In the end, the chariot swung so low that the people aboard all fell on their arses.
But let’s get one thing straight – England should have won the Six Nations last year. They arguably were the best side at the World Cup in Japan and I’d take them in a one-off game against anyone in the world at the moment.
Eddie Jones’ side come into this tournament as 8/11 favourites and with every reason to be optimistic about blowing away the opposition. But opening in Paris against an unpredictable pack who are coming of age is a tough assignment. Here’s the three best bets you can side with for this mouth-watering clash in the Stade de France.
In the 2019 Six Nations, England scored more points in the first halves of games than any of the other five nations managed in the entirety of their games in the competition.
Yes, England scored 119 first-half points in this tournament last year. Wales, the second-highest scorers in the competition, scored 114 total. They start with an intensity that’s unmatchable – it’s just that it normally gets shot to bits when they realise that they have to be clever to see games out.
Dominant tackles became a big talking point in the 2019 edition of the Six Nations and England led in that metric by some distance. Imposing their will on teams broke the opposition. They’ll expect to do it again with their forwards having a point to prove following an abysmal showing against the Springboks in the biggest game of them all.
Given that the handicap is three points, we’ve got that on side.
Realistically if you had to pick this matchup, you’d suspect England would be victorious by the odd try, and this margin gives you an additional unconverted try to play with.
The 12-point margin is sizeable and given that England will put up big numbers in the first half like they always tend to, a second half onslaught by the hosts, led on by a raucous home support would indeed be the expected narrative of this meeting between the old enemies.
Watch it play out exactly like that, too.
Which of course leads us to this final bet – the French landing some significant blows once they’ve gathered themselves at half-time.
The inexperience will come into play in the opening 40, but a gentle reminder from Fabien Galthie about returning to basics – basics that, when they execute, can match England – should see them going for tries, while England constantly look to tap over penalties that they’ll win at the breakdown.
It’s worth remembering the dynamic here – England will be happy to kick for the posts any chance they get because of the lead they built up. France have to opt for the corner.
Sometimes you have to play the sport and not the betting lines.
- Half-Time Handicap: England -9.5 (7/2)
- Win Margin: England 1-12 Points (17/10)
- Second Half Match Betting: France (11/8)