Six Nations: Ireland to respond to setback with Italy victory

Ireland need to respond in Italy after losing to Scotland in their opener
Ireland need to respond in Italy after losing to Scotland in their opener

Simon Mail previews the second weekend of the Six Nations with Ireland heading to Italy and France hosting Scotland...


"The Irish have dominated recent clashes with Italy having beaten them in 21 of the last 22 meetings. Ireland thrashed them last season 58-15 but there have been some tight contests such as the 16-9 victory in the 2015 World Cup and the 13-11 win in Rome in 2011."

Italy v Ireland
Saturday, 14:25
Live on ITV

Italy were extremely competitive for an hour last weekend but Conor O'Shea's side were ruthlessly punished in the second half of their 33-7 home defeat to Wales. Despite leading 7-3 at half-time the Italians were unable to hold out. But the team have the chance to get off the mark with another game at the Stadio Olimpico this weekend.

Ireland came into the competition fancied by many to reclaim the title but their campaign got off to a disappointing start. The Irish made too many mistakes and a sluggish first half left them trailing Scotland at Murrayfield. Joe Schmidt's side fought back to edge in front but two late penalties sent Ireland to a 27-22 defeat.

The Irish have dominated recent clashes with Italy having beaten them in 21 of the last 22 meetings. Ireland thrashed them last season 58-15 but there have been some tight contests such as the 16-9 victory in the 2015 World Cup and the 13-11 win in Rome in 2011. This makes it very difficult to evaluate the handicap mark of 23 in Italy's favour and suggests it is worth looking elsewhere for a bet.

Overwhelming favourites Ireland are unbackable in the win market but you can gain a tempting price by doubling the visitors up with a points prediction. The last four clashes in Italy have seen no more than 47 points scored in a match. An Ireland victory with 52 points or less is available at 11/10 and this looks worthy of support.

Recommended Bet
Back Ireland to win and under 52.5 points @ 11/10 (Sportsbook)


France v Scotland
Sunday, 15:00
Live on BBC One

France came to life with an encouraging opening performance at Twickenham despite falling to defeat. Guy Noves' side came out of the match with plenty of credit and were on course for a surprise win after taking a 16-12 lead. England came back to snatch a 19-16 victory but the display has given Les Bleus something to build on in the tournament.

Scotland made a superb start to the Six Nations after their thrilling home win over Ireland. Vern Cotter's side delighted their fans at Murrayfield after claiming a 21-8 lead. The Irish rallied to edge ahead but two Greig Laidlaw penalties fired Scotland to only their second opening round win in the competition.

The visitors should take plenty of belief into the contest especially after their 29-18 home win over their opponents in last season's competition. But France have won ten of their last 11 clashes underlining the task facing the visitors. Scotland have not won in France since 1999 so history is against them but this could be an opportunity to support the underdogs.

Scotland are given a six-point handicap start, with Betfair offering top price on this market, which appeals. Cotter's side have had several near misses and there is every chance they will push the French all the way. Backing the Scots at 3.65 may be a slightly risky proposition but their current form and confidence suggests the visitors can at the very least limit their opponents to a narrow win.


Recommended Bet
Back Scotland +6 to win @ 21/20 (Sportsbook)


Follow Simon's bets on Twitter @watfordtipster


2016/17 Rugby P/L

Staked: 83pts
Returned: 82.1pts
P/L: -0.9pts

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