The greatest annual tournament in the world in my opinion, competitive year after year and always big stories and results to come out of it, we could get one on the first weekend, but I will come to that with my weekly bets, here we are going to preview each team, the players to watch out for a some fun tournament bets to keep you interested the whole competition hopefully with a good return at the end of it

Wales

We start with the reigning Grand slam winners (tipped last year at 14/1). After a fantastic World Cup, coming very close to making the final, getting beaten only by the winners in the semi final, their pedigree and 2019 was second to none in the northern hemisphere. They have a whole new back room and coaching set up and a lot of fresh new faces in the squad mixed with some not so fresh faces. Led once again by the mountain figure of Alun wyn Jones, they will prove a worthy opponent to every team in the competition. Unfortunately for the Welsh they have to travel away from fortress Cardiff to play both England and Ireland, which is a big minus to their chances, but they do get an easy enough start playing the Italians. They will also be without their star backs Jonathon Davies and Liam Williams at the start of the tournament and maybe further

Final Position 4th

Player to watch Nick Tompkins

England

World cup runners up, steady fairly unchanged squad, playing both Wales and Ireland at home. This obviously makes England worthy favourites for this years tournament. But a lot of people are forgetting what a challenge the French are going to be, in Paris first up. With Eddie Jones at the helm again, a few changes of personnel in his back room as has become routine throughout his reign, and Owen Farrell leading from the front on the pitch. Are England going to be the broken side after the fallout from The Saracens salary cap issues? Or are they going to come together and be the force you would expect during the tournament? For this reason, at the prices they are too short for me, but if the win their first match I would expect them to still win the tournament

Final position 1st

Player to watch Anthony Watson

Ireland

Another side with a new coach, a new captain and a new hope. After a poor World Cup thy will be looking for a new start and a new Era. At club level they are thriving, all four club sides are playing some great rugby at the moment and they are spoilt for choice is so many positions across the park. With Farrell and Sexton at the helm this year, they have two very different leaders to last year. Schmidt and Best always looked as if nothing could rattle them, but the new combo both look as if you could really get under their skin and cause upset if things didn’t go their way. They have some very exciting players coming through, no more so than their young and little known new no. 8, Caelan Doris. They may be looking to build already for four years time, but at the moment they look a bit fragile

Final position 3rd

Player to watch Jordan Larmour

France

Is the sleeping giant waking up? I think so. With Fabian Galthie in the top job, and new defence coach Shaun Edwards, they have picked a very young but extremely exciting squad. If they can keep calm under the pressure of the big stage they will go very close this year. There is a lot of talk about French clubs spending endless money on big names, but the bulk of these squads is made up of young French talent, and they really are the team to look out for this year with three games at home. They have a real chance that if the beat England on Sunday they could find themselves playing Ireland at the Stade de France on the final weekend for the Grand slam. They really are the dark horse this year and I think they will go very close, let’s not forget France would probably have beaten Wales in the World Cup Qtr Final last year, but for a reckless red card.

Final position 2nd

Player to watch Romain Ntamack

Scotland

A poor World Cup seemed to leave Scotland in tatters, they once again are looking to rebuild, and it seems to be a repetitive theme with with the Scots. Gregor Townsend has looked o a new captain and a new start in Stuart Hogg, he will bring a lot of passion to the job, and we all know the skill he already possess on the pitch. Hopefully he will lead through the way he plays and the whole country can get behind them. This will not be an easy tournament for them though, they need to turn Murrayfield into a fortress again with England and France having to travel up there. But if they go to Dublin this weekend and fold over then it could all of a sudden be a very long tournament for them.

Final position 5th

Player to watch Adam Hastings

Italy

New coach, new hope? I think that is unlikely at this stage. They really are a team that need to find something. A poor World Cup, all of the pre tournament talk just seems to be about the swan song of Sergio Parrise rather than where they are going as a side and how they move forward. They position they are in now really gets me wondering whether there should be promotion and relegation brought into is great tournament as there are plenty of sides knocking on the door that could add just as much as Italy at the moment

Final position 6th

Player to watch Tommaso Benvenuti

Tournament Bets
So, to the bets I recommend, England should win, but are too short so I am taking a much better price on both the tournament winner and Grand slam, in the hope that the French youth and skill shines through in a tournament that is screaming out for a side to take it by storm. We do have a little cover bet with the top 2 finish and straight forecast, just in case England do shine through ahead of the French.

Tournament Winner: France 13/2 best price with Betfair, generally 6/1 or 11/2 (2nd)

Grand Slam Winner: France 14/1 best price, most major bookies (lost, won 4 lost 1)

Top 2 Finish: France 5/2 only available with Bet365, Betway & Boylesports (9/4) – WON

Top Point Scorer: Dan Biggar 5/1 best price Boyle Sports, generally 4/1 (lost, 3rd place)

Top Try Scorer: Damian Penaud 14/1 best price with several major bookies, otherwise 12/1 (lost)

Straight Forecast: England 1st France 2nd 15/2 only available with Betfair and Paddy Power – WON

Results: 6 Bets – 2 Winners – Returning a Profit of 4 Points. 

Good Luck and check in to see weekly bets throughout the tournament.

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