Six Nations winner odds: France odds-on for the trophy
Six Nations winner odds after round three
The Six Nations returned from its first break and following the middle weekend of the championship, it is France who are gunning for both a Grand Slam and a championship in 12 years.
Here we look at the updated Six Nations winner odds and look at each side’s prospects of lifting the trophy next month.
Allez Les Bleus
The French entered the tournament as favourites and following another comfortable win over Scotland have shortened into 1/3 for the championship.
It was an accomplished victory at Murrayfield that matched brute strength with artistry as they target a first title for 12 years and while Scotland played a role in making them look unstoppable, it is clear France have frightening talent overseen by their scrum-half magician Antoine Dupont.
In the past French sides have been known to crumble under the pressure, but Fabien Galthie’s team is a different beast and with Wales and England to come, they can be backed at 8/11 to achieve the Grand Slam.
Irish eyes could still shine
Andy Farrell’s side took out their frustration from losing in Paris out on the poor Italians in Dublin at the weekend and although victory was a formality, there was plenty of encouraging signs in the 57-6 bonus point win at the Aviva Stadium.
They now have 11 points from their opening three games and with talismanic skipper Johnny Sexton set to return for the crunch clash with England at Twickenham, Ireland will be hoping to keep the pressure on the French and be in a position to pounce on any slip-ups from the odds-on favourites.
England’s identity crisis rumbles on
England have fought their way back into title contention admirably following their opening-day defeat to Scotland, producing a bonus-point win in Rome and averting disaster in the face of a determined Wales fightback at Twickenham.
Yet they head into the final two matches against Ireland and France, who will provide stiffer tests than those encountered so far, in urgent need of an identity.
Their pack has been resolute and resilience runs throughout the team, but beyond Marcus Smith, one of our five who could shine and the competition’s leading point scorer, they rarely fire a shot in attack.
Eddie Jones talks of a young side in transition, but the additional picture emerging from Twickenham on Saturday is of a group missing a collective sense of purpose.
Nevertheless Smith continues to impress in the number 10 shirt and with Harry Randall taking possession of the scrum-half position, there is plenty of optimism for England’s future and if Manu Tuilagi is able to shake off his injury worries, then England could still have a chance of obliging Six Nations winner odds of 13/2.
Still plenty of fire in the Welsh dragon
It has been a testing time for Wayne Pivac and the Welsh, but they put in a dogged display at Twickenham in the middle weekend and although their title hopes could be over, showed they could still have a say in the destination of the Six Nations trophy.
Taulupe Faletau produced a towering display in defiance of having been limited to only 144 minutes of rugby this season because of an ankle injury and Wales fans will wonder what might have been as their team’s title defence ended with two rounds to spare.
Injuries have hindered Pivac’s side badly with Alun Wyn Jones, Justin Tipuric, Ken Owens, George North and Josh Navidi all lost to the treatment room and Six Nations winner odds of 125/1 suggest that the Welsh will be playing for pride only as they take on France and Italy in the final two rounds of the championship.
Scots dreams scuppered
For a Six Nations campaign which started with so much optimism following the win over England, it is in real danger of ending in bitter misery following consecutive defeats to Wales and France.
Gregor Townsend’s side was a shadow of the team that outpointed England in week one as they rolled over tamely in Edinburgh against the French and their Six Nations hopes are all but over.
Italy are up next, but odds of 250/1 tell its own tale and they could even be looking at the wooden spoon if not fully focussed against the Azzurri.
Spare a thought for Italy. Playing to avoid a 35th successive Six Nations defeat, the stars aligned against them.
Hooker Gianmarco Lucchesi had already departed injured so when his replacement Hame Faiva was sent off for a dangerous tackle, they were forced to take off an additional player as punishment under World Rugby regulations for going to uncontested scrums.
Italy played a leading role in their own downfall, but luck is proving every bit as elusive as that long-awaited victory and with the wooden spoon awaiting them, they are no longer listed in our Six Nations winner odds.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication