The final weekend of the Six Nations sees three games, and three teams in contention for the title

The games are as follows:

12pm Italy v Wales

3pm Scotland v Ireland

5pm England v France

After last week’s results, England, Ireland and Wales are seperated by points difference at the top of the table, as we can see on the graphic shown.

So, the order of games is important. Wales will go out against Italy and try and surpasses the points difference that England and Ireland have. Ireland then have to beat Scotland by enough to surpass that and set a benchmark for England at home in the last game who will know what they need to do to secure the Championship

Current odds to win the Six Nations are as follows:

England 8/13 Ireland 7/4 Wales 7/1

So who are the likely winners? Lets take a look at each game and reach a conclusion

Italy v Wales

- Wales are 21 point favourites here. At first glance that seems high. On their last four visits to Rome they have only scored two tries in each match, with the last three victories only bringing points differences of 5, 8 and 17. However….

- Italy’s 29-0 defeat at home to France was the most abject six nations performance by any team in years. They also only have a six day turnaround before this game having played on Sunday.

- Wales meanwhile were brilliant in defence aginst Ireland, recording a six nations record 250 team tackles and at one stage repelling 32 phases of Irish play in their own half

- Wales should win comfortably of course. In their favour, the Italian goal-kicking is the weakest in the competition by a long way. If they don’t keep their score ticking over the chances of Wales receiving the required boost to points difference increases

- On the downside, it took an enormous physical effort to win against Ireland, and this match is only a week later.

Scotland v Ireland

- The second quarter of the game aside, where Scotland attacked fluently, Scotland were blown away by England’s power and to only lose by 12 was extremely fortunate indeed

- With the way that Ireland squeeze the life out of teams, Scotland could capitulate in this final match. Scotland do not have the size and strength up front and in defence that Wales have

- As for Ireland, it could be said that they lacked a player with the magic to unlock Wales during those long spells of pressure but you could also argue that from a poor start and 12-0 down, and with Sexton on an off-day they came back to come very close to drawing the game at the end

- Ireland are 8 point favourites to win in Edinburgh. That looks too low to me

England v France

- As we know points difference is going to prove crucial this weekend, and if England had finished just some of the raft of clear opportunities they created against Scotland they would be well clear at the top of the table. As it is, they squandered most of those chances and are only four points better off than Ireland.

- France are traditionally poor travellers and many fancied them to get turned over on a wet day in Rome but the Italian performance was full of missed opportunities.

- This should be a real arm-wrestle, in part because (one lovely try in Rome apart) the French do not utilise the flair in their back three at all. Under Saint Andre we should expect France to play the percentages and take England on up front . The problem is the kicking game they employ is too inconsistent and the patterns of play are easy to defend

- England are 9 point handicap favourites

conclusion

My opinion is that England at odds-on are opposable. I tipped Wales pre-tournament and expected the tournament to be decided on points difference, no grand slam. Unfortunately the combination of them winning by 20+ AND one of the other two not moving past them looks unlikely which accounts for them being the 7/1 outsider of three.

The interesting price is Ireland at nearly 2/1. Their style of play matches up really well with Scotland, who they should over-power. Granted we are then hoping for a performance of sorts from France

Recommendation: Ireland at 7/4 to win the Six Nations Ladbrokes