England to keep good times rolling in Wales

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Warren Gatland

With Wales and England winning two out of two so far, Saturday’s eagerly-anticipated showdown in Cardiff is already being billed as a title-decider.

Given the way they have performed so far, it is tricky not to look beyond England continuing their domination of their neighbours.

England -3.5 @ 10/13

England currently sit two points clear at the top of the Six Nations standings thanks to impressive bonus-point wins against Ireland and France.

Eddie Jones’ men start as the 1/2 favourites to win the game as a result of their strong start, coupled with winning the last five meetings in the Six Nations against Wales.

The English tore the French to shreds with their impressive kicking game, kicking from hand on 47 occasions in the 44-8 win, and we can expect to see more of that in Cardiff as they try to unleash Jonny May once more.

Wales have yet to hit their stride, grinding out wins over Italy and France on foreign soil to extend their winning run to a record 11 Test matches. This is a huge step up from what they have faced so far and you have to question whether they are ready or not.

The last four Six Nations matches between the rivals have been decided by six points or fewer although given the form England are in right now, they could run away with it in Cardiff.

Scotland +5.5 @ 25/26

It has been 20 years since Scotland last won in Paris although they should feel confident of ending that run on Saturday, even without a number of key players.

The injury list for Gregor Townsend’s men is lengthy, with fly-half Finn Russell and fullback Stuart Hogg the two biggest casualties. However, in Blair Kinghorn and Peter Horne, the Scots have quality back-ups.

Scotland will feel aggrieved they couldn’t beat Ireland last time out and must now channel that frustration towards beating a French side in disarray.

Les Bleus have lost 10 of the 13 Test matches played under Jacques Brunel and the margin of defeat to England last time out was a record for the Six Nations.

The French have talent but Brunel is struggling to get the best out of them. The Scots should run them close in Paris.

Italy +29.5 @ 10/13

Wales coach Warren Gatland heaped praise on the Italians after their battling display a fortnight ago, claiming it was the best Azzurri side he’s come up against.

There are certainly signs of improvement from Conor O’Shea’s men and their biggest margin of defeat so far has only been by 13 points.

Ireland bounced back from their shock defeat to England with victory in Scotland although they still don’t quite look like the side who have risen to second in the world rankings.

The last four meetings between the two nations have been extremely one-sided, with the average winning margin for the Irish being by 45 points.

However, on home soil, Italy should give Joe Schmidt’s men a much stiffer test on this occasion.

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