there is little chance they can cause the biggest of upsets on Sunday.

Given England’s current form and their past form at Twickenham against the Azzuri, over 5.5 tries at 5/4 (BlueSq) looks a solid bet. On the try scoring markets it is difficult to look past Manu Tuilagi for first scorer at 8/1 (Coral) and is also worth backing to score anytime at evens (Coral). Elsewhere for England scrum-half Danny Care is 7/4 (Paddy Power) to score anytime, and an interesting selection is Tom Croft to score anytime which is a massive 11/1 (Coral). The Leicester flanker returns to squad for the first time in 11 months, and entering the final quarter his pace and power could be utilized against a tiring defence and his try scoring record makes him an attractive bet.

Weekend Best Bets
Scotland to win – 9/4 (SportingBet)

Stuart Hogg anytime scorer – 11/2 (SkyBet)

Wesley Fofana anytime scorer – 4/1 (SkyBet)

Draw/France – 25/1 (SkyBet)

Manu Tuilagi 1st try – 8/1 (Coral)

Tom Croft anytime scorer – 11/1 (Coral)

    England v South Africa Rugby Preview 24 November 2012

    Autumn Internationals – Week Three Preview
    The opening two weeks of the Autumn Internationals have not been kind to the home nations. Wales and Scotland are yet to register any wins, while England and Ireland have one victory against Fiji to their names. As we enter the third week of matches things are only getting harder with New Zealand visiting Wales, Argentina travelling to Ireland and South Africa heading to Twickenham to tackle England.
    England v South Africa – 2.30pm Kick Off
    England entered last week’s game with Australia full of optimism; this was supposed to be the game when Stuart Lancaster’s young guns struck their first blow against one of the southern hemisphere heavyweights.
    But at the final whistle the players, coaches and fans were left with the same frustrations that have plagued English rugby for the last six years. Execution and decision making at the highest level is the essence of test rugby, and England were well below par in both departments. The decision to turn down three very kickable penalties ultimately cost the home side any chance of victory.
    Chris Robshaw’s men now welcome the Springboks to Twickenham, a side they haven’t beaten in 10 games. In the summer tour of South Africa, the hosts overpowered England in the first two tests, before a spirited English effort earned them a draw in the final match of the series.
    South Africa’s recent record against England is excellent, and the fact they enter this game on the back of two wins, even money (Paddy Power) looks a fantastic bet. There is no doubt the Boks have an advantage at the breakdown, and if they control this facet of the game as well as Australia did they should win the game.  England are generally priced at 4/5 and this is definitely worth opposing.
    Given the weather forecast for Saturday (heavy rain and high winds) the handicap of South Africa +1 at 10/11 (Sky Bet) also looks a worth wile bet. The Boks are world’s best side when it comes to battles in the tight, and you wouldn’t back against them with that in mind.
    Manu Tuilagi scored England’s only try in the defeat to Australia at is well priced at 4/1 (Ladbrokes) to score at anytime. The centre had a brilliant series against South Africa in the summer, and is one of the players who can break the solid Bok defence. Ben Youngs also has a good scoring record against the Springboks and is priced at 5/1 (Ladbrokes) to score anytime.
    On the South African side a couple of the powerful ball carrying forwards catch the eye. Francois Louw has been in sensational form in the opening matches of the tour and the Bath flanker is 13/2 (Ladbrokes) to score at anytime.
    Best Bets
    South Africa (to win) – Evens (Paddy Power)
    South Africa +1 – 10/11 (Sky Bet)
    Manu Tuilagi (anytime scorer) – 4/1 (Ladbrokes)
    Francois Louw (anytime scorer) – 13/2 (Ladbrokes)
    Drop Goal (anytime during the game) – 9/4 (Ladbrokes)
    Bet of the Weekend
    Double Up
    Argentina to beat Ireland 15/8 (Paddy Power)
    South Africa to beat England evens (Paddy Power)
    Pays around 5/1 and looks a fantastic bet

      England v Fiji Rugby Preview Autumn International 2012

      Autumn Internationals – Week One Preview

      November is a special month in the rugby calendar for a couple of reasons; firstly we see some of the world’s best player sporting moustaches in the aid of Movember and international rugby returns to the northern hemisphere as the likes of New Zealand, Australia and South Africa head up to Europe for their end of season tours.

      England v Fiji – 2.30pm

      Stuart Lancaster has selected one of the most inexperienced teams in recent English history for the opening game of the QBE Autumn Internationals, with the starting XV averaging around 14 caps and the replacements just eight-and-a-half caps.

      Tom Youngs makes his debut at hooker, despite only starting nine Premiership games for Leicester. While Joe Launchbury and Mako Vunipola are also set to make their international bows from the bench, after impressing for Wasps and Saracens respectively.

      Nevertheless England are expected to win comfortably against a weakened Fijian side, with handicaps as high as -34 being offered by Stan James, however England -32 is evens (Bet Victor) and looks a very tempting prospect.

      England have plenty of firepower in their backline with the likes of Manu Tuilagi, Charlie Sharples and Ugo Moyne all priced at 8/1 and 9/1 (Sky Bet) to score the first try, while full-back Alex Goode is priced at 12/1 (Sporting Bet).

      But for me Danny Care offers great value at 14/1 (Sky Bet) the Quins scrum-half has been in electric form this season and has scored some very important tries for the English champions. If there are weaknesses in the Fijian defence around the ruck, Care will be the man to make them pay.

      Mike Brown can consider himself very unlucky not to be starting at full-back, but he looks certain to come off the bench either on the wing or at 15. I think at 9/1 (William Hill) he is a very good bet to score the last try of the game, when the Fijian defence is tiring.

      The anytime scorer markets offer some terrific prices for the Fijian players who are definitely worth considering. Leicester Tigers centre Vereniki Goneva has been one of the stars of the Premiership season so far and is a massive 9/1 (Blue Square) to cross the line during the match. I also like Akapusi Qera at 9/1 (Blue Square) the Gloucester flanker is a tremendous defender, but also has an eye for the try line and it would be no surprise to see him get his name on the score sheet.

      Best Bets
      Danny Care (First Try) – 14/1 (Sky Bet)

      Mike Brown (Last Try) – 9/1 (William Hill)

      Vereniki Goneva (Anytime Scorer) – 9/1 (Blue Square)

      Akapusi Qera (Anytime Scorer) – 9/1 (Blue Square)

      England by 31-35 – 6/1 (Sporting Bet)