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The rugby world cup last autumn is a good marker for this upcoming six nations tournament. England fell agonizingly close to winning their second rugby world cup but were upstaged in the final by South Africa, who in the end won the match well.
England performed very well throughout the tournament winning their pool comfortably and then beating Australia in the quarter-final and their best performance against New Zealand in the semi-final. Unfortunately, England couldn’t repeat their performance against New Zealand and couldn’t bring the trophy home.
England had some top performers during the work cup in Owen Farrell, Jonny May, and George Ford who all played superbly well in their respective positions. However, the key player to stand out was Mario Itoje who was very impressive against New Zealand especially. Given the forward position he played is important Itoje looks a top prospect.
Naturally, with a runner up position at the world cup, England goes into this Six Nations tournaments as favourites at odds of 1.9 (10/11), however, they may not find it their own way.
WALES IN THE SIX NATIONS
The next best performer from Europe during the world cup was Wales. They were narrowly defeated 19-16 in the semi-final of the world cup and played a good tournament. They just rain out of steam in the 2nd half of the semi-final and were undone by the forward strength of the South Africans, but they can be proud of themselves and a few key standouts were Leigh Halfpenny and Dan Biggar who both should be fit and ready for this six nations tournament.
As defending champions, the pressure will be on Wales to deliver a repeat performance however they have to visit England and Ireland during the tournament which won’t be easy.
Next best after Wales was Ireland and France. Ireland were heavily defeated by New Zealand in the quarter-finals and with a squad who is aging they will need young talent to come through to keep them in the race for this years tournament.
Ireland will always be competitive, but they may well miss out on glory given France, England and Wales have better squads.
The French are improving and have a good crop of young talent coming through which could cause problems in this tournament. They were defeated 20-19 by Wales in the quarter-final and there isn’t much between these sides and the French will be well prepared for this tournament.
France opens this year’s tournament with a home match against England who may still be wounded by that final loss to South Africa. If so France can pounce with home advantage and newfound confidence in the backs and forward line. With Italy at home after that, France outperforms their odds of 8.0 (7/1).
As mentioned England are hot favourites to land the six nations at 1.8 (4/5) but we would be wary of advising punters to go in on an odds on price when this tournament should be very competitive and close.
Ireland are 5.0 (4/1) to win the tournament and like France, Ireland will have to get off to a great start with a win over Scotland to have any chance of lifting the trophy in March. They have back to back home matches and after Scotland, they face Wales at home before heading to Twickenham to face England.
Wales are next best at 7.0 (6/1) to win the six nations and have a nice schedule on paper to lead from the front and do well. They start with a home match against Italy which should be a comfortable victory.
Our top tip for the six nations may be a surprise to many but the young French team can cause a lot of problems and with the increased power in their forward ranks and more flair in the backs, the French can defeat England in the opening match follow up with another victory over Italy. They travel on the road to Wales and Scotland then the final match, which may well be the key match is at home to Ireland.
Our next tip is in the ‘Grand Slam’ Winner market. This market is won if a team successfully wins all their matches. England are the most likely team to win at the odds on the best sportsbooks of 2.62 (13/8), but our top tip for this market is now a winner at 2.25 (5/4). This is our best bet for the tournament as the quality of the teams is high and it’s likely that each team will suffer at least one defeat, meaning.
8.0 (7/1) France to win the Six Nations Tournament
2.25 (5/4 ) No winner of the Grand Slam