Simon Mail previews the fourth round of the Six Nations and thinks Wales offer a spot of value in the big clash with England...
"The last three meetings between the sides have all been won by Wales and this weekend's visitors struck a decisive blow in their emphatic 30-3 win to snatch the title off England 12 months ago."
England v Wales
Sunday March 9, 15:00
Live on BBC One
The game of the weekend pits England against defending champions Wales and both sides know their title hopes rest on winning at Twickenham on Sunday. The hosts have impressed in all three matches so far and Stuart Lancaster's side could easily have won all of their matches. An unlucky defeat to France was followed by mature victories over Scotland and Ireland. Only one change is made with Ben Morgan replacing injured forward Billy Vunipola. This young England team is improving all the time and will have revenge on their mind for the drubbing to Wales in Cardiff last year.
Wales have still not given up on a historic third consecutive title but Warren Gatland's side cannot afford any more slip-ups. His team were well beaten in Ireland in the second round but showed their character and class in a one-sided win over France two weeks ago. The significant team news is Jonathan Davies makes his first international start since November and the centre partnership with Jamie Roberts, which served the British and Irish Lions so well last summer, is reunited.
The last three meetings between the sides have all been won by Wales and this weekend's visitors struck a decisive blow in their emphatic 30-3 win to snatch the title off England 12 months ago. The hosts start the match as narrow favourites but the Welsh have the advantage in terms of experience on the big stage.
The return of Davies alongside Roberts is a major boost for Gatland and could be enough to tip the scales in their favour for a narrow away victory. Although Wales look decent value to win the match, it could be worth backing England's Luther Burrell to continue his burgeoning international career with another try. The centre scored twice in his opening two Six Nations matches and can get off the mark at Twickenham at a tempting price.
Back Wales to win by under 12.5 points at 3.55/2
Back Luther Burrell to score anytime at 4.3100/30 in the Sportsbook
Ireland v Italy
Saturday March 8, 14:30
Live on BBC One
Ireland have this year's title in their own hands with two matches to go. Their points difference is a big advantage and means victories in their last two games should be enough to clinch the championship. Coach Joe Schmidt has transformed their fortunes leading them to big wins over Scotland and Wales. The Irish were edged out by three points in England but there were still plenty of positive signs in defeat. With only one change to the side and Johnny Sexton fit to start, a convincing win will be expected.
Italy are facing up to the likelihood of the wooden spoon after losing their opening three matches. The Italians blew a great opportunity to beat Scotland and this defeat will have been a tough one for them to take. Captain Sergio Parisse misses out this weekend with a leg injury and his absence will be a big loss for the rank outsiders.
This result looks beyond doubt and it is just a case of working out how much Ireland will win by. Italy did beat them last year but are coming up against a much-improved Irish team this time around. Four of their last five wins over Italy have been by at least 18 points and another big scoreline is on the cards.
Ireland will not want to let this title opportunity slip and should brush aside their opponents. It could be worth taking between 2.5 and 4.5 match tries at a decent price with Ireland virtually unbackable at their odds. One of those tries could easily come from Rob Kearney and the full-back looks overpriced to add to his tally of two so far in this year's competition.
Scotland v France
Saturday March 8, 17:00
Live on BBC One
Scotland revived their campaign with a dramatic victory in Rome two weeks ago. The visitors looked down and out but two tries from Alex Dunbar and a late drop-goal from Duncan Weir stole the win. This result and the second-half fightback is likely to have given the Scots a huge lift heading into their final home match. Head coach Scott Johnson has recalled captain Kelly Brown after the Saracens forward was dropped for the last two games. Brown will not lack any motivation after being omitted and is likely to produce a big performance.
France started the competition with two wins but neither was particularly convincing and this was exposed when they were totally outplayed in Wales. There still look like there are plenty of problems within the French camp and they could be there for the taking at Murrayfield. Philippe Saint-Andre has made seven changes to the team and has several key players missing with Louis Picamoles dropped and centre Wesley Fofana injured.
Although France have dominated when up against Scotland, their indifferent recent performances and poor away form makes them avoidable at such a short price. Les Bleus have gone seven Tests without a win away from home and it may be worth laying a patched up France to win at odds on this weekend. Scotland should be lifted by their last match and also look a decent proposition with a six-point handicap in the Sportsbook.
Lay France at 1.392/5
Back Scotland +6 on the Sportsbook handicap at 2.245/4
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