Wales vs England Six Nations Preview

Written by @QuintenLetcher for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!

Wales vs England | Saturday 16 March | Millennium Stadium | 19:00

Cardiff hosts the Six Nations decider this Saturday, where Wales will attempt to retain their title by defeating Stuart Lancaster’s men by 8 points or more at the Millennium Stadium. The Welsh have made a remarkable comeback from their opening game of the Six Nations where they went down at home to Ireland in what was their eighth consecutive defeat since winning the title in 2012. Since that opening loss, Wales have defied the laws of rugby logic by securing  away defeats against France, Italy and Scotland, leaving them with a home game against England to finish off their campaign.

England started out as competition favourites after their unbelievable 38-21 defeat of the All Blacks at the end of last year. They have shown exactly why they are worthy of that tag by recording victories over Scotland, Ireland, France and Italy which means they are the only team left who can claim the coveted Grand Slam as they head into their final clash. Unfortunately, it turns out that their final clash is against the only other team in the competition that needs the win as much as they do. So first and second place from last year’s Six Nations face off in an unintended final for first and second place in this year’s.

To Win (80mins)
Wales 11/10
England 17/20
Draw 25/1

Wales (+1.5) 9/10
England (-1.5) 9/10

Rob Howley will now have the added pressure of naming a new captain when he announces his team to defend the title this weekend, after Ryan Jones suffered a broken shoulder in last Saturday’s win over Scotland. Sam Warburton, who held the captaincy before getting injured and missing the French game, returned to the flank against Scotland and had a banger of a match. This has led to calls for his reinstatement as Welsh captain following Jones’ injury. Justin Tipuric is the most likely replacement on blindside flanker for the injured captain.

England received some good news this week regarding their options in the second row, as Courtney Lawes, Joe Launchbury and Geoff Parling have all been cleared to play this Saturday. First choice flyhalf Owen Farrell will also return after missing the Red Roses’ narrow victory over Italy last week. It is not all good news for the potential Grand Slam winners though. The anticipated return of Gloucester loose forward Ben Morgan will not take place this Saturday as was hoped by Stuart Lancaster, as the big number eight has not fully recovered from the ankle injury he sustained in England’s opening game against Scotland. Lancaster has not yet announced his final line-up but considering the six day turnaround between games it is unlikely we will see too many changes.

VERDICT: England (-1.5) 9/10
Wales have really put on a brilliant Cinderella Man performance in this competition after being written off by most when they went down to the Irish in their opening game. Yet, here they are, with a good shot at securing back-to-back Six Nations titles. However, the English are not going to give up their Grand Slam hopes without a fight. These games almost always turn into kicking defensive games with all the points coming through penalties, and in that kind of game I back England over Wales every time. England by three.

Think we've got it wrong? Well leave your comments below and tell us how you think this one is going to play out.

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