Fiddes' Cent

Sky Bet's Jordan Fiddes previews this weekend's Six Nations action and tells us where the smart money will be going

By Jordan Fiddes - Twitter: @SkyJordanFiddes.   Last Updated: 21/02/13 7:47pm

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Paddy Jackson: A shock call-up for Ireland

Paddy Jackson: A shock call-up for Ireland

Sky Bet

It's an old adage in rugby that if something isn't broken, don't fix it, and that's certainly the case for England and Wales coming into round three.

Wales have named the same starting XV which defeated France in Paris and England have an identical 23-man squad who produced an impressively hard-fought victory in Dublin.

That makes things a little easier for my tips this week too, as we already know a bit about the type of rugby they play, both as a team and as individuals.

However, for Lancaster, the weekend performances of some of his international hopefuls, have given him some selection headaches.

"The players who went back to their clubs wanted to prove a point and they all looked sharp and hungry, which is great" said Lancaster, after naming two of Northampton's star performers in his starting line-up.

Although both Dylan Hartley and Courtney Lawes spent time in the sin-bin against Worcester on Saturday, they have replaced Tom Youngs and James Haskell respectively.

Hartley averages a try in every nine games for his club, yet only has one to his name for England.

He is a nice 11/2 to score anytime against Les Bleus this weekend so that's my outside bet for round three.

I won't be adding him to this weekend's double however, as I've found value in the other two fixtures of the round.


Wales travel to the Stadio Olimpico to try and succeed where the French couldn't, however it won't be easy; Italy have won their last three home games in the Six Nations but have never won three in a row.

I can see Rob Howley's men upsetting the Italians, but, more importantly, winning both halves.

In 19 previous meetings, only once has a half-time result been overturned between these two sides - back in 2009, Wales were 7-9 down after 40 minutes but came back to win 20-15. Even when the sides drew in 2006 it was level at half-time.

Therefore the 'Double Result' on 'Wales/Wales' is my banker this weekend at 4/9.

To boost the accumulator's odds, I'm going a bit more ambitious in the second bet.

Form Guide

Ireland travel to Murrayfield on Sunday knowing that Scotland have beaten them just once in their last eleven Six Nations encounters and have not beaten them at this venue since 2001.

Not only that, but the Scots have only managed three tries in their last seven clashes against Ireland, whereas Ireland have crossed for 40 tries in thirteen games.

They may be missing the competition's top tackler in Cian Healy but, as a team, Ireland have completed 92% of their tackles so far.

In a shock call-up, Ireland have named Paddy Jackson at fly-half to replace veteran Ronan O'Gara.

Jackson has scored 159 points in 31 appearances for his club Ulster so there is no danger that he can convert any penalties the Scots may throw at them.

With this in mind, I'm adding Ireland to win by more than 11 points in the 'Alternative Margin' market at 2/1.

Only since 2005 have Ireland lost back-to-back RBS Six Nations matches, so the omens look good for this bet on Sunday.

View from the Trading Room...

"We're seeing some good early money coming in for France on the handicap, with many believing +7 is good value.

They've got some good stats in the line-out so far in this Six Nations - 86% win rate - and England's is poor so expect that to play a big part of the game on Saturday.

We're expecting Italy to continue their good form at home too after beating France at home in the opening round.

They have been given a nine point start but, interestingly, they are the top metre makers in the competition so far and have made more offloads than any other side.

Suddenly their 11/4 price to win outright doesn't look too bad."

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