A huge game on Saturday night as England face Wales in the Rugby World Cup. We asked Russ Petty (@rpetty80) for his best bet.
England v Wales | Saturday 20:00 | ITV1
The draw for this tournament was made in December 2012, which has given plenty of time for the hype to build for this match.
As hosts England do have a significant advantage. They’ve won their last eight games at Twickenham and 13 of the previous 15 against Wales there. The last time Wales were ahead at halftime against England there was February 1980 – Kenny Rogers was number one with “Coward of the County” and none of the current Welsh squad were born.
England lost three consecutive matches in this fixture from 2011-2013, scoring just nine,12 and three points. Since that 2013 Six Nations horror show, Stuart Lancaster’s team have won the previous two meetings by scores of 29-18 and 21-16. They won the second half by margins of six and 13 points in those games and what happens after the break has been decisive when these teams meet.
Going back to 1970, England have won 23/24 games against Wales when they have outscored them second half while for Wales it is 21/22 victories when they edge that half. Wales have won the last 15 meetings when they have been able to restrict this opponent to seven points or under in the final forty minutes. In contrast, England have won the last 23 matches in the fixture when scoring eight or more points in the second half.
It is five wins apiece for the teams since Warren Gatland became Wales coach in December 2007, with his team scoring at least 16 points in each of those ten matches. The 2014 and 2015 contests did see a reversal of their scoring patterns under his reign– previously they had averaged six points scored against England first half and then 15 in the second. Those last two games saw them score 15 and 16 points by halftime and then three and 0 points after the interval.
With Leigh Halfpenny missing, a referee that the Welsh management fear has a negative perception of both their scrum and work at the breakdown and a powerful looking England bench – I’ll back the hosts to repeat their efforts from earlier in the year.
England v Wales – England -4 Second Half Handicap (10/11 William Hill)
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