Ireland arrive in Cardiff for the penultimate round of this year’s RBS 6 Nations to face opponents in a similar position. Wales have won two of their three matches to date and are only ahead of Ireland on points difference.
Paddy Power, the official bookmakers to the IRFU, say there is little to choose between the two sides with the hosts narrowly being given the nod as favourites at 8/11 with Ireland rated as 11/10 shots to win.
The last few minutes against Scotland put some pressure on finger nails the length and breadth of the country, but in the end Ireland held on for a crucial win.
Winning at Murrayfield is never a foregone conclusion and there was a lot to like about Ireland getting the job done, even if the closing stages had the teams closer than the two performances arguably merited.
But getting yourself over the finish line whilst not at your best is a skill well worth having in the locker when things don’t go exactly to plan.
A better performance is expected and there will plenty of people who subscribe to the view that 11/10 in the match betting is value.
Equally, the handicap of Ireland +2 points at 10/11 gives a little buffer which could come in handy in close game. Two points was the margin when Ireland last visited the Millennium Stadium on that historic day in 2009 and if you fancy a repeat of the same margin, Ireland by 2 points is a 22/1 shot.
Luckily for Ireland, creating chances hasn’t been an issue so far in the Championship. Maybe the actual number of chances taken isn’t to everyone’s liking, but the variety of Irish try scorers so far highlights the threat they pose all across the pitch.
Tommy Bowe at 9/1 is going to be a popular choice in the 1st try scorer market and after a try-scoring contribution at Murrayfield, Jamie Heaslip at 16/1 will have plenty of support.
History tells us that, with a couple of possible exceptions, when Ireland win in Cardiff, it’s generally not by a big margin.
The visitors are available at 9/2 to win by 1-5 points and 5/1 to win by 6-10 points. The Alternative Winning Margin covers both possibilities with a victory by 1-10 points rated a 7/4 chance.