It is less than a week now before the 2001 RBS Six Nations betting gets underway, with the Friday night lights shining down at the Millennium Stadium as England head across the border to face Wales. England are favourites in the betting to take the Six Nations crown this year, and that is fair enough, considering their much improved performances over the autumn, which finally saw them cut loose a little bit, and develop something of an attacking edge. It was not prolific, there are definitely still kinks to work out of the master plan, but this Six Nations is huge. The teams need to be ready, as this will provide those all important competitive matches ahead of this year’s Rugby World Cup. So with the fixture list drawn for the opening weekend, what can we expect from the combatants. Well, England are standing out front with the online bookmakers and in all likelihood, none of the teams look good enough to complete the Grand Slam. England still have their faults, so do Ireland. France will always be a threat, but even they have their weaknesses at the moment. Really the tournament is wide open, and you have to have a look at those away fixtures. England have to be looked at as the favourites, they are improving where the other nations seem to be stuttering just a bit. Therefore they will rightly be front runners, but this is going to be a close, hard fought tournament.
RBS Six Nations Fixtures 2011
Friday, 04 February 2011
Wales v England
Saturday, 05 February 2011
France v Scotland, Italy v Ireland
Saturday, 12 February 2011
England v Italy, Scotland v Wales
Sunday, 13 February 2011
Ireland v France
Saturday, 26 February 2011
England v France, Italy v Wales
Sunday, 27 February 2011
Scotland v Ireland
Saturday, 12 March 2011
Italy v France, Wales v Ireland
Sunday, 13 March 2011
England v Scotland
Saturday, 19 March 2011
France v Wales, Ireland v England, Scotland v Italy
2011 RBS Six Nations Betting Tips
So where to go with your betting? The first market in which you want to look, is the Six Nations Grand Slam betting odds. You can use a bit of reverse betting here, and pick No Grand Slam, which will pay out at 4/6 at Paddy Power. That is the favourite in this market and really makes a sound bet. It all least should guarantee some return and makes a pretty good Six Nations betting tip. If you want to push the boat out on this market, then England are the favourite nation to do the Grand Slam, but best priced at 11/2 at Totesport, you can that it really isn’t expected. What about the Triple Crown between the home nations? Well, again you can picked a healthy 15/8 at Paddy Power for No Winner in this market, and again England are the only team who look to have a chance at pulling it off, and they are 3/1 at Totesport to win the Triple Crown. The away matches against Ireland and Wales may scupper that dream. Italy are 2/5 favourites at BetFred to finish bottom, and that should pretty much be a banker. As for the winner market, well here are the outright odds along with previews for the hopes of each nation:
Still in that mould of potential more than being able to deliver. They should win their home matches here at the Six Nations, but there are still question marks over them, enough to warrant looking at them losing their away matches (against Wales and Ireland). England did develop more of a running game and took the Aussies and the Kiwis on when they came over in November. England still fell short against the All Blacks, and were pretty much mailed by the South Africans as well. As for all of the hype about England being a much better team than they have been for some time, well, that probably can’t be argued with. They need to find improvement from their third place finish last year, and hopefully the Six Nations will be the perfect testing ground for the team to gel together even more, and work out the flaws which are still in the team. The midfield is far from perfect defensively and with Captain Lewis Moody out, manager Martin Johnson probably won’t be able to select his preferred starting fifteen. Moody’s partner in the back row Tom Croft will also miss the Six Nations, both big blows. But Johnson has also lost Courtney Lawes, which is perhaps one of the big elements missing from the pack, as the rampaging Lawes looked mightily impressive in the autumn internationals. Those are England’s two most mobile forwards, and that could have a major impact on how they play. Will hey go back to a static, set piece, territorial game? England will be without Delon Armitage, who has picked up an 8 week ban. But what England managed to do over the autumn, was to finally bring a bit of flair into the side, and that is in the shape of Ben Foden from Full Back, Ben Youngs and Chris Ashton, who is an incredibly talented and exciting young winger. England simply are not going to win the Grand Slam, the opposition, who always like to give the English a hard time, will make sure of that. The final match of the campaign in Ireland, really looks as if it will be the make or break one, and with having lost on all three of their last visits to Wales, England are not guaranteed of anything. They need to find the balance between the new found running game, and holding shape in defence. They have a big chance at winning the Six Nations with three home games, but they do still carry a very poor away record of late, and that will be the dampener on the whole Grand Slam party. Well worth a punt, but simply not consistent, or refined enough as a unit to win all of their matches.
Not quite sure what has happened to the Irish really. Two years ago they were rampaging their way to the Grand Slam, but now they are struggling for victories, and a bit soft in the centre. There is a proud rugby tradition in Ireland, but the balance of power seems to have shifted back in favour of England to be honest, particularly at club level. The fixtures have been kind to them this year, as they get home advantage for their main rivals for the Six Nations title, France and England. Ireland won a couple of games in the Autumn, but there is something from missing from them, that spark that has made them one of the strongest forces in the Six Nations. Something is not right, as it is not with England, but England seem to be going forward, while Ireland seem to be looking to stop the slide backwards. There is still quality in the side, like Brian O’Driscoll, but the best days of the golden generation of Irish rugby has probably gone, and they need to take stock and rebuild. A bad campaign here could mean the end for coach Declan Kidney, and while his team may be past their best, he has to get the young blood in there now to work alongside the experienced heads. They may be without Tommy Bowe and Andrew Trimble though because of injury. They do have a good record at home against England and France, so they will still be hopeful of gunning for the Six Nations. It is unlikely that they are going to win the Grand Slam anytime soon, but those two home matches will be crucial to their overall performance. The Irish have had their struggles on the road, just like England, and lost to Scotland last year in a shocker.
What has happened to Ireland? What has happened to France? They were awesome in last year’s Six Nations, ball retention, running, forward power, defense, there was a lot to be admired about them. The wheels rapidly fell off though in the autumn, including an embarrassingly heavy defeat against Australia, by a score of 59-16. The French simply had no fight in them, and their defence is completely in tatters at the moment. They will concede tries in the Six Nations, more so than many will expect them too. The key games for them this year will be the visits to England and Ireland, so they don’t have a very friendly fixture list awaiting them. The French will still be unpredictable, and you never know, coach Marc Lievremont may well put out a side which makes a clean sweep of the Six Nations. That is just a far fetched example of how unpredictable the French could be. For your Six Nations betting, one of the most crucial factors is the fixture list. They are not at their best, but should still win matches and be close in the running for the Six Nations title. They always make an exciting World Cup side, but they need to step up from where they were in the Autumn. They looked incredibly short on confidence for some reason, and it does not take too much to fracture the spirit of the French. They can be got at in the packs this year, and will lose games. Most likely those crucial away ones.
Well, they have a new captain. Alastair Kellock, after leading Scotland through the autumn internationals, keeps his job, and will try and give them hope of better things to come. Coach Andy Robinson really has done a fantastic job with them, and they are the most in form team of all the competitors going into the 2011 Six Nations. That’s right, after beating Ireland in the last round of the 2010 Six Nations, they had a great rest of the year. You may remember them beating Australia. You may remember them beating South Africa as well. In fact, the only blot on their copy book in the last six Test Matches, was a thrashing dealt out by the All Blacks, which, all things considered, is nothing to be ashamed of. Andy Robinson has made Scotland very hard to beat. No, they do not have the flair, or quality of personnel that the likes of France and England can call upon, but they have a great team ethic and spirit, which the other nations could be envious of. As for the Six Nations in 2011, well, Scotland aren’t going to win it. They are pencilled in again as one of the runners for the Wooden Spoon, perhaps harshly, given the positive strides forward which they have taken. Have a great chance to take out Italy and Wales up at Murrayfield, and will probably rattle the Irish again. However, their away trips may just break their resolve, as they have to go to Twickenham and to the Stade Francais, and the Scots haven’t won at either of those places in the last five matches at each venue. You really should see a much improved Scottish side, and one that should pick up a couple of victories at least. They should beat Wales and Italy, the crucial one should be against the Irish really, a match which could move them well clear of the bottom (if you are writing off the away games as defeats).
The Welsh will be chomping at the bit to get their teeth into the improving England at the Millennium Stadium in the first match of their campaign. Coach Warren Gatland needs to pull some kind of miracle out of his hat, if he is to keep the Welsh fans happy. They are on a run of seven straight defeats, and they need to turn to their great record against England to give them some confidence ahead of the rest of the Six Nations campaign. That match will probably make or break the Welsh to be honest. If they can eek out a fourth consecutive win over England at the Millennium Stadium, then they will set themselves up well. A defeat, and they will be wondering where the next win is coming from, and that is because it will be a long way to fall after getting so hyped up against the auld enemy. The problems for Wales really lie in their defensive frailties. They just have not got any staying power, and have no clue as to how to see out a game. They blew some strong leads during 2010, and what really set the Welsh fans groaning was an absolute dire performance in which they could only draw with Fiji. It was that bad. They have lost Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones, which will weaken their front line, the last thing they want when trying to take on the might of England’s front row. Suddenly Wales find themselves behind Scotland in the pecking order, and they won’t be happy with that. There are winnable games, one against Italy (in Rome) and perhaps their only other best chance is a spirited rousing affair against the Irish at the Millennium Stadium, because Ireland haven’t got a great record there. There is no poster boy Gavin Henson to add a spark in the three quarters, there is a little indecision as to how Wales will actually line up at the back, with James Hook, Lee Byrne, Stephen Jones and Jamie Roberts all looking to hold their favoured places down. However, when Wales start tossing the ball around in the backs, they look a threat. They haven’t got the defensive power to back it up, and have a weak front row in the scrum. Wales are a long way from their Grand Slam winning year of 2008, and may well find themselves scrapping it out with Italy for the wooden spoon, although only in terms of finishing fifth, as they aren’t going to be worse than the Italians.
Well, they have still really to make an impact since joining the Six Nations, and again they will be favourites to finish last. The Italians do have a good crop of young players coming through though, and that should finally give them some good hope for the years ahead. They look to be on the right track finally, but they need time and experience to really step up. It is hard to picture the Italians going out and winning two matches in the campaign this year, but there are a couple of matches which they could be targeting. First of all they get to face Wales in Rome, and if Wales are having one of their off days, their defensive is poor enough to be rattled by the Italians. The strength of the Italians will be in their front row actually, and this is where they could get into teams and perhaps cause an upset. They are not going out looking to be world beaters at all, they seem to understand that this is an ongoing process. The only other team that Italy have beaten in the Six Nation apart from Wales is Scotland. But Italy face Scotland at Murrayfield, and you really don’t bank on Italy going away and picking up a victory. It would be hard to see them doing that, even if Scotland weren’t the much improved side that they are at the moment. With tough trips to France, England and Scotland, the Italians are going to come up short again. Hopefully they won’t just be the whipping boys, and some fairly solid performances in the autumn internationals suggest that they are going to get better over time.