Ireland kick off their 2013 Six Nations campaign with an ever tricky assignment in Cardiff. Paddy Power, official bookmaker to the IRFU, make Ireland the slight underdogs to claim victory at the Millennium Stadium. Declan Kidney’s men are 6/5 to win the match and 10/11 to win with a handicap of +2 points.
The bookmaker is also offering one of his world famous Money-Back Specials on the match. If a forward scores the first try of the match, Paddy Power will refund all losing Tryscorer bets on the match. As an extra bonus, the same offer is being run in the England v Scotland and Italy v France matches.
The contrasting fortunes of both teams during the autumn internationals gives more than a little encouragement to Saturday’s visitors. Whilst Ireland were frustrated not to get the better of South Africa, they impressed against Fiji and Argentina, building confidence ahead of the northern hemisphere’s premier international tournament. Wales on the other hand had a miserable time of things, crashing to four defeats in four games, at least three of which they’ll be hugely disappointed with.
Ireland are on a three game losing streak against Wales, but there is reason for optimism about their chances of ending that run in Cardiff. In four of the last half dozen Six Nations meetings between the two teams, it’s the away side on the day that have left with victory.
Ireland managed it most recently when claiming a dramatic Grand Slam in the Welsh capital back in 2009, but their good record against Wales suggests they’re more than capable of doing it again. In their last 20 matches, Ireland have had the better of things, winning 12 times. They’ve also done well in Cardiff, winning on six of their eight most recent visits.
There’s rarely much to separate the teams. In four of the last five Six Nations games between the two teams, there’s been less than a converted try between the two teams.
Ireland to win by 1-5 points is a 4/1 shot, whilst a margin of victory by 6-10 points is 9/2. You can cover both of those bases by looking at our Alternative Winning Margin market where Ireland to win by 1-10 points is 15/8.
After opening his international account with an excellent try against the Pumas, much is expected of Craig Gilroy on his Six Nations debut. The Ulsterman is 11/1 to be First Tryscorer and 11/4 to score a Try in 80 minutes on Saturday.
But they’ll also be interest in backing another young tyro. Last spotted running in a hat-trick in Munster’s crucial Heineken Cup win over Racing Metro, Simon Zebo could have a big say on the outcome of this match. The winger also crossed the whitewash when Ireland defeated Argentina in November and he’s 10/1 to be First Tryscorer this time around.