The Six Nations begins this weekend as England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Wales and Italy battle it out over the next seven weeks in the 128th edition of the tournament.
We’ve brought in the Racing Post’s Chris Rivers for his thoughts ahead of the opening round of fixtures, which begin on Saturday as Wales kick off their title defence in Ireland. He’s provided us with an outright tip and a treble for the first three games, which you can see and back below.
Ireland The Pick Of The Six Nations bunch
It’s that time of year again when the great and the good of rugby union gather together for the Northern Hemisphere’s flagship tournament, the Six Nations. Five rounds of tight and tense rugby lay ahead with France the 6/4 favourites to end their 12-year wait to claim the championship.
Les Bleus have assembled a frightening squad, filled from top to bottom with talent, but know all too well that talent alone won’t get the job done. Last year, France had the Six Nations title in the palm of their hands, only for a home defeat to Scotland to snatch the honour away.
Wales were the ones to profit from France’s faux pas, making a mockery of their struggles the previous year to be crowned Six Nations champions for the sixth time. Despite coming within a whisker of completing a Grand Slam in 2021, Wales are 10/1 to retain their title having been badly bitten by the injury bug in the build-up. The likes of skipper Alun Wyn Jones, George North and Taulupe Faletau are all missing, amongst others, and that could hinder the impact Wayne Pivac’s men make on the title race.
At the same price as Wales are Scotland, who have never won a Six Nations title but have shown steady signs of improvement under Gregor Townsend. The Scots scored more points and tries than they had previously in the competition, enjoying famous wins in London and Paris. Home losses to Ireland and Wales curtailed their title chances though and they’ll need to be more consistent if they want to improve on last year’s fourth place finish.
Fourth was still good enough to finish ahead of a sorry England side with Eddie Jones deciding to clear the decks after their fifth-place finish. It means the Red Rose go into the tournament with a inexperienced squad with Harlequins youngster Marcus Smith set to start at fly-half. Their preparations haven’t been helped by an injury to skipper Owen Farrell and a handful of Covid cases, while three of their five games take place away from home.
It’s therefore tough to justify supporting England at 3/1 to win the tournament, particularly when in-form Ireland are a 11/4 chance. Ireland crushed England in the final round of last year’s Six Nations and have built on that success, enjoying a hugely impressive autumn international series which included a win over New Zealand. Head coach Andy Farrell is spoilt for choice with all four regions going well domestically, while the majority of his big names are fit and firing.
Ireland’s inability to get across the tryline has slowed them down at times under Farrell but they’ve shown a far greater cutting edge of late. With momentum behind them, they look a real test for the other class act in the field, France, and the round two showdown between the pair in Paris could go a long way to deciding the title.
France will take some stopping, particularly with three games at home, but Ireland look to have the mettle to stay in the fight. With the Six Nations being as competitive as ever, it’s worth taking the extra value on the Irish winning their fourth championship in the last nine years.
11/1 Six Nations Round One Treble Tip
Ireland v Wales, 2.15pm Saturday
Dublin hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for Wales, who have lost seven of their last ten matches on the Emerald Isle, and they are unlikely to improve on that record given the absence of several experienced players. Ireland have proven ruthless at the Aviva Stadium recently with nine of their last 12 wins coming by ten points or more and they can comfortably see off the defending champions.
Best bet: Ireland to win by 11-20 points (11/5)
Scotland v England, 4.45pm Saturday
Scotland proved they can hang with rugby’s elite last year when defeating England, France and Australia, with their first victory at Twickenham in 38 years the highlight of 2021. England will want revenge for that loss but regaining the Calcutta Cup will be no easy task for an inexperienced side at what is forecast to be a wet and windy Murrayfield. Scotland are marginal underdogs to record back-to-back wins over England and are worth supporting on the handicap to at least keep it close.
Best bet: Scotland +2 handicap (10/11)
France v Italy, 3pm Sunday
Italy have lost their last 32 games in the Six Nations and are very unlikely to end that run against the pre-tournament favourites. France hung 40 points on New Zealand in their last outing as they recorded a famous win in the autumn and have had few issues brushing aside the Azzurri in recent meetings, winning 13 of the last 15 encounters by 12 points or more. Expect no mercy from Les Bleus, who won by 40 points in Rome last year.
Best bet: France -34 handicap (10/11)
Build better bets with our free betting tips, predictions and accumulators, every day.
More betting news:
3,951/1 Treble for this week’s PGA, European and Asian Tour events
Month in Sport: Super Bowl takes centre stage in February plus 39/1 acca
Who were the Premier League’s winners and losers in January?
Free Super Tips is the home of Football Betting Tips. For detailed match analysis, check out our Football Predictions for today’s games, or Tomorrow’s Football Predictions if you’re looking a little further down the road.
Related ArticlesSee All
- 1 day ago
- Free Tips
- 1 day ago
- Sky Super 6