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Six Nations round two tips and predictions from Graham Woods

It’s only round two of the Six Nations but there’s already a make-or-break feel about it as Scotland and England have to build on unconvincing victories while France and Wales need to pull off away wins to stay in the hunt.

All the while Ireland are sitting pretty at the top of the table with a big chance of pulling even further clear as they host Italy.

Graham Woods's Six Nations round two match tips

Over 47 points in Scotland v France @ 11/10
Wales +11 v England @ 11/10
Ireland -34 v Italy @ Evens

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

Rugby Union
WhatScotland v France
WhereMurrayfield, Edinburgh
When14:15, Saturday, 10th February
How to watchLive on BBC One
OddsScotland 13/8, France 8/15, Draw 20/1

Over 47 points @ 11/10

France were tournament favourites at the start of the Six Nations but a home defeat to Ireland on the opening night has left them needing to play catch-up.

Les Bleus put in an uncharacteristically poor performance in Marseille and seemed to be on the back foot even before losing Paul Willemse to a red card in the first half.

Coaches Fabien Galthie and Shaun Edwards will expect better and we should see them step up a gear as they take on Scotland at Murrayfield.

France are already renowned for their ambitious attacking play but Scotland have been showing more and more flair with Finn Russell pulling the strings at fly-half, and they really impressed in the first half against Wales last week before almost blowing it in the final half hour.

France have made just two changes to their side - one of them enforced as Cameron Woki replaces the suspended Willemse - but there’s also a start for exciting young winger Louis Bielle-Biarrey, who already has five tries in eight appearances, and we could see France open up in a way they were unable to when down to 14 men against Ireland.

Graham Woods's tip:

Four of the last five meetings between Scotland and France have produced at least 50 points - the exception was a World Cup warm-up last year which featured 46 - and both sides have a keen attacking edge so we should see a big points haul again.

WhatEngland v Wales
WhereTwickenham, London
When16:45, Saturday, 10th February
How to watchLive on ITV1 & S4C
OddsEngland 1/5, Wales 7/2, Draw 33/1

Wales +11 @ 11/10

Wales produced what coach Warren Gatland described as the worst half of rugby he had ever seen in their opening match against Scotland in round one, yet somehow they fought back from 27-0 down early in the second half to lose 27-26.

Gatland has promised that his young squad will put things right, and if there’s one place they have shown they can do that, it is at Twickenham.

Wales haven’t won a Six Nations match at the home of English rugby since 2012 but they did come out on top in a famous World Cup pool match in 2015 and they have covered the handicap in five of their last six visits to south-west London in this tournament.

There’s so much rivalry surrounding this fixture that it has gained a reputation as a low-scoring and hard-fought affair at times - only four of the last 13 meetings between these sides have produced more than 40 points, while seven of the last eight meetings have been decided by a margin of one to 12 points.

This meeting may at least see a few tries as both teams are showing a lot of new faces and England’s defence appeared to be a work in progress in Rome last week as they shipped three tries to Italy for only the second time in Six Nations history.

Graham Woods's tip:

England have covered the handicap in just one of their last nine home Six Nations matches and the best bet looks to be backing Wales with a double-figure start.

WhatIreland v Italy
WhereAviva Stadium, Dublin
When15:00, Sunday, 11th February
How to watchLive on ITV1
OddsIreland 1/250, Italy 66/1, Draw 25/1

Ireland -34 v Italy @ Evens

Ireland set the standard for the 2024 Six Nations with a hugely impressive 38-17 victory over France in Marseille and they look primed to keep the ball rolling when Italy rock up in Dublin.

The Azzurri exceeded expectations in their opening match under new coach Gonzalo Quesada as they made light of a 16-point handicap start in a 27-24 defeat to England.

They were leading at half-time against England and outscored their opponents by three tries to two but the close scoreline doesn’t tell the full story. Italy scored their final, bonus-point winning try following a penalty awarded with the clock in the red, and it’s fair to say England looked unsure at times in defence with a much-changed backline.

Ireland should offer far more structure in defence and attack and they haven’t held back when Italy have visited in the past. In the last Six Nations showdowns between the teams in Dublin Ireland have covered the handicap every time, and the most recent win was the most convincing as the line was set at 38 points and Ireland triumphed 57-6.

The hosts have scored at least 50 points in all of the last four meetings and last week’s display against France suggested we shouldn’t lower our expectations.

Graham Woods's tip:

Italy’s attack showed up well against England last week but they may struggle against a more structured Ireland side.

Ireland have made a habit of winning big against the Azzurri and last week’s dominant win over France suggests there may be another big win coming. The hosts can cover a 34-point handicap in a convincing victory.

Graham Woods's Six Nations round two match tips

Over 47 points in Scotland v France @ 11/10
Wales +11 v England @ 11/10
Ireland -34 v Italy @ Evens

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

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