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Ireland v Wales: Gatland’s side to extend impressive Six Nations run

| 07.02.2014

Ireland go into their second Six Nations tie as favourites to beat Wales, but recent history suggests it is the Red Dragons that will emerge victorious in Dublin.

Ireland looked impressive in dispatching Scotland 28-6 in their opening fixture and find themselves priced at 8/11 to secure a second straight win over Wales.

However, Warren Gatland’s men are in staggering Six Nations form, having gone 400 minutes without conceding a try before a fine Michele Campagnaro solo effort for Italy last time out, and will take confidence form their recent trips to the Aviva Stadium.

Ireland may have won the last time these two faced off but the Welsh have won two of their last three trips to Dublin and three of their last four meetings with Ireland overall.

Wales began this year’s tournament with victory too and that start could yet prove ominous for those bidding to end the Dragons’ dominance of this tournament.

Gatland’s men had won their opening fixtures just six times in 15 attempts and a second straight win – priced at 5/4 with Ladbrokes – would further enhance the side’s credentials of landing a Grand Slam.

Wales have won a record five away games in a row and lost just one of their last 11 home and away in the competition.

Ireland, by way of comparison, have not started the Six Nations with successive wins since 2009 and despite winning their last clash with the visitors 30-22 the evidence points to a Wales win.

That narrow win saw Wales have almost double Ireland’s possession and force their opponents to make almost twice as many tackles.

And while Ireland backers will point to the hosts’ clinical nature, it is unlikely they will be afforded such opportunity this time round.

With Wales’ defence in such rude health and Ladbrokes offering best prices on all first tryscorers it could pay to back Alex Cuthbert to cross the line first at 9/1.

The Cardiff man did just that against Italy last time out and only fellow Blues ace Leigh Halfpenny has more points as a back for Cardiff this season.

Ireland, though will hope that Andrew Trimble can get the hosts off to a flying start and it is 11/1 that he opens the scoring here as he did against Scotland in his side’s opener.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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James Curtis

After studying for a degree in journalism and gaining his NCTJ, James contributed to a wide range of papers, online publications and broadcasters including the South London Press, Press Association and Sky Sports News before joining the Ladbrokes News team.