Premier League Preview: Gameweek 31
I’m not sure even a two-week break was enough to get over how fantastic the last round of the Six Nations was. Wales pushed Ireland to the edge and Scotland played the game of their lives to beat England. Can Scotland pull off another upset this time around to keep their title hopes alive?
Below is a breakdown of every game, with tips for all the best action as Europe’s finest rugby tournament gets back underway.
Sat 10th Mar: 2.15pm ITV1
Scotland pulled off one of the most impressive win in their history against England two weeks ago. Not only did they take down one of the best teams in the world; they were in control from the start and dominated the breakdown throughout. Over their last five home games they have taken down England, Australia and France, as well as only losing by four points to New Zealand. Now – as we saw against Wales – they need to figure out how to travel.
Tournament leaders Ireland, on the other hand, have looked the part so far. Wales tested their depth last time out and gave them a late scare, but this is Ireland’s tournament to lose now and they have the quality to do it. It hasn’t necessarily been pretty, but this is their year.
If Scotland pull off an upset it would set up one of the most dramatic Six Nations finishes in history, with three teams potentially going into the final weekend with a chance to win it all. However, I just can’t see Scotland being the same team away from home and I think Ireland all but wrap up the tournament.
1st scoring play Ireland try 3/1
Ireland winning margin 6-10 points 4/1
Sat 10th Mar: 4.45pm BBC One
France recorded their first win of the tournament two weeks ago while England recorded their first loss, but make no mistake, normal service resumes this weekend.
Eddie Jones has lost only two games as England head coach and – needing to bounce back- has now had two full weeks to motivate his side to march into Paris and remind everyone who the best team in Europe is. Expect no mercy.
They are 7-point favourites to walk away victorious, but I expect England to win this one by double that.
England -7 point handicap 10/11
England winning margin 11-15 points 9/2
Sun 11th Mar: 3.00pm BBC One
Week in week out, it’s the same old Italy and I have little more to add this time, other than that Wales will win by a significant margin.
A good Scotland side got torn to shreds when they made the trip to Cardiff and I’m not sure I would back any team in the tournament to win against Wales on the road. For Italy this could get ugly.
It’s a huge detraction from the tournament that these games are so predictable. Failing a major shake-up – which ideally would see new teams, or a new format involved – we can for now just hold out hope that the golden age of Italian rugby is on its way.
Wales -13 point first half handicap 10/11
1st scoring play Wales try 5/4