RBS 2012 Six Nations Preview

Six Nations

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Published: 12/12/2011

After a disastrous 2011 Rugby World Cup campaign, England will be desperate to put their demons to bed in the 2012 RBS Six Nations Championship.

The betting already speaks volumes in terms of their demise, with a whopping 100/30 available about an English success, with 9/1 on offer for an unlikely Grand Slam triumph.

Usually perennial favourites for the competition, England sit third in preference behind Wales and World Cup runners up France.

And the tournamentís first weekend could hardly be much tougher for the Red Rose, with a trip to Murrayfield pencilled in and a bitter Calcutta Cup clash in prospect.

Scotland, who also endured failure in New Zealand, will be hoping they can also put things right and there would be no better way of doing so than defeating England in front of a packed home crowd.

With Martin Johnson now gone, England almost certainly face a prolonged period of transition and rebuilding and it seems unlikely that they will have enough ammunition and team ethic to mount a serious Six Nations Challenge.

Although the likes of Manu Tuilagi and Delon Armitage suggest the future could be bright, Englandís current crop in the main is plagued by an abundance of ageing stars who appear well past their best.

Franceís current side may also not have long left before they are forced to break up, however the World Cup signalled that they are a team in their peak despite not being one of the most feared French outfitís compared to years gone by.

Currently 2/1 favourites, Les Bleus look tremendous value to take their World Cup form into the tournament and cement themselves as the best team in the Northern Hemisphere.

Phillipe Saint-Andreís side also have the benefit of hosting England and home advantage will be crucial is what is usually the most decisive match of the fixture list.

Franceís nearest challengers are likely to be Wales and Warren Gatlandís men were unlucky not to have reached the World Cup Final after a series of fine displays.

The proud Welsh crowd will be in buoyant mood come the spring and will undoubtedly throw their full support behind the team both at the Millennium Stadium and away from home.

Wales have to go to Twickenham however that should be a game they will relish and they will fancy their chances of being in contention in the final weekend when they will host France at home Ė a match which already looks to be a potential title decider.

Although they are unlikely to be strong enough to win outright, Ireland are still a dangerous team and could easily spike one of the more fancied nations during the tournament.

The Irish can definitely hold their heads high after beating Australia at the World Cup but as ever, their final product just wasnít good enough to sustain a prolonged challenge.

Declan Kidney will need time to sew up the holes left in his side after the retirement of a number of famous names but the Six Nations could easily provide a solid platform for Irish Rugby moving forward.

As ever, the dogged Italians will be hoping to avoid the wooden spoon and it will be interesting to see whether they can cause an upset in Rome.

The intense media focus surrounding the tournament will inevitably fall in Englandís direction, but from a betting perspective in seems highly unlikely that any Six Nations accolades will be in 2012.

This could be one of the most thrilling renewals in recent years on the back of a World Cup with each team experiencing contrasting fortunes.

However if anything to the tune of 4/6 should be available about either a French or Welsh success, that is unquestionably the route to follow for all rugby punters.


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