Rugby Union

Six Nations Cheat Sheet: Best bets for France v England, Ireland v Scotland and Wales v Italy

France celebrate a tight win over Wales
France edged out Wales to remain on course for the Six Nations Grand Slam

"France appear to be close to the peak of their powers while England are in transition and could be feeling the pace after their exertions with 14 players last week."

Back France to win by 1-12 points @ 2.89/5

The Six Nations concludes on Saturday with France bidding to seal the Grand Slam and Simon Mail previews the final three matches...

France v England
Saturday, 20:00
Live on ITV

France on brink of Grand Slam glory

France are on the brink of winning the Six Nations title and Les Bleus can cap a magnificent campaign by clinching the Grand Slam with a victory over England on Saturday night. Fabien Galthie's team started the competition as the favourites and have lived up to this billing, further cementing their status as one of the most likely winners of next year's World Cup.

It has not all been straight forward for France though and they were tested in last week's 13-9 victory over Wales.

Shaun Edwards' impact, as defence coach, with France was in full evidence in Cardiff with the team managing to prevent Wales from scoring a try despite significant pressure.

It was a match which would probably have gone against them in previous years but confirmed the major progress of this world class team. Damian Penaud returns on the wing in their only change from their last win.

England demand strong finish in Paris

England will be left contemplating disappointment again in the Six Nations after falling short of mounting a title challenge. An opening defeat in Scotland was a setback and Eddie Jones' side were eliminated from contention after their 32-15 defeat to Ireland at Twickenham. The scoreline does not tell the full story though, with England competing gamely and drawing 15-15 in the final quarter despite playing almost the entire match with 14 men after Charlie Ewels' red card. Jones has sprung a surprise by starting George Furbank at full-back this weekend with Freddie Steward switching to the wing.

France are 1.412/5 favourites to seal the title with a win at the Stade de France but England, who have won the last two clashes between them, cannot be dismissed from upsetting the party in Paris. That said, France appear to be close to the peak of their powers while England are in transition and could be feeling the pace after their exertions with 14 players last week. The handicap mark is eight points and this looks fair but preference is to side with France to clinch the Grand Slam with a victory by no more than 12 points at 9/5.

Ireland v Scotland
Saturday, 16:45
Live on ITV

Ireland need help to snatch title

Ireland can still win the Six Nations but they need to defeat Scotland and hope for a favour from England.

Andy Farrell's team can accomplish their task in Dublin with comfort and clinch the Triple Crown even if the title ultimately proves elusive.

Heading into the final round of the competition two points behind leaders France, Ireland have been highly impressive throughout the tournament. Ireland's only blemish was a narrow defeat in France but their victory over England, which was harder than it perhaps should have been, keeps them within sight of the title. Second row Iain Henderson replaces James Ryan while Mack Hansen and number eight Jack Conan also return to the side.

ireland twickenham.jpg

Scotland bid to end on a high

Scotland will be frustrated with their campaign after failing to build on their Calcutta Cup win over England. Defeats to Wales and France followed and Scotland conceded three tries during their 33-22 victory over Italy at the Stadio Olimpico. Gregor Townsend has dropped fly-half Finn Russell with Blair Kinghorn taking his place.

Ireland are short-priced favourites for this match and it is hard to quibble with this against a Scotland team they have defeated in their last six contests. The hosts should again prove too strong for their opponents and a bet on a win by between 11 and 20 points appeals at 13/5. Scotland's defence has been poor this year, conceding 11 tries already, with Ireland expected to punish them in a comfortable win.

Wales v Italy
Saturday, 14:15
Live on BBC One

Wales look to sign off with big win

Wales' Six Nations title defence has not gone to plan but Wayne Pivac's team may feel one win from their four matches is a harsh return. Their opening defeat to Ireland was dismal but Wales responded with a victory over Scotland and narrow losses to England and France could have easily gone the other way.

Pivac has opted to freshen up the side with seven changes from the agonising defeat last Friday. Alun Wyn Jones returns from his shoulder injury to win a record 150th cap. Dan Biggar holds on to the captaincy with the fly-half making his 100th appearance for Wales.

Italy will take the wooden spoon yet again after falling to their 36th successive defeat in the competition last weekend at home to Scotland. There was some encouragement though with Italy scoring three times, including two tries for replacement Ange Capuozzo.

Wales are given a 29-point handicap to cover in Cardiff and there is no guarantee the hosts will achieve this. Italy stayed within 11 points of Scotland in Rome and preference is to side with a tryscorer for Wales. Louis Rees-Zammit is brought back into the team and is worth backing to cross the line.

Rees-Zammit scored four tries in last season's tournament, including one against Italy, and the rapid wing should get plenty of opportunities in this weekend's final game. Rees-Zammit will be eager to impress and an each way bet to be first tryscorer at 11/2 pays out if he crosses the line in one of the opening three tries.

Follow Simon's bets on Twitter @watfordtipster

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