talkSPORT betting tips – Best Six Nations rugby bets and expert advice for round four fixtures

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Ireland are setting a furious pace at the top of the Six Nations table with a perfect 15 points from 15 and although they face a big test at Twickenham on Saturday they remain odds-on for a Grand Slam.

Scotland, buoyed by a Calcutta Cup win over England, take on Italy in Rome while Wales and France, who have disappointed so far, do battle in Cardiff on Sunday.

Six Nations tips

  • Italy v Scotland – Louis Lynagh to score a try @ 7/4
  • England v Ireland – Ireland -12 on handicap @ 19/20
  • Wales v France – France to win by one to seven points @ 13/5

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Azzurri attack ready to shine

Italy showed how much their attacking game has developed as they outscored England by three tries to two in round one, and although they have since been frustrated by Ireland and France, a clash with Scotland back in Rome gives them the chance to make their mark again.

Scotland don’t have the physical power of France or the structured defence of Ireland, but they do have the creativity and flair to make this an open contest.

That could also provide the Italian backs with chances to show their worth, and the exciting attacking talents of Ange Capuozzo and Monty Ioane are joined in the back three this weekend by winger Louis Lynagh, who makes his debut.

Lynagh is well known to followers of England’s Premiership from his time at Harlequins and his first cap for the country of his birth has been eagerly awaited.

Three of Italy’s four tries this year have been scored by back-three players and 23-year-old’s skilful running could make this a debut to remember.

Awesome Ireland setting the standard

Although Ireland’s big World Cup hopes were dashed in the quarter-finals last year, that defeat to New Zealand looks increasingly like a blip in an extended period of dominance that should continue at Twickenham on Saturday.

Ireland have won their last 11 Six Nations matches and their last four clashes with England, all by a margin of 14 or more points. But it’s not just that they have been winning – they have been winning handsomely, scoring freely and putting up hugely impressive defensive stats.

In three matches this year the Men in Green have scored 15 tries and shipped just three for a total of 24 points against.

England have struggled to create scoring chances against Italy, Wales and Scotland and it is hard to see how they can change that against the tournament’s strongest side.

Ireland’s all-round game has helped them cover the handicap in all three games this year and they can keep up that run.

Much-changed sides look set to go close

Wales are without a win this year while France can count themselves lucky to at least have one victory on the board, although things could have gone against them if Scotland had taken their chances at Murrayfield or if the television match official had seen things differently at the end.

For Wales this tournament was always going to be a challenge given the huge turnover of players they have gone through but they showed spirit and fight in the second half against Scotland and the following week at Twickenham, and will be buoyed by a return to Cardiff.

France, despite missing some big names, have been disappointing and coach Fabien Galthie has taken this opportunity to bring in some new faces. Among eight changes, full-back Leo Barre, centre Nicolas Depoortere and lock Emmanuel Meafou make their debuts, while exciting youngsters Louis Bielle-Biarrey and scrum-half Nolann Le Garrec also start. 

Joe Roberts and Owen Watkin form a new centre partnership for Wales but France look to have the edge in terms of physicality and the promise of flair that Bielle-Biarrey and Le Garrec offer.

There may still be a lack of cohesion to this French side though as Thomas Ramos replaces the injured Matthieu Jalibert at fly-half and a narrow win may be the best they can hope for against a Wales team who lost their opening two matches by one and two points.

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