England will look to kick off the defence of their Six Nations title with a bang when they welcome Scotland to Twickenham on Saturday.
The Red Rose regained the Calcutta Cup with a 13-6 triumph at Murrayfield 12 months ago before going on to land the Six Nations on points difference ahead of France.
Saturday’s clash, which gets underway at 16:45, marks the 150th anniversary of the sides’ first meeting as Scotland seek to mark the occasion with a first win at Twickenham since 1983.
The most recent encounter between the two nations at HQ proved hugely excited after England raced into a 31-7 half time lead, only for Scotland to perform a heroic second-half comeback to earn a 38-38 draw.
Prior to that draw, England had enjoyed some comfortable victories over their neighbours, winning by 40 points in 2017 and sealing a 12-point triumph in 2015.
England’s home form suggests they should have the tools to add another victory to their tally on home soil, having enjoyed a 14-game unbeaten streak with 13 wins during that sequence.
England to win by 6-10 points at
19/4 looks the value bet in this one when taking into account their performances after losing in the 2019 Rugby World Cup final to South Africa.
Eddie Jones’ men have only topped 30 points twice in the nine games following that defeat, while Scotland’s recent improvement in defence, having ended the 2020 Six Nations with the best defensive record, suggests they can frustrate England.
France to Make Fast Start
France narrowly missed out on Six Nations glory in 2020 as they finished runners-up and they will be desperate to go one better this time around.
Kicking off their campaign with a trip to Italy, who finished bottom in 2020, looks the perfect way to get an early bonus-point victory on the board.
Italy lost each of their five engagements last year and conceded a campaign-high 178 points.
Les Bleus eased to a 35-22 victory in February 2020 before backing that up with a 36-5 win in the Autumn Nations Cup to extend their winning run over Italy to 10 matches.
The five-time Six Nations champions have recently earned a reputation for making a fast start on the road and that is likely to be the same when they land in Rome.
Indeed, France have scored more points in the first half during five of their last six outings, and therefore backing the highest-scoring half to be the opening 40 minutes at
11/10 looks the way to go.
Ireland Can Extend Streak
Ireland have enjoyed their recent meeting with Wales, winning each of the last four engagements, however, it’s worth noting that three of those victories have come on home soil.
The last three encounters have been played out in Dublin with the winning margin increasing on each occasion as they ran out victors by 23 points in the Autumn Nations Cup in November.
Wales will hope a return to home soil can steer them back in the right direction but after finishing fifth in last year’s Six Nations, losing four times, the signs don’t look too positive.
Ireland’s last visit to the Principality Stadium ended in a 22-17 triumph and they offer value to win by 1-12 points at
5/4 this time around.
*All odds correct at time of writing