Six Nations: Will Wales win the Grand Slam?

Six Nations: Will Wales win the Grand Slam? After turning […]

Six Nations: Will Wales win the Grand Slam?

After turning it around in their last game, to beat England 21-13 in Cardiff, Wales made it a record 12 test wins in a row as their hopes of a twelfth Grand Slam continue. But will they do it? If you believe so and fancy a flutter, Six Nations betting on Paddy Power are currently offering odds of 7/4.

Fixtures so far

Match day one – v France

Wales have won seven of the last eight meetings with France, since the 9-8 World Cup semi-final defeat in 2011; but on match day one, they faced a difficult test in wet conditions at the Stade de France. They went in at half time, 16-0 down. But after the break, came out a totally different side and if anything, France crumbled. George North was on the score sheet with two tries and was undoubtedly man of the match; and the defence held on to become the first team to overcome a 16-point half-time deficit in Six Nations history.

Match day two – v Italy

In their last 12 matches against Italy in the Six Nations, Wales have a 100% record so a further victory in Rome seemed a given; despite the number of changes that Warren Gatland made to the side. Thanks to Dan Biggar’s four penalties, Wales went into the break with a 7-12 lead. In the second half, Italy fought back and managed to get within two points of Wales; however, after the hour-mark, the Welsh romped ahead and held onto an all-important victory.

Match day three – v England

Wales’ toughest test came most recently at home to an English side that had won their previous two fixtures as well. In fact, in Six Nations history, England have the better record, beating Wales on 13 occasions (with Wales winning six ties). Wales went in at the break 3-10 down; but a rampant final 20 minutes saw Wales on top, scoring two tries and converting one.

After the game, Welsh captain Alun Wyn Jones said: “We’d probably like to play next week to build some momentum. A week off is a dangerous thing. Scotland will be licking their wounds and looking forward to us coming up there”.

A look ahead to Wales’ remaining fixtures

Wales’ next game is on Saturday 9 March, away to Scotland, who currently sit fifth in the table, with just one win and two defeats to their name so far this competition. Since the inauguration of the tournament in 2000, Wales have won 14 of their games against Scotland and surely given the form of both teams, will be favourites again.

A trickier test comes in match day five, when they face Ireland – despite having home advantage with the game being played at The Principality Stadium. Ireland are currently third in the table with two wins under their belt; however, look a shadow of the side that won the Grand Slam last year. Games between Wales and Ireland are often quite close but in the Championship the Irish are on top with 11 victories, to Wales’ seven.

In short

Wales last won the Grand Slam in 2012, but will need to stay resilient and not become complacent in their remaining two games. A Grand Slam finish would be a fairy-tale farewell to Warren Gatland, whose tenure as Welsh coach comes to an end at the end of the tournament.