Six Nations Matchday Four Preview & Tips5 min read
England v Wales
First-Half Handicap: England -5.5
England temporarily enhanced their Six Nations title hopes with a dominant win against Ireland but the situation remains up in the air with their final round trip to Italy postponed due to the coronavirus.
Eddie Jones’ side started the competition poorly in their defeat to France but rallied with a hard-fought win in Scotland followed by their 24-12 victory over Ireland at Twickenham.
England controlled their match against Andy Farrell’s side with tries from George Ford, Elliot Daly and Luke Cowan-Dickie clinching the victory.
Grand Slam champions Wales have struggled during their title defence with an opening win over Italy followed by back-to-back defeats against Ireland and France.
Wayne Pivac’s side had their chances against France in Cardiff but failed to take their opportunities as the visitors held on for a 27-23 win. It was Wales’ first home defeat in the Six Nations for three years.
England are 2/13 favourites to secure a third successive win and the hosts look well-placed to achieve this.
Wales, who will be without Josh Adams after the wing suffered a tournament ending ankle injury, make no appeal at 4/1.
England led 17-0 at half-time against Ireland and are backed to make another fast start this weekend. The favourites appeal to cover a five-point first-half handicap at 4/5 in another comfortable win, even if their title hopes are dashed.
Scotland v France
France to win by 1-7 points
France are the only team with the chance to win the Grand Slam and Fabien Galthie’s rejuvenated team are in pole position to win the Six Nations title.
This talented, young team have interspersed newfound resolve with their undoubted natural talent to win their opening three matches.
The appointment of Shaun Edwards as defence coach has undoubtedly proved an inspired move with the former Wales supremo galvanising a previously brittle France team.
After their opening wins against England and Italy, France were pushed to the limit by Wales as they edged to a four-point victory. Fly-half Romain Ntamack excelled for Les Bleus with a try in his 17-point haul.
Previous France teams would have found a way to lose this match but their resilience was on show in Cardiff as they denied the champions.
Scotland eased the pressure on coach Gregor Townsend with a much-needed 17-0 win in Italy. It was an ugly match, aside from captain Stuart Hogg’s superb individual effort, but the importance of the result outweighed the style of the victory.
Despite failing to secure a winning bonus point, the victory provided a welcome lift for Scotland and enables them to target this weekend’s match as they search for back-to-back wins.
Winning at Murrayfield is rarely easy but France should be confident about maintaining their unbeaten run with a fourth victory this weekend.
There is an abundance of flair throughout the France backline and their creativity should provide outlets to exploit Scotland.
This France team is no longer a soft touch and there is little chance of them being bullied by the hosts.
Scotland can cause them problems but there are more match-winners in the visiting team and the Six Nations leaders can move a step closer to the title with a victory by up to seven points at 13/5.