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England and France Both See 2020 Six Nations Odds Improve; Teams Meet in Tournament Opener

Robert Duff

by Robert Duff in Rugby

Jan 26, 2020 · 5:00 AM PST

England rugby team stands for anthem
Both England and France have seen their odds for for the 2020 Six Nations rugby championship improve over the past three weeks. Photo by Diallo25 (Wiki Commons).
  • The average odds of England and France winning the 2020 Six Nations rugby have improved over the past three weeks
  • Between Jan. 8-25, England went from -123 to -129. France improved from +944 to +720
  • The English and French clash in their Six Nations opener Feb. 2 in Saint-Denis

As Six Nations rugby grows nearer to kickoff, the chances of England and France are improving. The odds on Wales, Ireland and Scotland are lengthening, and Italy is treading water.

England, losing finalists at last fall’s Rugby World Cup, remain the chalk to win the event. The English have seen their 2020 Six Nations Championship Odds improve from -123 to -129.

While still the fourth betting choice, France saw its average odds make a significant jump from +944 down to +720. The French displayed improved form at the RWC, reaching the quarterfinals.

2020 Six Nations Rugby Odds

Country Odds on Jan. 8 Odds on Jan. 25
England -123 -129
Ireland +348 +365
Wales +441 +510
France +944 +720
Scotland +2088 +2133
Italy +7500 +7500

Odds taken Jan. 26.

The odds of Wales (+441 to +510), Ireland (+348 to +365) and Scotland (+2088 to +2133) all grew longer. Italy remained unchanged at +7500.

Mixed Results for England

It would be logical to expect a carryover effect from a strong Rugby World Cup into the ensuing Six Nations, but that’s not always been the case for England. This was so in 1992. Fresh off a runner-up finish at the 1991 RWC, the English went a perfect 4-0 to win what was still the Five Nations in those days.

However, following a RWC win in 2003 and a second-place finish in 2007, England finished 3-2 and in third place at the 2004 and 2008 Six Nations tourneys.

England has gone without a six Nations title since wearing back-to-back crowns in 2016-17.

France on the Rebound?

In 2000, current French Federation of Rugby president Bernard Laporte was appointed coach of the French national rugby team. He named Fabien Galthe as his captain. Within two years, France were Six Nations champions.

They changed the mindset and consistency of French rugby then, and appear prepared to do it together now. Galthie replaced Jacques Brunel as the country’s head coach following  the 2019 RWC.

He immediately shocked French rugby, naming 19 uncapped players in his 42-man Six Nations squad. Galthie appointed 11-times capped Charles Ollivon as captain.

Seven members of France’s world under-20 championship team are included in the side. France last won the Six Nations in 2010.

Transition Game for Wales, Ireland

Semifinalists at the Rugby World Cup, Wales is also breaking in a new boss. Former Scarlets coach Wayne Pivac has big shoes to fill as he replaces the very successful Warren Gatland in charge of the Welsh. They’ll face tough road tests at Dublin and Twickenham.

The Irish were literally on top of the world in 2018. They won the Grand Slam in taking the Six Nations and also beat reigning RWC champs New Zealand.

Last year was disappointing. Ireland failed to repeat in the Six Nations and were thrashed in the RWC quarterfinals by the All Blacks. Andy Farrell has taken over as coach for Joe Schmidt.

England-France a Key Six Nations Opener

England are listed as -175 favorites to launch the Six Nations with a victory at France. The English will seek to do so without 62-times capped lock Joe Launchbury, out with a knee injury.

While RWC stars Owen Farrell and George Ford are on board, England is also including seven uncapped players and  four others with 10 or fewer caps in the side that’s going to France.

Also-rans in the Six Nations for a decade, France is on the upswing. The French are targeting the 2023 RWC, which they will host.

The Six Nations is England’s tournament to lose but the French will prove a tough out.

Pick: England (-129).

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