This weekend’s predictions!

Date published: February 28 2015

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It is that time of the week when we put our head on the chopping block with Planet Rugby's predictions.

Another bumper rugby weekend is in store over the next two days as the Six Nations returns to join Super Rugby, PRO12 and Premiership action.

We have got three critical international games to sink our teeth into as Scotland and Italy go toe-to-toe in what is likely to be the Wooden Spoon decider before we head to Paris for France against Wales. And what a clash to finish the round on Sunday, between Ireland and England.

Throw in clashes such as the Chiefs v Crusaders, Bulls v Sharks, Leicester v Sale, Bath v Exeter and Munster v Glasgow and we're in for a treat.

Intrigued? Well let's check the best bets that Paddy Power has on offer.

Six Nations

Scotland v Italy

Scotland should pick up their first win of the 2015 Championship on Saturday as we expect them to win by more than the -11 handicap suggests. If you would like to narrow it down and increase those Evens odds, then you might be worth getting on Scotland by 11-20 points, which is 9/4.

We also fancy centre Alex Dunbar to get over the whitewash at Murrayfield and with the Paddy Power offer of your money back as a free bet if your first try-scorer crosses anytime, let's go for him at 18/1. If you do want to go for him to score in 80 minutes then he's a decent 9/2.

France v Wales

With the exception of last year, in which neither side was overly impressive, this fixture has been tight in recent seasons. Given the lack of creativity shown by both sides to date, it's difficult to imagine this one being anything other than a tight game. France should be better under the high ball, and Wales will offer more resistance up front. Still, it's almost a coin flip, and despite Wales' good recent record, we think the French might just nick it. France by 3.

If you're looking for a try-scorer Rhys Webb has been in fine scoring form, and we can see him sniping over for another at 10/3 any time. Given how few tries there have been in this fixture recently though, you might be better playing the points, with 33.5 seeming low, but it is still higher than the total in the last four fixtures between the sides.

Ireland v England

A tough one, with more questions than answers. Can Sexton produce two kicking masterclasses in a row? Will England be able to make enough opportunities for Joseph? The Springboks and Wallabies have gone to Dublin in recent times and fallen. The gut feeling is this will come down to a single kick. Ireland by 3.

In terms of other bets, 21/10 on Ireland to pick up the first yellow card is tempting. While a lot of the talk has been about Dylan Hartley's temperament this week, we feel the English scrum could give Ireland a lot of trouble. If Mike Ross struggles early, there's every chance he might be given ten minutes in the bin by Craig Joubert.

Super Rugby

Cheetahs v Blues

It is no surprise that the total points line is up at 52.5 for this one as we expect tries aplenty between these two sides on the highveld. We were hoping for something offered in the mid 40s but let's go with our instincts and punt on that number to be beaten on Friday evening.

Sarel Pretorius is worth a bet on being the first try-scorer at 16/1 while we like Blues hooker James Parsons as an anytime scorer at 7/1.

Chiefs v Crusaders

What a game we have to kick-off Saturday's action as Waikato Stadium in Hamilton hosts the two favourites to top the New Zealand conference.

The Chiefs should have enough quality to see off their visitors and banish the memories of 2014's home defeat and we fancy them to beat the -4 handicap they have been given. Chiefs by 6-10 points is 7/2 and we also like the Crusaders not being able to cross the whitewash at 7/2.

Bulls v Sharks

Expect a tight game, particularly as the Bulls cannot afford a third straight defeat at home if they are to make the play-offs. Immediately the option of backing a drop-goal being landed looks decent at 4/5 while we also like the first scoring play to be a Sharks penalty at 8/5.

Of course once they are settled, the Sharks could well look to that driving maul tactic so it is worth getting on Marcell Coetzee to cross.

Other Super Rugby predictions:

Rebels v Brumbies: Brumbies by 2
Lions v Stormers: Stormers by 10

 

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