Ireland to win the Grand Slam
This 2018 Six Nations Rugby Union Preview and Tips ignores the odds-on favourite and gets a great value selection and potential top try scorer.
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It is the time of year when the southern hemisphere is forgotten, serious club rugby is put on the back burner and the home nations take on Europe’s finest in the Six Nations. Rivalries are fierce with the close proximity of all nations involved. The tight schedule of five rounds in seven weeks adds to the drama. Plus a rise in fortunes of some of the also-rans from previous years, means this 2018 edition promises to be a thriller. It all starts on Saturday 3rd February.
England are seeking to become the first side to win the championship outright for the third year in a row. Whilst they are hampered by a number of injuries to key men their strength in depth beggars belief. They will still be formidable opponents for all. They should sweep aside the Italians in week one and momentum should build from there. At evens to win the 6 Nations, England are favourites but not great value.
Look out for the emergence of Bath’s Zack Mercer at number 8 if he is given his chance and his electric Bath teammate Anthony Watson should be seen near the top of the try scoring charts come March 17th.
Anthony Watson to be the 6 Nations top tryscorer is 12/1 and that seems like a juicy price. You can get Watson to be England’s top try scorer at 9/2 on Betfair now. Or you can get Watson as England’s top try scorer and England to win double at 14/1.
Scotland continue to impress and after a plucky defeat against world champions New Zealand in the Autumn, they blew apart an Australian team who were in good form themselves. Player of the tournament in the last two seasons, Stuart Hogg, is back to full fitness and will cause headaches to many a defence. In Huw Jones, Ali Price and John Barclay they have men in fine form all over the park. The big question is can they beat a big team away from home? A fantastic opportunity may come on the first weekend in Cardiff.
Wales are riddled by injuries to 6 of their starting 15 and don’t have the strength in depth of other nations. They showed a different style in a promising autumn. The big question is, has this year’s Championship come too soon for a new team and raw players? Perhaps in next year’s six nations and world cup players like Steff Evans, Hadleigh Parkes and exciting new wing Josh Adams may show what they are capable of. The Welsh have enough grit and know how to give each team a stern test, especially at home. AccaDoo are predicting they will sneak past the three blue teams in Cardiff but not much else.
The Irish seem to go from strength to strength. Bolstered by an excellent central contract system that gives their best players plenty of rest. They are a settled side that continues to grow in depth as the likes of Jacob Stockdale and Bundee Aki make their six nations debuts. Their style isn’t always pretty but they are extremely effective. Expect them to be too strong for most. You heard it here first.
France are likely to flatter to deceive because they wouldn’t be French if they weren’t doing exactly that. Their teams often dominate in European club rugby. However, a lack of cohesion between the clubs and the FFR often leaves their national team in the mire. BUT they can never be ruled out. Their game against the Italians in the new surroundings of the Velodrome in Marseille on a Friday night should be a spectacle. Well worth a watch.
And that just leaves Italy themselves. Plucky, enthusiastic, hard-working but ultimately not very good. Connor O’Shea may be doing a good job but AccaDoo can’t see past another wooden spoon. Cue more underwhelming performances, despite the recent improvement in their Pro 14 teams. Italy are 500/1 which means if you spent £1 on them to win, you’d lose your pound.
Ireland to land the Grand Slam at Twickers?
Accadoo predict the championship will boil down to the penultimate game on the last weekend. Can the Irish reverse recent fortunes and beat England in Twickenham? We’re saying yes and have Ireland at 7/2 to seal the Championship and a Grand Slam. Get your money on Jacob Stockdale at 14/1 to be the top try scorer. If you want a bit of fun, bet on Italy to score less than 6 tries all tournament at better than evens.
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