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Six Nations round four tips and predictions from Graham Woods

A fortnight's break has allowed the dust to settle after a tumultuous third round of Six Nations matches, and the action returns this weekend with three fascinating contests, including what could be another big win for Ireland at Twickenham.

Graham Woods' Six Nations Round Four match tips

Over 50 points in Italy v Scotland @ 11/10
Ireland to beat England by 11 to 20 points @ 
Wales +7 v France @ 

Odds displayed were correct at the time of writing and subject to fluctuation.

Six Nations

Setting the scene...

The Six Nations table started to really take shape after round three a fortnight ago, as Ireland recorded their third bonus-point win to move clear at the top while England suffered their first defeat and France were held to a draw by Italy.

Ireland continue their quest for back-to-back Grand Slams against England at Twickenham in the standout match of round four.

Rome rivals set to put on a show

Over 50 points in Italy v Scotland @ 11/10

Italy have had a tough time on the road against Ireland and France in the last two rounds, but back in Rome, they can put together the pieces of their new-look attacking edge.

In their opening match, the Azzurri outscored England by three tries to two in a narrow defeat, and they showed more ambition in their first game under new coach Gonzalo Quesada.

Italy then failed to score a point against Ireland but were always up against it, facing the meanest defence in the championship, while a scrappy game against France, who were down to 14 men for the entirety of the second half, again didn't see them at their best.

The big talking point for this fixture is the selection of winger Louis Lynagh for his first cap, completing an exciting back three with established performers Ange Capuozzo and Monty Ioane, while the equally impressive Tommaso Menoncello returns to his preferred role in the centres.

Lynagh, son of Australia World Cup winner Michael, has caught the eye in the Premiership for Harlequins.

Scotland, of course, have a lethal cutting edge of their own, led by the tournament's leading tryscorer Duhan van der Merwe, who bagged a hat-trick against England last time out, and they are conducted by world-class fly-half Finn Russell.

Graham Woods' tip

This has the makings of an exciting, open contest and both teams can make their mark in a high-scoring game.

Ruthless Ireland marching on

Ireland to beat England by 11 to 20 points @ 9/4

England held their critics at bay with two hard-fought narrow wins to open their campaign but were shown up as short of attacking ideas in their defeat to Scotland in round three.

Ireland, in contrast, have not put a foot wrong, and the stats just underline the strength of their all-round game.

A tally of 15 tries in three matches is more than double what any other team have managed, but their defence has been even more impressive as they have shipped just 24 points and three tries.

It's the structure of Ireland's game, honed by detail-driven coach Andy Farrell, that really catches the eye, and that's in stark contrast to England, who have looked disjointed this year.

Coach Steve Borthwick has stuck with pragmatic fly-half George Ford for this clash, but his solid kicking game doesn't seem to get the best out of backs such as Tommy Freeman and George Furbank outside him.

Exeter winger Immanuel Feyi-Waboso makes his first start after scoring a try off the bench against Scotland, and he may be able to open up the Ireland defence, while fly-half Marcus Smith is at least fit enough to make the bench and should offer more attacking flair as the game progresses.

Graham Woods' tip

England's changes may be too little, too late against a ruthless and efficient Ireland side.

The Men in Green have won their last four matches against England by 19, 13, 17 and 14 points and another victory by that kind of margin looks the best bet.

Battle of struggling sides could be scrappy

Wales +7 v France @ 1/1

France began the Six Nations as tournament favourites but have just one win after three rounds, and even that match in Murrayfield could have gone away from them at the death when Scotland were denied what could have been a match-winning try by the television match official.

A draw against Italy last time out was another low point, and although they had to play the whole second half with 14 men, there seemed to be a lack of fight and fire in the France team.

Head coach Fabien Galthie has changed half his team, including debuts for full-back Leo Barre, centre Nicolas Depoortere and lock Emmanuel Meafou, while Thomas Ramos moves from full-back to fly-half for the injured Matthieu Jalibert.

Youngsters Louis Bielle-Biarrey and Nolann Le Garrec start on the wing and at scrum-half, and this is a more exciting looking line-up but they may struggle again for cohesion having failed to go through the gears in all their matches so far.

Wales have also rung the changes, with a new centre partnership of Owen Watkin and Joe Roberts as 120-cap George North is dropped, while captain Dafydd Jenkins starts in the back row.

Graham Woods' tips

There could be moments of brilliance in this match, and winger Bielle-Biarrey was one who caught the eye for France in their win over Scotland, but the many changes mean there could also be scrappy periods.

Six of the last seven meetings between these teams in Cardiff have been settled by a margin of no more than 12 points and it may pay to side with the hosts receiving a start of seven against a France team who have been handicap losers in seven of their last 10 away matches in the Six Nations.

Graham Woods' Six Nations Round Four match tips

Over 50 points in Italy v Scotland @ 11/10
Ireland to beat England by 11 to 20 points @ 
Wales +7 v France @ 

Odds displayed were correct at the time of writing and subject to fluctuation.

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