Six Nations trophy England’s to lose on thrilling Saturday

England are in a strong position to land their first Six Nations title since 2011
HARRY MADLEY PREVIEWS THE FINAL SIX NATIONS WEEKEND AND BEN CLEMINSON LOOKS AT LIVERPOOL V MANCHESTER UNITED

WALES’ hard fought win over Ireland last Saturday ensured there will be no Six Nations Grand Slam winner for the third consecutive year and the fourth time in the last five editions. Many will argue this points to the tournament being at its most competitive for several years, but England fans will see it as another opportunity missed.

Stuart Lancaster’s outfit realistically need a comfortable win over France at Twickenham tomorrow evening to secure their first title since 2011, but expect the celebrations to be rather subdued should they triumph, with England having plenty to work on if they are to mount a serious World Cup bid in under six months’ time.

Their emphatic 47-17 triumph over Italy on Valentine’s Day could prove crucial if, as expected, Ireland win against Wooden Spoon favourites Scotland earlier in the day. England (+37) have a superior points difference to both championship rivals Ireland (+33) and Wales (+12) and have scored more tries than the pair combined, as it stands.

Joe Schmidt saw his Ireland side’s 10-match winning streak ended in Cardiff and if they are to retain their crown they need a comprehensive victory over Scotland and have to hope Wales and England don’t trump their points difference.

That Wales defeat will have hurt the Irish, so back them to bounce back against a winless Scotland which would subsequently pile the pressure onto England. There may be value in buying Ireland at 40 on Sporting Index’s Outright 60 Index, as there could be a decent cash out opportunity if England are struggling later.

But taking Ireland with a -9 handicap at Murrayfield at 10/11 with Betway looks the call here.

Betway rate Wales the 7/1 underdogs in the three-way race for glory but a rout over Italy, a side with a dismal -79 points difference, could make things interesting. Warren Gatland’s team are in-form and should reward those who buy their supremacy at 26 with Sporting Index for the 12.30pm kick-off.

The spread betting firm’s traders have England as 43-46 favourites on the Outright 60 Index. However, they were largely poor against Scotland last Saturday, spurning numerous golden try-scoring opportunities, and will have to play far better if they are to beat France, who enjoyed a confidence boosting 29-0 success in Rome last time out.

Buying England/France supremacy at 12 doesn’t appeal with Sporting Index, although you would expect the hosts to beat Les Bleus, having done so in the last four head-to-heads at Twickenham in this competition.

But this will be a nervy affair for the favourites, particularly if Wales or Ireland post impressive performances, and a small sell at 9 is advised.

■ Pointers…
Buy Wales supremacy at 26 with Sporting Index
Ireland with a -9 handicap at 10/11 with Betway
Sell England supremacy at 9 with Sporting Index