|Italy (+22)||Handicap||Evens||Stan James|
|Scotland (+12)||Handicap||Evens||Stan James|
All of the Six Nations teams play their final World Cup warm-up games this Saturday, kicking off with the World Cup hosts England taking on Ireland at Twickenham.
England v Ireland
Saturday 5th September / 2.30pm
Both England and Ireland are at close to full strength as they go into their final warm-up game, where home advantage makes England strong favourites in the match betting. Brad Barritt makes his first England start in nearly a year and will bid to cement a World Cup place, while Ireland name 12 of the men who started the 6 Nations clincher against Scotland in March. Ireland beat England 19-9 in that tournament and the most recent meeting here was a three-point win for England a year earlier. With little to choose between the teams in terms of personnel and the emphasis on making new combinations work – Barritt and Jonathan Joseph start together for the first time – it’s difficult to envisage a big margin of victory either way. Thus, Ireland with a plus 7 handicap looks appealing at 5/6 with Ladbrokes.
Wales v Italy
Saturday 5th September / 5pm
Wales ran up a huge score against Italy in March when they needed a big points swing to have a chance of winning the 6 Nations, but they haven’t always found things so easy against the Azzurri. They beat them by just eight points the last time they met at the Millennium Stadium in February last year and with the World Cup just two weeks away and no pressing need for an avalanche of tries, it’s best to back the visitors on the handicap for this warm-up match, even if they have lost the last eight meetings and were thrashed by Scotland last week. Italy with a 22-point start pays even money with Stan James (odds-on with all other bookmakers).
France v Scotland
Saturday 5th September / 8pm
France have won their last nine meetings with Scotland, but the last four have all been fairly close including a 15-8 victory for the French in Paris in this year’s 6 Nations. Scotland will be buoyed by their back-to-back wins over Italy, including last week’s 48-7 home success, and the close nature of their defeat to Ireland prior to those fixtures – a significant improvement on their five defeats in the 6 Nations. France were convincing winners over England in their last warm-up match and have kept much the same line-up, but may find it tough to get beyond the 12 point handicap Stan James are offering the Scots at even money.