After what has been an incredibly exciting and unpredictable start to the Six Nations tournament this year, we now head into the third week of action before we have a one week’s break followed by the final two weeks of this year’s event.
Prior to the tournament, bet365 Sport had Ireland and France as the two clear favourites, with England next, Scotland fourth, Wales fifth in the betting and Italy, the expected outsiders for the tournament.
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However, this year’s event has not quite gone as the bookmakers expected with Scotland’s outstanding performances putting them right in the thick of things at the top of the table after two games, while World Cup hosts later this year, France, have struggled somewhat.
That’s a worrying turn of events for the French who had hoped to be well along the way to building a potentially World Cup winning side on home soil later this year.
Let’s now recap how the action has unfolded in this year’s Six Nations, before we bring you the latest standings, followed by our preview and tips for this weekend’s matches.
Remember, if you would like a bet on the game, then you have a wide range of markets available at bet365 Sport throughout the tournament and of course, for this autumn’s Rugby World Cup.
Six Nations Round Up
Week 1 Results
Interesting stats from Wales v Ireland
Andrew Porter 7 (none at scrum time)
Rest of Ireland team 6
— Overthehillprop (@Overthehillprop) February 4, 2023
Ireland produced an outstanding first half display to rock Wales and take a commanding 27-3 lead into the interval. Tries from Caelan Doris, James Ryan and James Lowe, with 12 points from the boot of Johnny Sexton left the indisciplined Welsh reeling in the wake of the Irish.
An improved display in the second half from Wales saw them dominate the ball, but they could only muster one try, while Ireland added their fourth through Josh van der Flier.
This was an ominous start for teams hoping to beat the Irish, who lived up to their Number 1 world ranking in this display.
Scotland retained the Calcutta Cup with a superb victory over England, with winger Duhan van der Merwe scoring two brilliant ties to take the Scots to a huge win over the Auld Enemy in front of over 81,500 fans at Twickenham.
In a game that saw the lead change hands several times, the Scots went in front thanks to Huw Jones, only for Max Malins to score for England.
Then came the moment of the game as van der Merwe produced one of the best Six Nations tries ever, beating five tacklers from halfway to put the Scots in the lead, although England led 13-12 at the interval thanks to Malins second try and a Farrell penalty.
Despite extending their lead in the second half through Ellis Gene, England could not hold on as White pulled Scotland close and then after a penalty kick apiece, van der Merwe scored the final try of the game to hand the Scots a fantastic and deserved victory.
Italy produced a fierce fight against the French in Rome, but ultimately fell just short of what would have been a huge upset win against the Grand Slam Champions of last year.
France started well scoring three tries in the first half from Thibaud Flament, Thomas Ramos and Ethan Dumortier, but Italy kept pace with the French scoring an Ange Capuozzo try plus three penalties from Tommas Allan.
Italy cut the lead still further when they were awarded a penalty try and then went in front thanks to another penalty kick from Allan. However, Matthieu Jalobert came off the bench to score the crucial try for the French who then hung on late in the game as Italy pushed for an unexpected win.
Week 2 Results
France came into this game unbeaten in their last 14 games, but the French were overpowered and outplayed by a brilliant Ireland. In a breathless first half, the teams went in with Ireland leading 22-16 after Hugo Keenen, James Lowe and Andrew Porter scored tries for the home side while Penaud with a try and Ramos with three penalties responded for France.
In the second half, Ireland absorbed France’s early pressure before kicking a penalty and then they secured the bonus point with a fine try from Garry Ringrose as they held the French at arms length for the remainder of the game.
It was a fitting clash between the top two in the World Rankings and it means Ireland take a huge step forward towards the Grand Slam in this year’s competition.
Scotland ran in five tries to score a big bonus point victory to keep them apace with Ireland at the top of the Six Nations table. George Russell scored Scotland’s first try after two penalties but was then sin binned for a dangerous tackle and during that period, Wales scored their only try of the game by Ken Owens.
In the second half, Kyle Steyn added two excellent tries for the hosts and then Matt Fagerson finished things off nicely late in the game to secure a big win for the home side who also landed the Doddie Weir cup on the back of this win.
It was more a pragmatic than spectacular win for England as they earned their first points of the Six Nations with a good display against an improving Italy. England led 19-0 at the interval thanks to tries from Jack Willis, Ollie Chessum and Jamie George.
An Italian try early in the second half through Mario Riccioni put Italy back in touch, but a penalty try put England back in a healthy lead before Italy scored again through Alessandro Fusco.
However, Henry Arundel’s late try gave England the breathing space they needed and secured the win.
Current Six Nations Table
Week 3 Fixtures, Preview & Tips
Saturday 25th February
Italy gave France a scare in their first game of the tournament, but we have already seen Ireland dominate both Wales and Scotland, the former on the road, and I would expect the Irish to be far too strong for the Italians here.
Score Prediction – Italy 10-38 Ireland
Our Top Bet – Ireland to win b 26-30 points – 6/1 with bet365.
Warren Gatland will want a reaction from his Wales team after two poor showings in their opening two games and they face an England side who have only beaten Italy so far. Wales have won the last three times the teams have played at the Millennium Stadium and this promises to be a close game which could go right down to the wire.
Score Prediction – Wales 20-23 England
Our Top Bet – England to win by 1-5 points – 4/1 with bet365.
Sunday 26th February
This is a hugely important game for the destination of the Six Nations title. A France win would open the door for an Ireland Six Nations win and potenetial Grand Slam, whereas a Scotland win would mean that their game with Ireland on Week 4 at Murrayfield would be a likely Championship decider.
Score Prediction – France 18-20 Scotland
Our Top Bet – Scotland to win by 1-5 points – 6/1