Ireland v England Betting: Billy's back to underline England's ruthless streak
England are chasing a historic double Grand Slam in Dublin. Ralph Ellis, who backed them a month ago to achieve the feat, expects them to do it in style.
"Get in front against an Irish side who are not only without Conor Murray but full back Rob Kearney and they won’t hold back. England to win by 13 plus points at [3.35] looks a tempting bet in the Winning Margin market."
Wales manager Chris Coleman talks about the impact Gareth Bale has long before the first whistle is blown. He says that when the Real Madrid star is lining up in the tunnel before the teams have even gone out you can sense the fear in the opposition.
Special players, in any sport, are like that. Through history you'd have worried about how Sir Viv Richards might demolish your bowlers, about how to contain Wayne Gretzky on an ice hockey rink, how many points Michael Jordan might score, and so on.
Is Billy Vunipola yet in that sort of class? Not sure, but one thing for certain is that the sight of the wrecking ball number eight lining up in Dublin's Aviva Stadium on Saturday night will be very much less than welcome to Ireland's rugby team.
All they have to play for is the pride of stopping England competing a Grand Slam, and as if it wasn't bad enough that injury has robbed them of their own talisman scrum half Conor Murray, they will see Vunipola's immense frame about to confront them.
"A dumper truck with a head attached", is how Vunipola's back-row colleague James Haskell describes him. And his return to the starting line-up after injury is just one more powerful statement by England coach Eddie Jones as he prepares his team to set a world record of 19 successive Test victories.
England, who were [2.10] to complete a Grand Grand Slam when I backed them do do it a month ago, are now [1.62] to achieve the victory in Dublin which would wrap up their historic feat. Being able to strengthen a side which ran in more than 60 points against Scotland underlines how powerful the Red Rose has become.
Vunipola's recall also underlines the change in culture that Jones has brought since he took over from Stuart Lancaster.
Remember Lancaster? He was the guy who didn't want to call in European Player of the Year Nick Abendanon for the World Cup because it "might unsettle the squad". Contrast that with Jones who has had excellent service from Nathan Hughes throughout this series, but isn't afraid to make the ruthless call that, however good he's been, Vunipola is better so he starts.
The point about this England team is that they find a way to win whatever the circumstances. Make it a brutal physical battle, like Wales did, and they will dig in and then grab the opening. Make it more open like Scotland and they'll run in tries from all quarters.
Get in front against an Irish side who are not only without Murray but full back Rob Kearney and they won't hold back. England to win by 13 plus points at [3.35] looks a tempting bet in the Winning Margin market.
Jones has developed a culture of chasing excellence, and seeing Vunipola line up will have as powerful a positive effect on the other England players as it will be intimidating to Ireland.