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Wales have to be backed to retain their Six Nations crown

| 26.02.2014

Wales were given a wake-up call against Ireland in Dublin where they lost the battle in nearly every department when crashing to a 26-3 defeat.

However, like all top sides in the sporting arena, the two-time defending champions acted quickly to resign that loss to history by bouncing back to thump a talented French side who had overcome England in their opener.

That victory, in combination with England’s impressive Grand Slam-trampling win over Ireland threw the tournament wide open as a quartet of sides are now locked on four points, with Stuart Lancaster’s men dubbed the 11/8 favourites for the trophy.

However, given Wales are the big remaining obstacle in the White Rose’s quest for glory, the Red Dragons’ odds of 9/2 should be snapped up while the hype surrounding England rumbles on during the build up to Twickenham.

People are quick to forget that Warren Gatland’s current squad are largely made up of the same personnel that have held the hoodoo over England in their last three Test matches – two of which were in the Six Nations.

Although the English seem to have improved on last season, when faced with a Championship winning chance in Wales in the final game of the 2013 edition they imploded 30-3 at the hands of Sam Warburton, George North and co at the Millenium Stadium.

That this next crunch game comes at Twickenham naturally seems to swing the way of England, but that didn’t stop the 2012 Grand Slam winners prevailing 19-12 on their last visit.

Where England must face the holders without hugely influential No 8 Billy Vunipola, who is out for the remainder off the tournament, the visitors have the added bonus of welcoming back stand out Lions players Alun Wyn Jones and Jonathan Davies.

One bad game doesn’t make a group as talented as this crop of Welsh players outsiders overnight.

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

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.