England can expect to face intense competition from Ireland for their Six Nations crown after Johnny Sexton’s remarkable 42-yard drop-goal gave Joe Schmidt’s side a 15-13 victory vs France in a dramatic opening game at the Stade de France.
Ireland fell behind for the first time in the game when France wing Teddy Thomas went over in the 71st minute, but Sexton’s last-gasp intervention earned them a hard-fought victory in Paris and, with three home fixtures to come, a great chance of regaining the title from favourites England.
Even after only one of the five rounds of games it’s hard to escape the feeling that the championship will come down to England’s visit to Dublin on St Patrick’s weekend, after Eddie Jones’ side got off to a flying start with a 46-15 win over Italy in Rome. England are the 10/11 title favourites with Ladbrokes, with Ireland not far behind them in the betting at 13/8 with Bet365.
In the weekend’s other game, Wales made light of their lengthy injury list to hammer Scotland 34-7 and make their opponents’ fine autumn form look like a flash in the pan. Leigh Halfpenny scored two tries – and 24 points in all – to inspire the Welsh in Cardiff, and they are at 8/1 with Bet365 and Coral in the title betting ahead of their visit to Twickenham next weekend.
|All odds quoted are subject to change|