Twickenham battle set to be a close affair

WILLIAM CHRIMES AND BEN CLEMINSON PREVIEW THE BEST OF THIS WEEKEND’S SPORTING ACTION

REWIND a year and England went to Cardiff knowing victory would hand them the Six Nations title and a first Grand Slam since 2003.

But Wales absolutely destroyed them 30-3 to land successive championships for the first time since 1979 and inflict more misery on an England camp that has won just one of the last 10 Six Nations.

Fast forward to Sunday and England can take a massive step to lifting the trophy by beating Wales at Twickenham and righting that wrong from 12 months ago.

Having gone down narrowly to France in their opener, Stuart Lancaster’s men have hit top form, crushing Scotland 20-0 at Murrayfield and following that up with a hard-fought 13-10 win over current table-toppers Ireland at home.

On the other hand, Wales have been hit and miss so far. Known for their sluggish starts, it wasn’t the biggest surprise to see Warren Gatland’s side labour to a 23-15 triumph over Italy.

It was a shock, though, to see them travel to Ireland next and get battered 26-3. That was their first away Six Nations defeat since 2011, but they bounced back with a comfortable win over the previously unbeaten France last time out.

Any of the top four sides can win the championship, but England are favourites on Sporting Index’s Outright 60 Index, trading at 37-40. And, having tipped them at the start of the tournament, I can’t desert them now. Prevailing over the Welsh will mean a win in what looks like a straightforward final assignment away to Italy will see the Red Rose crowned champions.

Although I hope England will win, Sporting Index’s supremacy quote of 3.5-5.5 looks right on the money. I couldn’t recommend a buy at 5.5 as Wales have beaten their bitter rivals the last three times the pair have met. And you have to go back to 2011 for the last time England saw off these opponents by more than five points.

So a sell of England supremacy at 3.5 with Sporting Index looks the way to go if we subscribe to the theory this will be a really cagey encounter. We were in profit selling England against Ireland and I can foresee a similar outcome this time – a narrow home triumph.

This is set up to be a real grudge match. Winger Jack Nowell has already described the emotion Wales feel towards them as “hate” and, with so much on the line, this should be a tight affair.

Selling total points at 36 with Sporting Index is also recommended – the total points average in England’s first three games is 31, while Wales’ first three have produced an average of 33.

Pointers…
Sell England supremacy at 3.5 points with Sporting Index

Sell total points at 36 with Sporting Index