Ireland welcome the oldest enemy to the Aviva Stadium on Sunday afternoon and after a performance of both flair and resilience in Cardiff, they should have a spring in their step. Paddy Power, official bookmaker to the IRFU, are predicting a close one with Ireland rated a 10/11 chance for victory, while England are available at the same price.
With both teams impressing during the opening weekend, the predictions of a close encounter are warranted, but Ireland’s recent dominance over the visitors in Dublin gives reason to believe the balance is swinging in their favour.
The hosts have beaten England in five of their last six Six Nations meetings in Dublin and combined with their recent record in London, Ireland have reason to be confident of victory.
With the Handicap set at scratch (0 points), it could be a day for looking at the options provided by the Alternative Handicap. Out of a wide range of options, there will perhaps be most interest in backing Ireland -3 points at 13/10 or -6 points at 2/1.
There has been a variety of winning margins when the team have met in Dublin. In 2007, Ireland recorded a famous 30-point victory over the Sweet Chariot, but two years later prevailed by just a single point.
‘One score’ games and more comfortable victories abound, but there are options to suit most predictions. Ireland are 13/8 to win by 1-12 points and 9/2 to win by 13 or more points.
Simon Zebo has made the step up to international rugby with aplomb and his ‘Messi moment’ against Wales will do little to stop the hype.
The Munster winger has scored a try in each of his last two games for Ireland. Zebo is 9/1 to be First Try Scorer at the Aviva Stadium this Sunday and 21/10 to score a Try at Anytime in the game. The English fans may not be overly familiar with him now, but that could be a very different story by Sunday evening.
Six Nations Special!
France v Wales, Sat, Feb 9
Ireland v England, Sun, Feb 10
If Alex Cuthbert (France v Wales) or Brian O Driscoll (Ireland v England) score a try at anytime in either match this weekend, Paddy Power will refund all losing try scorer bets on that match.