The 2020 edition of the Six Nations only finished in November and it all gets underway again this weekend. England v Scotland is arguably the standout game and this year marks the 150th year of the rivalry between the two sides as they vie for the Calcutta Cup. Eddie Jones’ men are the reigning champions and they enjoyed a fine end to 2020 by lifting the Autumn Nations Cup too. Meetings between Scotland and the ‘auld enemy’ have thrown up some fascinating clashes and two years ago, Scotland recovered from a 31-point deficit at Twickenham to claim a 38-38 draw.
England will need Twickenham to act as a fortress as three of their five games are on home soil. Against Scotland, England are trading as very short favourites with Casumo at 1/10 to overcome Scotland. Undoubtedly, the hosts will rue the absence of Manu Tuilagi as he is a very imposing figure. Nevertheless, they are always dangerous and they have plenty of tries in Jonny May, who is a whippet on the wing. Scotland – who are 11/2 with Casumo to win the game – will be hoping to improve on their fourth-place finish last term.
England v Scotland: Other Six Nations odds to check out
- First Scoring Play – England Try @9/4 with Casumo
- First Scoring Play – Scotland Try @23/5 with Casumo
Moving away from England v Scotland, there will be plenty of attention on Wales v Ireland at the Principality Stadium on Sunday. Wales – who were crowned Grand Slam winners in 2019 – have had their fair share of injury problems. However, they could have back-rower Ross Moriarty available to face Ireland in Round One. After sustaining an ankle injury in the run-up to the Autumn Nations Cup, Moriarty had surgery in November. Although he hasn’t resumed full training, he has made 18 Six Nations appearances and he could be back before the series finishes in late March.
Ireland, meanwhile, who clinched the Six Nations trophy and Grand Slam in 2018, were largely underwhelming last year as they finished third. Andy Farrell will announce his starting XV at a press conference at midday on Friday. However, over the past year, the Irish have been a side in the doldrums and after replacing Joe Schmidt, so Farrell has a task on his hands trying to bring the glory days back.
Wales v Ireland: Latest injury news and past meetings
As far as Ireland are concerned, they have a near clean bill of health, although Jonny Sexton has a slight hamstring strain and he will be closely monitored. Tadhg Furlong – who has recovered from calf and back injuries – could make his first Test appearance in almost a year, whereas Wales’ – who are undefeated against the Irish at home in a Championship match since 2013 – Wayne Pivac has a decision to make over his back row as Josh Navidi and Dan Lydiate are back and available for selection.
Although Ireland haven’t fared so well away from home against Wales, they will have fond memories of last term’s clash. Ireland stormed to a 24-14 victory after a strong second-half showing. Andrew Conway secured a bonus point victory five minutes before the end and they put Wales on the back foot for large periods of the game.
Italy v France: Thoughts ahead of Six Nations encounter
France head coach Fabien Galthie has an abundance of riches. After finishing second last year, Les Bleus will be in bullish mood. They travel to face perennial wooden spooners Italy on Saturday and France are clear favourites at 1/20 with Casumo, while Italy are 10/1. Despite COVID-19 restrictions in France, the team is allowed to fly. When asked whether his side can overhaul England and win the title, Galthie maintains it won’t be easy. He said: “Are we going to dethrone England? For that, we will need to be very, very good and that’s what we’re aiming for.”