6 Nations Rugby Round 3 Match Previews

After a weekend off, the RBS 6 Nations returns with three very important fixtures that could play a key role in determining overall positioning in this year’s competition. If England manage to win this weekend at home, they will all but wrap up the title, while other teams will be jostling for second best and avoiding the wooden spoon. With the biggest game of the tournament scheduled this weekend and all players (bar France) fighting out for British and Irish Lions positions, it should be some interesting test match rugby. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter (@S15_TheProfits) for game coverage, expert insight or just for a chat.

Best Bet 1: Wales -7.5 @ $1.85 – Sportsbet
Best Bet 2: Ireland -2 @ $1.90 – Sportsbet

Italy ($3.82) versus Wales ($1.27)

Week three gets underway with the inconsistent Azzurri up against a Welsh side, fresh off an upset win over France in Paris. It was only a matter of time before a talented squad from Wales returned to the winner’s circle and they did it by grinding out a solid win in a slugfest. Rome isn’t a happy hunting ground for Wales and the battles are usually tense, but the Welsh have experienced players who should lead their team forward and not let complacency get in the way. They head into the match with a settled side and one that has talent right across the park.

Italy head into this matchup having been comprehensively outplayed in Scotland and their poor road record took another hit. Back in front of a passionate crowd this week, they will head into battle without their superstar and captain Sergio Parisse, which is a huge blow. This is reiterated with the head-to-head odds. Italy will look to target the Welsh scrum and it will be anchored by the newly in charge captain, Martin Castrogiovanni. Like Parisse, week after week he puts his body on the line, predominantly in the tight and he embodies everything a captain should.

The winner of this match will move safely out of contention for the wooden spoon for now, however, the loser will only be able to cling onto their performance against the French for any sort of confidence moving forwards. Italy have changed their halves combination and I suspect this will disrupt their game significantly and I can see Wales getting on top early and pulling away in the back half of the match to secure a comfortable victory. It took nine long games to achieve a win, but Wales should notch up their second in Rome and keep their 6 nations title defence alive.
Predicted resultWales to silence the crowd and win in Rome @ $1.27 – Sportsbet
Best Bet 1: Wales -7.5 @ $1.85 – Sportsbet
Confidence70%

England ($1.31) versus France ($3.52)

Rugby HQ in London will take centre stage on Saturday when an underperforming French team looks to halt England’s campaign in front of a packed house. Very rarely do the French lose three fixtures in a row and the pressure will all be on England. Before the tournament began, the majority of pundits, including myself, would have circled this match as the tournament decider. Although France look to be out of this, they could very well set up a team like Wales for a late surge with a win this weekend.

The French haven’t won at Twickenham since 2005, however, the come well equipped with players selected in their preferred positions and in my opinion, one of their stronger teams of the competition. England have selected a settled forward pack and opted for Courtney Lawes at blindside flanker, which will give them an additional option at lineout time. Their backline remains balanced and the clash of the centre combinations will be enormous: Barritt and Tuilagi versus Fofana and Bastareaud. What more could you ask for? A match like the Highlanders versus the Chiefs perhaps? Okay, I won’t go there.

England are unbeaten and France are winless. Educated logic suggests only one outcome, however, a French team with their backs against the wall is an extremely dangerous prospect. Ask the All Blacks. With home field advantage and a Grand Slam on the horizon, we are in for an exciting encounter. Will it be a third successive defeat for France or a third successive win for England? I’m going with the latter and basing this on momentum and cohesion and the 82,000 screaming fans.
Predicted resultEngland to win a close one @ $1.32 – Sportsbet. These odds are way too short and there are solid arguments for both teams to prevail, so I will not offer a best bet option and will enjoy the game for what it is.
Confidence60%

Scotland ($2.23) versus Ireland ($1.67)

The final match of the round sees Scotland welcome an injury-stricken Irish team to a cold Murrayfield in Edinburgh on Sunday. Scotland are coming off an impressive, all-round performance against the Italians, while Ireland head north after a competitive loss in a try-less match against tournament favourites, England, in Dublin.

Scottish coach, Scott Johnson, will want his team to improve on their imposing performance against Italy, where they scored four tries, courtesy of their big backs and ability to capitalise on turnover ball. Youngster Stuart Hogg, enhanced his burgeoning reputation and has put up a very good case for a trip down under in June. He has really come of age in this tournament and is an exciting player to watch and has a bright future in the game.  Scotland have only made one enforced change after last week’s victory with prop, Euan Murray, unavailable for selection due to his religious beliefs, given that he doesn’t play games on Sunday. Nevertheless, the crowd at Murrayfield will be pumped with a chance for Scotland to move further up the table, but Ireland will certainly not be pushovers this weekend.

In their first match, Ireland comprehensively outplayed their opponents in the first half, whereas against the English, they left it until the second half to show what they are capable of. Unfortunately, two injuries to Simon Zebo and fly half, Johnny Sexton, really halted their momentum and England’s Owen Farrell kicked the penalties when they needed them most. Ireland’s 10, 11 and 12 jerseys will feature new owners this week and it will be interesting to see how they combine, with Luke Marshall playing his first match for the men in green in the inside centre position.

An expert 6 nations statistician, @rpetty80 of Planet Rugby, has pointed out that in the RBS 6 Nations, Ireland haven’t won consecutive matches since mid-2010 and haven’t recorded consecutive losses since 2008. I see them getting up this weekend in Scotland and keeping their campaign alive.
Predicted result Ireland to win away from home @ $1.67 – Sportsbet
Best Bet 2: Ireland -2 @ $1.90 – Sportsbet
Confidence75%

Author

Glenn Paton has followed rugby union for 15 years and has expert knowledge on the game freely committing to over 500 viewing hours a year. Having played with and against some current Super Rugby players and International superstars, he understands the game, the players and the laws inside out. Having been born in South Africa, spent time in New Zealand and currently living in Australia, Glenn lives and breathes rugby. With so many different tournaments happening around the world simultaneously and the addition of Rugby Sevens to the Olympic program, there are always plenty of healthy betting options available. An obsession, a passion, call it what you will, Glenn enjoys sharing his insight, opinions and predictions with anyone who wants to listen.

Specialities: Super Rugby, 6 Nations, Rugby Championship, International Tests, Currie Cup, ITM Cup, Rugby Sevens

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Glenn

Glenn has followed rugby union for 19 years and has expert knowledge on the game freely committing to over 500 viewing hours a year. Having played with and against some current Super Rugby players and International superstars, he understands the game, the players and the laws inside out. Having been born in South Africa, spent time in New Zealand and currently living in Australia, Glenn lives and breathes rugby. With so many different tournaments happening around the world simultaneously and the addition of Rugby Sevens to the Olympic program, there are always plenty of healthy betting options available. An obsession, a passion, call it what you will, Glenn enjoys sharing his insight, opinions and predictions with anyone who wants to listen.

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