It’s fair to say that as the Six Nations reaches its half way point, the table isn’t quite as we expected.
Wales had been so strong in this tournament in recent years and after providing the majority of the victorious British Lions’ squad, another title seemed likely for Alun Wyn Jones’ men. However, an unconvincing win over Italy was followed by a heavy defeat at the hands of Ireland and the Welsh are now out at 14/1 with Ladbrokes for the title. It’s not impossible for them to recover, but the 2013 Champions have tough games against France and England and their defence seems to be over.
Ireland and France are joint favourites after both recorded two wins in the opening two matches. You can currently back each side at 2/1 – France with BetFred and Ireland with Stan James but who stands the better chance of success?
The likely title decider is set to come in week 5 – the climax of the tournament when France and Ireland face off in Paris – and the two are so tightly matched that home advantage could be the only deciding factor.
Elsewhere, England shouldn’t be discounted after pushing the French all the way in the opening game. If Ireland and France lose ground in the remaining fixtures, Stuart Lancaster’s side could still claim the title but they will need to win their remaining three matches. With home advantage against Wales and Ireland, that isn’t completely out of the question so the value odds are the 11/4 quoted by Ladbrokes on an English victory.
Bringing up the rear are Italy and Scotland after both suffered two straight opening defeats. It’s almost mathematically impossible for either to take the title but if you’re optimistic enough, Stan James are quoting a mighty 5,000/1 on either side.
Turning to the wooden spoon market and Scotland are favourites to finish bottom at 8/11 with BetFred. Scott Johnson’s side have been dismal so far in registering just six scoring points in two games and while their clash with Italy will decide the destination of the wooden spoon, it’s hard to see beyond the favourites right now.
Its promises to be a fascinating conclusion to the 2014 tournament and the final day should see France use home advantage to claim another crown while Scotland seem destined for a pointless Six Nations in more ways than one.