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Wales eyeing Murrayfield revenge

Wales eyeing Murrayfield revenge


Wales head to Murrayfield on Saturday looking to put to bed the bad memories of a 29-13 Six Nations defeat to Scotland two years ago.

The two teams are now in very different places since that day in Edinburgh, with Wales going for a Grand Slam, while Scotland look to end a disappointing two-game losing run.

Wales to win -3.5 handicap FT @ 4/5

The Welsh will be full of confidence they can continue their march towards the Grand Slam this weekend, having overcome England in dramatic fashion at the Principality Stadium last month.

Head coach Warren Gatland has a perfect record of 10 wins from 10, with Wales’ 2017 defeat coming under interim boss Rob Howley while the Kiwi tactician was preparing for the British & Irish Lions tour of New Zealand.

Wales make just one change from the team that ended England’s Grand Slam hopes, with Adam Beard coming in for Cory Hill in the second-row.

The Welsh camp have been speaking about that defeat two years ago in Edinburgh and defensive coach Shaun Edwards has made it known that the performance from the visitors that day at Murrayfield has not sat well with the group.

As for Scotland, after a bonus-point win over Italy in their opening game, they squandered chances to get wins against both reigning champions Ireland and France.

Scotland’s injury problems have been well documented but head coach Gregor Townsend deemed their performance in Paris last time out as unacceptable and they will be looking to better represent the jersey this weekend.

Backs Sean Maitland and Chris Harris have been forced to return to Saracens and Edinburgh with their respective injuries as the fitness issues continue for the men in blue.

However, Townsend can welcome back some key figures going into the weekend with Racing 92 star Finn Russell back at fly-half, while Edinburgh prop WP Nel can add his experience in the front-row.

Flanker Hamish Watson, who has been sorely missed with his work at the breakdown through the competition so far, earns a spot on the bench alongside skipper Greig Laidlaw.

Townsend has opted for Glasgow Warrior Ali Price at scrum-half and he will be looking to have a similar game to the one he enjoyed against Wales in 2017.

Scotland should have a bit more about them than they did at the Stade de France before the break and with the Murrayfield crowd behind them they should be a tough nut to crack.

But in Gatland’s final season with Wales, his players look to be going all out to see their head coach ending his tenure a high.

It could be a narrow victory but Wales have enough quality and experience to get over the line and fall on the right side of the FT handicap.

England -32.5 handicap FT @ 50/51

After the disappointment of that defeat to the Welsh in Cardiff, England will be determined to put in a ruthless performance when they welcome Italy to Twickenham on Saturday.

Manu Tuilagi, Ben Te’o and Joe Cokanasiga have all been named in the backline, with Eddie Jones going for sizeable runners who will batter the Italian defence for 80 minutes.

Although they stare down the barrel of another Six Nations wooden spoon, the Azzurri have shown some real resilience throughout the tournament this season.

A late fightback against the Scots was followed by battling performances on home soil against both Wales and Ireland.

The problems remain when Conor O’Shea’s side play away from the fiery atmosphere of the Stadio Olimpico.

It could be a long afternoon for the Azzurri this weekend, as Jones is keen to put Italy to the sword when they come to Twickenham.

This could be close in terms of the handicap FT market, but England should ease to the bonus-point win and hope Scotland or Ireland beat Wales to help the Red Rose to the Six Nations crown.

Ireland to win by 11-20 @ 12/5

Ireland have not hit top gear in the Six Nations so far this season but they have a chance to put down a marker on Sunday against France in Dublin.

A disappointing defeat to England in Dublin was followed by laboured wins over Scotland and Italy on the road.

However, the French are there for the taking this weekend, with Les Bleus still in a bad place in the international game.

A win over the injury-plagued Scots in their last game is painting over the cracks that the French are nowhere near where they need to be if they are to have a World Cup worth shouting about later this year.

France do have some promising talent coming through the ranks, with half-backs Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack starting to show they could the partnership in key positions to take to Japan.

Sunday will be a big test for the young pairing, with Conor Murray and Jonathan Sexton the far more experienced duo in the half-back roles.

Ireland need to get back to their basics to really put France to the sword.

The men in green where rightly labelled serious World Cup contenders before the Six Nations but the shine has been taken off Joe Schmidt’s side in recent displays.

However, with France on Sunday and a mouth-watering encounter with Wales in Cardiff in the final week, Ireland still have the chance to put down a significant marker before Japan.

With three teams still capable of winning this year’s Six Nations going into the final two rounds, it is worth taking a look at the outright markets.

England, despite that defeat in Cardiff, are 10/17 to claim the title with Italy and Scotland to come to Twickenham.

Wales are next in line at 8/5 as they prepare to face Scotland and the Irish.

Ireland are currently the outsiders to claim the title, as they are currently 12/1 with France and Wales to face.

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Alex Jack As a regular at Murrayfield and Headingley, Alex's knowledge of both Rugby Union and Rugby League is undoubted. He also takes in plenty of Football League action and particularly specialises in Championship betting.


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