Six Nations Round Four: England’s march to continue?

By Brian Rucker, My Club Betting Rugby Correspondent

After a week off, the Six Nations returns this weekend and it couldn’t be more tense!

As expected, it’s England and Ireland vying for the title, with Scotland sitting closely behind in third. They’ll be getting a nosebleed soon…

The Scots will be brought back down to earth at Twickenham this weekend though and while Italy host France in the basement battle, Wales and Ireland kick things off on Friday night.

That’s where I’ll begin…

Wales v Ireland (Friday @ 20:05)

I’ve given the Welsh a lot of flack in recent times, so why change the habit of a lifetime…

You wouldn’t think things could get much worse for Wales after their shambles of a display in Scotland, but they need to prepare themselves for the worst. It’s going to hurt!

Why? Because come Friday evening, the Welsh will have lost to Scotland, England and Ireland in the same year in the five/six nations for the first time since 2003… Ouch!

The Irish will punish Rob Cowley’s side, who make way too many unforced errors, which will set up a lovely title decider in Dublin next Sunday against England. I’m already rubbing my hands…

Don’t get me wrong though, Ireland haven’t got much boasting to do. Let’s face it, they’ve only beaten Italy and France so far and that’s not exactly difficult.

They’ll win this one. It’s just a shame it will only give them false hope ahead of England’s victory next week!


Italy v France (Saturday @ 13:30)

Is there any point to this one? Well it is the Giuseppe Garibaldi Trophy I guess…

I suppose it does give France a chance to feel better about themselves following their defeat in Ireland two weeks ago.

To bounce back from their defeat against England, with a win against the Scots but then to lose against Ireland just proves that the French are as consistent as my bowel movements and trust me, that’s not a good thing…

They’ll surely have enough to beat the whipping boys in Rome, but this does look like Italy’s final chance to get any points on the board because they don’t stand a chance at Murrayfield next week.

Oh, who am I kidding, another wooden spoon is in the post!


England v Scotland (Saturday @ 16:00)

It’s Calcutta Cup action at Twickenham and I’d put my daughter’s new pony on England to continue their march towards back-to-back Grand Slams. My life wouldn’t be worth living if I lost that one, so trust me when I say it’s going to happen!

I could not think of a better opponent for England to secure a record equalling 18th consecutive victory against…

The Scots could actually win the Triple Crown on Saturday afternoon but there’s more chance of that happening than Donald Trump telling the truth.

Yes, they’ve picked up wins against Ireland and Wales but England aren’t Ireland and Wales. Thank god!

Eddie Jones’ side haven’t even put in a good performance yet and they’ve won every game. It’s been like taking candy from a baby…

Enjoy another win lads!


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Six Nations Round Three: More Welsh misery on the cards…

By Brian Rucker, My Club Betting Rugby Correspondent

Are you ready for another scintillating weekend of Six Nations action? Well I am!

It’s only been two weeks since England crushed Welsh hearts, Ireland battered the whipping boys Italy and France brought the Scots back down to earth but it’s felt like a lifetime!

The weekend of action kicks off at Murrayfield on Saturday and ends at Twickenham on Sunday afternoon and here’s my thoughts on how things will unravel…

Scotland v Wales (Saturday @ 14:25)

I’ve had some unconfirmed reports over the last fortnight that every shop in Wales sold out of tissues following their 21-16 defeat to England!

Those shelves better be re-stocked because the demand will be high once again come Saturday afternoon when the Welsh get battered in Edinburgh…


Captained by John Barclay, the Scots will have to improve on their awful set-pieces which so far, have been as successful as a Wayne Rooney hair transplant.

Do that and they’re onto a winner. The Welsh will try to bully Scotland but what always happens to bullies? They get found out. Wales will be no different. Tissues at the ready folks…


Ireland v France (Saturday @ 16:50)

This game is being billed as the clash which could keep the title hopes alive of the winner but let’s be honest, it’s the decider for second place because neither have the balls to win it.

Yes, the Irish crushed Italy two weeks ago with nine touchdowns but come on, Sutton United’s former pie eating goalkeeper could get into that Italian side!


France did what the Irish couldn’t a fortnight ago in beating Scotland but they reminded me of a dying cat struggling to get home, as they stumbled across the line to record a 22-16 victory in Paris.

Ireland will win this one but that’s only because the French wings are as strong as the British economy…

Don’t get too excited though. It’s only second place after all.


England v Italy (15:00)

Are you ready for a cricket score? I hope so because that’s what we’re going to get!

In fact, England’s class of 2001 should enjoy their last few days of being the record point’s scorers in a Six Nations game.

Surprise, surprise they registered 80 points against Italy 16 years ago and it’s the Italians who will be on the end of yet another drubbing on Sunday afternoon.


They’ve managed 17 points so far, but Eddie Jones’ men will have scored more than that in the opening 20 minutes at Twickenham!

It could be that bad that the Italians have to declare a national day of mourning on Monday.

RIP Italian Rugby…


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The Premier League is taking a break this weekend, with the Euro 2016 Playoffs and International Friendlies taking its place.

But don’t fret, that hasn’t stopped our tipping team, who have researched all the weekend action to provide you with these top tips.

All the odds provided are an average from across the industry and were correct at the time of publish.


Dzeko: Talisman

These two sides had very similar Euro 2016 qualification campaigns. Both sides started slowly, but eventually recovered to finish third in their respective groups and claim a playoff place. Bosnia (2.05) were pipped to qualification from Group B by Belgium and Wales, while the Republic of Ireland (4.10) successfully fended off neighbours Scotland to claim the Group D playoff spot.

The two sides have only met on one previous occasion, with Shane Long scoring the winner at The Aviva Stadium three years ago.

Edin Dzeko and Miralem Pjanic are the heartbeat of this Bosnia side. Both men are currently plying their trade with Italian giants Roma, with their link-up play becoming equally lethal for club and country.

Martin O’Neil will be hoping that experienced Stoke pair Jonathan Walters and Glenn Whelan can continue their recent impressive club form while on international duty.

Bosnia only lost one game at home in qualification, and we don’t see that changing on Friday night. We are going for a home win here.

KICK OFF: FRIDAY 13TH @ 19:45 (SS1)



Hodgson: 100% record in qualification

It may surprise many, but England are currently in better form that their Spanish counterparts. Roy Hodgson’s men won every single game in Euro 2016 qualification and are unbeaten since their World Cup loss to Uruguay back in June of last year.

That said, Spain (1.85) also sailed through qualification. However, they did lose in recent friendlies against Holland, France and Germany.

England (4.75) were 1-0 winners in the last meeting, with Frank Lampard netting the winner at Wembley back in 2011.

International friendlies usually mean squad rotation and experimentation. We certainly expect that to be the case on Friday night and expect both sides to blood some more youthful options.

Tottenham pair Dele Alli and Erik Dier were both called up by Roy Hodgson and we anticipate both playing a part after equally impressive performances against rivals Arsenal last week.

We can see an open game in Alicante and really fancy both sides to get on the scoresheet.




Coleman: Doing a fine job

Chris Coleman has done a fantastic job since taking over as Wales (4.20) manager in 2012. The Dragons successfully qualified for Euro 2016 after coming through a very tough group that included Belgium, Bosnia and Israel. Along with this, they also made their way into the top ten of the FIFA World Rankings for the first time.

It has been a completely contrasting story for Holland (1.95) since their third place finish in last year’s World Cup. After a disastrous start to their Euro 2016 qualification campaign, Guus Hiddink vacated his managerial position. However, his successor Danny Blind was not able to turn things around, with Holland failing to get even a playoff spot after finishing fourth in Group A, meaning they won’t be present at Euro 2016.

Aaron Ramsey will miss this one with injury, while Real Madrid star Gareth Bale has been rested. The two men were instrumental in qualification, contributing to a vast number of their countries goals during the campaign. That said, senior players such as Joe Ledley, Chris Gunter and Ashley Williams will play, with all possessing the ability to stabilise the side in their absence.

The hosts are a huge price for this one, even without Ramsey and Bale present. We see Wales getting a draw here – at the very least.




Andriy Yarmolenko: Talented

From an historical standpoint, it is surprising to see Slovenia (6.50) as big outsiders for their European Championship qualifying playoff first leg, since they have never lost to Ukraine in four previous meetings. Slovenia have won both meetings at home and each meeting saw over 2.5 goals scored.

Ukraine (1.65) won three of their last four group games at home, their only loss coming at home to Spain, while Slovenia lost three of five road games in England’s group.

Slovenia’s group wins in Lithuania and San Marino were expected, but it must be remembered that they scored in each game against England and in each of their last eight group games.

Ukraine conceded just four goals in their qualifying matches and are technically sophisticated, with two excellent wingers who have the ability to open up some of the best teams in the world.

We feel Ukraine should have enough to pull out the win here.




Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Dominant

The first leg of this European Championship qualifying playoff game is expected to be a tight affair.

Denmark (3.45) have won the last four meetings with Sweden, who have failed to score in the last five meetings. Nine of the last 12 meetings has seen less than three goals scored and Sweden have won three of their five home games in qualifying, against minnows Moldova, Liechtenstein and Montenegro. They also lost 1-4 against Austria and drew 1-1 with Russia.

Denmark were also far from convincing in their qualifying group, but they did post a notable away win in Serbia, and took road points at Albania and Armenia. Their sole losses in the group came against Portugal (1-0 home and away), but they failed to score in their last three group games.

We see Sweden (2.40) gaining a first-leg advantage, albeit a narrow one.




Pogba: Key man for France

France (3.00) are the hosts of Euro 2016, meaning they didn’t need to qualify for the tournament. While some may argue that such a scenario is a blessing, others will argue that a lack of competitive action for two years can have a detrimental effect on a team.

England (2.40) have not beaten Tuesday’s opponents in any of their last six meetings, with their last victory coming back in 1997. The last meeting between the two sides took place at Euro 2012 and ended in a 1-1 draw.

Paul Pogba is the key man for Didier Deschamps side. The powerful Juventus midfielder has the ability to dominate opponents, both tactically and physically. Pogba has been instrumental for France since his debut in 2013 and has been constantly likened to countryman Patrick Vieira.

Of the last ten meetings between these sides, only one has ended with more than two goals being scored. That stat, combined with both sides evident strength in defence, leads us to believe that this one will be a low scoring encounter.



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The wait is finally over! The Rugby World Cup kicks off on Friday night as England host Fiji.

All roads lead to Twickenham, where the Final will be played on October 31st.

We hope our pool-by-pool betting guide, constructed by our man Calum Chinchen, can provide you with some winners along the way.

Remember to keep checking out the MCB WordPress site ( for regular betting previews on a variety of sports.

All prices quoted are an average from across the industry… we wish you the best of luck!

New Zealand: Defending champions


Hosts England have looked more than efficient in their warm-up games and were particularly impressive in victories over France and Ireland. Anthony Watson is England’s key man at the moment and the speedy Bath fullback will be hoping to carry his Aviva Premiership and World Cup warm-up form into the tournament itself.

Watson: Speed merchant

Home advantage will be massive for Stuart Lancaster’s men, who are second favourites to lift the famous Webb Ellis cup. We fancy them to advance as from Pool A as winners.

Australia come into this tournament after winning the 2015 Rugby Championship, a tournament involving themselves, Argentina, New Zealand and South Africa. The Wallabies looked terrific throughout the tournament, beating tournament favourites New Zealand along the way and finishing with a 100% record. They haven’t got the best World Cup record of late and they have not reached a final since losing to England in 2003. That said, they will have no difficulty advancing from Pool A and we fancy them to finish second behind the hosts.

Wales are not in the greatest form and we can see them struggling throughout the tournament. Key players Leigh Halfpenny and Rhys Webb have been ruled out of the tournament, with coach Warren Gatland cursing his luck after both were injured in warm-up games.

Wales will find it very difficult to get vital results against both England and Australia, thus we don’t see them finishing in the top two.

Uruguay and Fiji are the other two teams in this pool and we see the latter possibly causing the so-called ‘big boys’ a little difficulty along the way.



Habana: Experienced

South Africa are the strongest team in Pool B, and by a considerable distance. The Springboks had an extremely tough time in the Rugby Championship over the summer, losing all three games. We just feel the lack of strength within the group, coupled with the presence of experienced stars Bryan Habana, Jean de Villiers and Schalk Burger will be more than enough to see South Africa top the pool and advance to the next stage with a 100% record.

Scotland won’t be too downhearted by being drawn in this pool and it looks as though it will be a straight battle between themselves and Samoa for second place. The clash between the two sides at St James Park comes in the final round of fixtures, and looks as though it will be crucial for both nations. We think it will be tougher for Vern Cotter’s men than most people expect, but fancy influential captain Greg Laidlaw and experienced hooker Ross Ford to guide the Scots to the next round at the expense of their Samoan counterparts.

We can’t see Japan or the USA troubling any of the other three teams in Pool B, and we can only see the two sides gaining points when they play each other. We see Samoa comfortably finishing in third position here.



There is absolutely no doubt who is going to come out on top of Pool C. New Zealand are the clear tournament favourites and we can see them winning every match in the pool with real ease.

The All Blacks suffered a shock defeat to rivals Australia in the Rugby Championship, which cost them the trophy. However, we don’t see that having a negative effect on them during this campaign.

McCaw & Carter: Final World Cup

Experienced flanker and skipper Richie McCaw will be looking to lift the Webb Ellis Cup, in what will be his last World Cup. Iconic fly-half Dan Carter will also be participating in his final World Cup campaign and will be looking to make amends after only playing two games of the 2011 tournament which the All Blacks captured.

Argentina would have been delighted with the draw and will more than fancy their chance of advancing. Although they will accept that the All Blacks will be too strong for them, they will also feel more that confident of beating the other three sides in the group and qualifying behind New Zealand.

Tonga will no doubt give Argentina competition for the converted second place in Pool C. Captain Nili Latu will be vital for the Tongans. The former Green Rockets star recently signed for the Newcastle Falcons and is equally capable when playing on the flank or at number 8. We see Tonga running Argentina close, but we just can’t see them doing enough to qualify.

The other two sides in the group are Georgia and Namibia, and we can see the presence of two minnows alongside the phenomenal All Blacks leading to a massive number of tries within Pool C.



Zebo: Vital for Ireland

Ireland are favourites to win Pool D. Although they have never advanced further than the Quarter Finals in a World Cup, they do come into this tournament in good form after winning this year’s Six Nations title. Speedy winger Simon Zebo will be key for the Irish, along with fly half Jonny Sexton who has recently joined Leinster after a successful two years at Racing Metro.

France aren’t in the greatest form, but they always seem to have the capability to pull a rabbit out of the hat on the World Cup stage, as they showed in 2011 when they reached the final.

However, there have been rumours of disharmony within the camp and reports suggest that they aren’t happy with the facilities or surroundings at their Croydon base (now there’s a shock!). We fancy them to advance, but see them finishing second in Pool D, behind this Irish.

Italy area vastly improved side, and will cause both France and Ireland difficulty. Sergio Parisse is an icon amongst Italian rugby fans and will once again captain his nation at the tournament. The instrumental Stade Francais talisman is widely regarded as one of the greatest number 8’s in modern rugby, and will be vital for his side as always. That said, we just can’t see them doing enough to get a victory against the big two in the pool and can’t see them advancing to the next stage.

Canada and Romania make up the numbers in Pool D and we can’t see them causing any upsets if we are honest.



We fancy the hosts England to make it all the way to the final, where they will more than likely be facing an incredibly strong New Zealand side.

We just can’t see the All Blacks being stopped and think they will cruise to World Cup glory on October 31st at Twickenham.


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By Calum Chinchen

The Premier League may be taking a break, but that hasn’t prevented us from providing you with some fantastic tips for the week.

As you may know, we at are still in the process of launching our new sportsbook, meaning that our betting services are still unavailable.

However, after our recent tipping success, we really wouldn’t want you to miss out on our winning selections.

Euro 2016 Qualifiers are on the menu this week, and we have selected tips from six of the biggest fixtures taking place over the week.

We wish you the best of luck…


Lewandowski: Prolific

It has been far from plain sailing for Germany since they lifted the World Cup last summer. Joachim Low’s side got off to a slow start in European Championship qualification, suffering a 2-0 defeat against Friday’s opponents and dropping points at home to the Republic of Ireland.

Poland have looked very solid so far, they find themselves top of the group and are still unbeaten.

Germany are a side in transition. Former defensive lynchpins Phillip Lahm and Per Mertesacker have been missed since retiring from the national team. However, they do seem to have a found some form of late.

Poland usually rely on two men who play their club football in Germany. Robert Lewandowski and Jakub Blaszczykowski will both have to be at their best if Poland are going to get a result here.

It might not be great value, but we still fancy Germany to win this one.




Hodgson: Top of group

for Euro 2016 has been a breeze for Roy Hodgson’s men. England are unbeaten so far in this campaign and find themselves at the top of Group E after impressive away wins against Slovenia and Switzerland.

Unsurprisingly, San Marino are bottom of the group with only one point. England were convincing winners in the reverse fixture, winning 5-0 at Wembley last October.

San Marino are solely focussed on damage limitation whenever they play a competitive fixture. They are yet to score a goal in Euro 2016 qualification, and they rarely venture past the halfway line.

This will be like a training session for Roy Hodgson’s side and there is no doubt that they are going to be comfortable winners in Serravale on Saturday evening.

We fancy a very high scoring encounter here.




Bale: Star performer

Coleman has worked wonders since taking over as Wales manager. The former Fulham and Real Sociedad gaffer has guided his country to an impressive top 10 world ranking.

Israel are a very dangerous outfit, who have impressed with group wins against both Bosnia and Cyprus. Wales were dominant in the reverse fixture, with Gareth Bale grabbing a brace in their convincing 3-0 win in Haifa.

There is no doubt that Coleman has been blessed with a magnificent squad since taking over. Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey are the country’s star men, and both have been magnificent throughout this qualification campaign.

The Israel back four are certainly not the quickest, and we think that the pace of Bale and fellow winger Hal Robson-Kanu will cause them all sorts of bother.

We can see goals in this one and fancy Wales for the win.


KICK OFF: SUNDAY @ 17:00 (SS1)


Keane: Predator

The Republic of Ireland have found Euro 2016 qualification a little tricky so far. Martin O’Neill is yet to guide his side to victory against any of the so called ‘big boys’ in Group D, however the Irish did earn a key point away in Germany.

Georgia have been poor throughout this qualification campaign and that was evident when Ireland grabbed a vital 2-1 win in the reverse fixture, after a late Aiden McGeady wonder strike in Tbilisi.

Robbie Keane has been in fine form in the MLS this season, and the prolific LA Galaxy frontman will be vital for Ireland in this one.

Martin O’Neill hasn’t seen his side keep a clean sheet against any team in the group other than Gibraltar, so getting on the scoresheet against the Georgian’s is going to be hugely important.

We can see goals here & fancy both teams to score.


KICK OFF: MONDAY @ 19:45 (SS2)


Strachan: Leader

Gordon Strachan has transformed the Scottish national side since taking over in 2013. The former Celtic manager took over an ageing Craig Levein team that was lacking in confidence, and turned them into a slick youthful unit which operates with fast, attacking football.

The Tartan Army were unlucky in the reverse fixture a year ago, losing 2-1 in Dortmund after a late Thomas Muller winner.

Germany struggled earlier in the group, but the World Champions look to be a little more settled now .

Scotland’s only real weakness lies in the centre forward position. Steven Fletcher and Chris Martin have been unconvincing in recent outings so Leigh Griffiths may get the nod.

We think the link-up play between Muller, Mesut Ozil and Mario Götze will be just too much for the Scotland – we fancy an away win here.


KICK OFF: MONDAY @ 19:45 (SS1)


Rooney: Out of form

England return to the familiar surroundings of Wembley on Tuesday evening. Roy Hodgson’s men have been fantastic throughout qualification, with the highlight being their 2-0 away win against Tuesday’s opponents a year ago.

Switzerland are arguably the second best team in Group E, behind their Wembley opponents. Former Lazio boss Vladimir Petkovic took over the managerial reins from Ottmar Hitzfeld after last summer’s World Cup.

Swiss maestro Xherdan Shaqiri has recently moved to the Premier League, and Stoke City’s record signing is the key man for his country.

England will start with either Harry Kane or Wayne Rooney as the lone striker, and in truth neither have looked convincing for their clubs so far this season. Switzerland are a very organised outfit, and we can see them making things very difficult for the hosts.

We fancy this Swiss side to get a draw here – at the very least.



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International rescue – MyClubBetting midweek Euro 2016 Qualifiers Betting Preview

Bobby MooreInternational week is a bit of a nuisance for those of us who like to have a flutter on Premier League and Championship matches.

Yet there may still be value to be found within the myriad of European Championship Qualifiers – even if England’s two games against whipping boys San Marino and Estonia mean we are looking for correct scores rather than looking at the win/draw markets.

San Marino visit Wembley on Thursday (Oct. 9) where, on their previous two visits, they were thrashed 6-0 and 5-0.

Quite what side Roy Hodgson will plump for – and don’t get us started about Liverpool’s refusal to release Daniel Sturridge for International duty – it won’t make much difference; England will run riot. While it won’t be anywhere near their record 13-0 beating of Ireland in 1882 and, while we are unlikely to see a fifth England player net five goals in a game (Malcolm Macdonald was the last), we will look for a comfortable 4-0, 5-0 or 6-0 victory.

The best bet on Thursday has to be Macedonia to beat Luxembourg. The visitors have momentum on their side, following two 1-1 draws: away to Italy in a friendly and at home to Belarus in their opening 2016 Euro Qualifier.

But Macedonia will be put to prove a point after being thumped 5-1 by Spain in their Group C opener, a game that was closer than the final score suggests.

Macedonia are 16/41 to win but the 11/10 for Macedonia to be leading at HT and FT looks a tempting price, and we like the look of more than 2.5 goals to be scored at 21/25.

Friday’s Euro 2016 Qualifiers are less enticing, although the way Wales struggled to beat Andorra last month means it is no great shock that Bosnia-Herzegovina are favourites to beat them at Cardiff City Stadium, which is likely to see a record crowd.

Yet we should take the Welsh at their word – last time out the artificial pitch was a real leveller and Gareth Bale and company really are a much better outfit than they showed.

Have faith that the enthusiastic crowd will lift Wales to a narrow home victory at odds of 43/20.

The Borat plan: Kazakhstan will park the goat

Holland should beat Kazakhstan, even if the visitors park the goat, but as with Italy (who will see off Azerbaijan) odds will be extremely restrictive.

So, for Friday’s double, let’s continue along the positive theme by backing goals in the clash between Turkey and the Czech Republic, as the trends dictate.

Six of the last seven meetings between the two have yielded three goals or more and it is 6/5 that three goals or more are scored this time. The more adventurous will jump on the 3/1 offered that four goals or more are scored, as has been the case in four of their seven meetings.

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Something for the weekend – your wager persuaders – Six Nations (March 8-9)


England v Wales

The RBS 6Nations Championship is heading towards a climax, and while both sides will naturally want to win, this is as much a pointer to see where each nation is going into the 2015 World Cup.

Wales are almost where they want and expect to be. Warren Gatland’s side have been together for some time. England are quickly emerging as a major force and what some units lack in experience, they make up for in depth and quality.

Many see Wales as contenders for the World Cup semi-final, yet they failed to convince against Italy and were completely out-classed by Ireland. They are rushing back Jonathan Davies and will also be boosted by fellow British and Irish Lion Alun Wyn Jones.

Wales won last year’s tussle 30-3 in Cardiff. At present, they are the best team in Europe – since the last World cup they have won both Six Nations titles that have been played with a record of 11 wins and only two losses. England are still a year away from peaking, which is exactly where this young team expects to be.

We have our doubts about referee Romain Poite, who virtually handed New Zealand a 29-15 victory over South Africa in Auckland last September, but hopefully he won’t get in the way of what should be a Twickenham thriller.

For our money, England (4/7) have a vastly superior pack and will be fuelled by last season’s humiliating defeat which robbed them of the Grand Slam.

Wales’ crushing victory over France owed much to the woeful play of Philippe Saint-Andre’s team, yet the bounce-back from the crushing defeat in Dublin was nonetheless impressive.

We take Wales to win a close one and upset the odds. They are currently 6/4, but can be backed at 9/10 in receipt of 3.5-points.

Ireland v Italy

Italy will be without influential captain Sergio Parisse because of a leg injury and he will be replaced by Trevisio’s Robert Barbieri, with veteran lock Marco Bortolami leading the winless Italians.

Ireland make one change for the side beaten by England: in comes back-row Iain Henderson as a replacement for the injured Peter O’Mahoney.

Italy picked up a first ever Championship win over Ireland 12 months ago but don’t expect them to double up. Ireland are considered 1/33 favourites, with the Italians available at 10/1.

With Brian O’Driscoll winning a world record 140th Test cap and playing his final game for Ireland on home soil, look for his side to send him off in style.

Italy gave Wales all they could handle on opening weekend, but are a far different proposition without Parisse and we take the hosts to cover a large handicap.

Scotland v France

France come into this game on the back of a humiliating 27-6 loss to Wales – which could have been far worse – while Scotland are buoyed by their 21-20 success in Rome.

Yet even after their dreadful loss, France are still in the mix for the 6 Nations title. Coach Philippe Saint-Andre, with his job in doubt, has turned over almost half the side, with three new loose forwards, three new backs and a third-choice hooker.

Scotland make four changes, including bringing in tight-head prop Geoff Cross for his first start in a year. Skipper Kelly Brown is recalled, as is David Denton.

Scotland will play with passion at Murrayfield and it is anyone’s guess which France side turns up. The guess is the experienced French duo of captain Pascal Pape and tighthead Nicolas Mas will get the edge up front and that is one of the reasons why they are considered 3/10 favourites.

Scotland can be backed at 9/10 in receipt of 7.5 points, because they have the capability to win this.

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