Scotland v Wales, Six Nations, Murrayfield Stadium
2:15pm, Saturday 9 March
The Six Nations is back after another break and we’re now into the home run of the final two rounds of games. It’s Scotland and Wales getting the action started this weekend. Can Gregor Townsend’s side halt a rampant Welsh team intent on sealing another Grand Slam?
Big news coming out of the Scottish camp this week is that captain Greig Laidlaw is set to be benched for this game with Ali Price being brought in to replace him. It’s one of four changes to the squad as Townsend looks to pick his team up after their 27-10 defeat to France.
A proposed merger between regional sides Scarlets and Ospreys has left Welsh rugby in turmoil this week. Warren Gatland has played the issue down insisting his players are focused. It’s a game that’s far from a guaranteed win.
We think Wales will just have enough to sneak through this latest test and extend their record-breaking winning streak to 13 matches.
Wales -4 @ 2.00 with Betfair
Wales HT/FT @ 2.25 with William Hill
England v Italy, Six Nations, Twickenham
4:45pm, Saturday 9 March
Wounds may still feel fresh for England’s players after their gut-wrenching defeat to Wales two weeks ago but there’s no time to wallow in self-pity. Eddie Jones must ensure his team bounce back with immediate effect against tournament minnows Italy here.
England have never failed to win against Italy. Ever since their first meeting back on October 8, 1991, at the World Cup, the English have dominated this fixture. This has particularly been the case over the last five years where England have won by at least 21 points in each meeting.
Italy are simply looking to avoid humiliation here. World Rugby has proposed a relegation play-off that could be introduced to the Six Nations in 2022. That cranks the pressure up on Italy to start delivering results. A first win in this competition since 2015 seems unlikely and we wouldn’t be surprised to see England romp home to a convincing 30 plus points win.
England -33 @ 2.00 with BetVictor
Jonny May Hat-Trick @ 6.00 with Betfair
Ireland v France, Six Nations, Aviva Stadium
3pm, Sunday 10 March
It’s been a disappointing Six Nations campaign for both of these sides so far. Ireland were being tipped as potential Grand Slam candidates and France were expected to put in a strong title challenge by some quarters in the media.
Unfortunately, both have suffered. Ireland received a hammering at home to England in their opening game and France also felt the pain of loss at home in their first match against Wales. Joe Schmidt’s side have bounced back with wins against Scotland and Italy. The French have since gone on to also lose to England but picked up their performance levels to beat Scotland in their last match.
In hindsight, it seems the England defeat was more a bump in the road for Ireland. It seems a more serious issue for France with the Scotland win being more an exception than the rule. This could be a difficult game for the French who could have their hopes of finishing in the top three ended here.
Ireland -13 @ 1.83 with Betfred
Anytime Try Scorer: Jacob Stockdale @ 1.91 with Betfair
Arsenal v Manchester United, Premier League, Emirates Stadium
4:30pm, Sunday 10 March
The Premier League throws up a huge fixture in the battle to qualify for next season’s Champions League when Arsenal host Manchester United. These two clubs have already met twice this season with both teams fighting out a 2-2 draw in the league in December before United won 3-1 in the FA Cup in January.
Unai Emery’s side are 5th in the league and just one point behind their opponents for this game. The Gunners are unbeaten in four league games and confidence is high again. The draw against rivals Tottenham last week will give them every belief they can take all three points here against an in-form United side.
Under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the Red Devils are resurrected. The midweek win over PSG in the Champions League has written another chapter in the club’s folklore. The Norwegian has won every single one of his away games in charge of the club.
We feel that could change here with Arsenal potentially battling out a draw, but you’d be a fool to write United off completely right now.
Manchester United Draw No Bet @ 2.20 with BetVictor
BTTS @ 1.53 with Betfred