Six Nations

Six Nations Betting Tips: England to stay in title hunt with Wales victory

George Ford playing for England
George Ford scored 17 points in England's win in Italy

The second round of the Six Nations takes place this weekend and Simon Mail previews games including England v Wales and Scotland v France...

  • England tested in Italy opener

  • Scotland bid to topple France

  • Ireland target grand slam repeat

England v Wales
Saturday, 16:45
Live on ITV

England avoid early scare in Rome

England ended a run of four opening defeats in the Six Nations but were made to work very hard for their victory in Italy. Trailing at half-time, Steve Borthwick's team recovered to grind out a 27-24 victory to set them up for this weekend's clash at home to Wales.

Alex Mitchell's second-half try helped England rally but the margin of victory was an eye opener and the team remain a work in progress. Five debutants featured in Italy, with flanker Ethan Roots the standout performer in the victory. England have selected an unchanged team for the first time since the 2019 World Cup final.

Wales lost their extraordinary opener against Scotland but only after a remarkable fightback in Cardiff. Warren Gatland's team looked down and out, trailing 27-0 but scored four tries to give their opponents an almighty scare.

The way Wales finished the 27-26 defeat will give them momentum to take to Twickenham. Gatland has made seven change for this weekend, with centre George North fit to make his 50th appearance in the Six Nations. Fly-half Ioan Lloyd, Tomos Williams and Alex Mann are promoted to the team after instigating last week's second-half comeback.

England have won three of the last four matches against Wales and home advantage should again tip the balance in their favour. The last four contests have been settled by no more than 10 points and this is likely to follow suit. England's attack has not been blowing opponents away and a victory by up to 12 points at 2.3211/8 stands out at Twickenham.

Back England to win by 1-12 points @ 2.3211/8

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Scotland v France
Saturday, 14:15
Live on BBC One

Scotland end wait for Cardiff win

Scotland made a winning start to the tournament after their thrilling win against Wales and will face a major test of their credentials against wounded France this weekend. Gregor Townsend's team secured Scotland's first victory in Cardiff for 22 years but only after holding off a fierce fightback.

Duhan van der Merwe scored twice to help Scotland race into a 27-0 lead before almost squandering their huge advantage. Co-captain Rory Darge is fit to start in the back row with Jamie Ritchie missing out on a place in the team. Grant Gilchrist returns from a ban to replace injured lock Richie Gray.

finn russell wales.jpg

France must recover from their opening night defeat against Ireland. The pre-tournament favourites were well below par and could not recover after the sending off of lock Paul Willemse. France undoubtedly missed the flair and touch of Antoine Dupont but Damian Penaud remains a likely matchwinner after another try in Marseille.

Scotland, with fly-half Finn Russell offering a major attacking outlet, are a tempting proposition as slight outsiders at 2.8615/8 with France uneasy favourites at 1.618/13. A reaction can be expected from Fabien Galthie's team after their opening loss but playing at Murrayfield is not easy. Scotland won their last match played in Edinburgh against France two years ago and the hosts appeal with a five-point handicap advantage. The last two clashes have both resulted in Scotland staying within five points.

Back Scotland +5 to win @ [Evens]

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Ireland v Italy
Sunday, 15:00
Live on ITV

Champions Ireland stun France

Ireland started their grand slam defence with an outstanding victory in France on the opening night. Their dominant win emphasised Ireland are the team to beat again this year in the Six Nations. It also proved there was no hangover from their World Cup disappointment for Andy Farrell's team.

The 38-17 win was their biggest victory away to France with Ireland running in five tries. Early scores from Jamison Gibson-Park and Tadhg Beirne put the champions in control and they would not relent to assume firm favouritism for the title.

Italy came away with plenty of credit from their opener against England but were once again beaten. Tries from Alessandro Garbisi and Tommaso Allan earned Italy a half-time lead in Gonzalo Quesada's first match in charge as they gave England a scare in Rome.

Ireland are unbackable to win this match with the outcome surely a formality. Italy though showed enough promise, in outscoring England by three tries to two, to side with them given a healthy handicap advantage. Ireland's margin of victories in last year's two matches against Italy was kept within 16 points. Italy look worth supporting given a 34-point head start in Dublin.

Back Italy +34 to win @ [Evens]

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