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Six Nations preview and predictions with 40/1 & 13/1 tips

Updated on 4:10pm GMT 3 February 2023
Six Nations preview and predictions with 40/1 & 13/1 tips

The Six Nations gets underway this weekend and we’ve recruited the Racing Post’s Chris Rivers for his best bets ahead of the tournament.

Chris has picked out his winner and provided a 40/1 top tryscorer option and a 13/1 treble for the first batch of games – read on to see who he is backing.

A monumental year of rugby union kicks off with the latest edition of one of its crown jewels, the Six Nations. After a difficult 12 months for the sport, the battle to be the top side in the northern hemisphere is a welcome distraction, and this year’s tournament is shaping up to be extremely intriguing.

Ahead of the Six Nations getting underway on Saturday, 4th February, take a look at our best bets for the tournament, including a 40/1 outsider for top tryscorer.

Six Nations outright tips

Ireland to win the Six Nations

1st Ireland, 2nd England – Six Nations Straight Forecast

The outright betting for this year’s Six Nations is dominated by just two teams with Ireland and France, the top two in rugby’s world rankings, priced up as the cream of the crop.

France are the reigning champions, ending a 12-year wait for a Six Nations title in some style last year with a Grand Slam. Their march to the top prize forms part of an ongoing 13-match winning run which has also seen them claim the scalps of New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.

Les Bleus are building a head of steam towards hosting this year’s World Cup but the Six Nations could provide a bump in the road. France play three of their five matches away from home this season with tricky trips to Dublin and London on the calendar.

France are missing a few key players through injury, most notably Cameron Woki, Gabin Villiere and Jonathan Danty, while star man Antoine Dupont hasn’t been at his best of late.

Waiting in the wings is Ireland, a team more than good enough to take advantage of any drop in standards by France with Andy Farrell having assembled a frightening squad that boasts a fearsome pack. Ireland’s set piece is top class too and while relying on a 37-year-old Johnny Sexton as your first-choice fly-half is a concern, he continues to get the job done.

Sexton was part of the Ireland side that claimed a first-ever series win in New Zealand last summer before a strong autumn series and the majority of their squad enter the Six Nations in fine fettle based on the form of URC leaders Leinster, who provide 20 players in the 37-man squad.

Ireland also play three away games this year but their trips are less daunting than France face and they should end a five-year wait for a Six Nations title.

Chasing them home could be a reinvigorated England side, who have the potential to play the spoiler role in either France or Ireland’s Grand Slam quests.

Steve Borthwick has replaced Eddie Jones as head coach and has talked a good game so far. He is looking to bring clarity and an identity back to England, two things that were missing under Jones, and his track record from his time at Leicester suggests England can make a quick turnaround.

Teams under new coaches tend to do well in the Six Nations, with Jones winning back-to-back titles in his first two years as England boss and the Red Rose’s squad has the quality to seriously challenge for the top prize right from the start of Borthwick’s reign.

Six Nations top tournament tryscorer tip – Ange Capuozzo 

Italy have uncovered a gem in World Rugby’s Breakthrough Player of the Year for 2022 Ange Capuozzo, who first came to the rugby world’s attention in last year’s Six Nations.

The diminutive 23-year-old, who has a natural ability to glide past defenders, finished just one try shy of last season’s top tournament tryscorer, Damien Penaud of France.

Capuozzo has since gone on to score five tries in seven Tests for Italy and forms back of a lightning-quick back three for the Azzurri that could give a few teams issues this year.

Italy should no longer be dismissed out of hand. They have some good young players coming through and should be far more competitive this year than in recent Six Nations.

And the crown jewel in their revival is Capuozzo, a special talent that’s worth taking a chance on at 40/1 to be the top tryscorer – an honour that’s been scooped with as few as three tries in two of the last six tournaments.

13/1 Six Nations First Round Treble

Wales v Ireland

Best bet: Wales +7.5 

Ireland might be the team to beat heading into this year’s Six Nations, but history shows winning in Cardiff doesn’t come easy to the having lost on five of their last six visits in this tournament.

With Warren Gatland back at the helm for Wales, they can push Ireland close again and look value with a 7.5-point start given eight of their last ten home test matches have been decided by seven points or fewer.

England v Scotland

Best bet: England to win by one to 12 points

England embarks on a new era under head coach Steve Borthwick, who can get off to a winning start at the expense of Scotland.

These matches have been closely fought affairs in recent years with the last five being settled by 12 points or fewer and Scotland are unlikely to surrender the Calcutta Cup to the Auld Enemy without a fight.

Italy v France

Best bet: France to win the first-half by one to eight points 

Italy showed some encouraging signs in 2022 when beating Wales and Australia, and got into the habit of starting Test matches well. The Azzurri could give France plenty to think about in the first 40 minutes and while Les Bleus’ extra quality should see them go in at the break with their noses in front, it may not be by much.

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