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Can Ireland bounce back? Get international rugby tips for the weekend

Ben Darvill 30 Aug 2019
Wales' George North goes over for a try against England (credit:David Davies/PA Wire/PA Images)

Can France bounce back from their recent loss to Scotland, and will Wales compound Ireland's woes? Read on for our best bets for these World Cup warm-up games.

France vs Italy (Friday, 20:10 BST)

While France remain one of the biggest unknown quantities in world rugby, this is a game we fully expect them to win. Their recent fixtures saw the side trade blows with Scotland, first by absolutely hammering the side 32-3 before then getting edged out of the contest in Scotland as they lost 17-14. While it was hugely disappointing that they could not quite get over the line last weekend there were definitely signs of improvement, and they will feel that they have an opportunity to put some momentum together going into the World Cup. Italy meanwhile may have hammered Russia 85-15 last time out, and while this first Test win in nine matches may have been a healthy one, it came against a side that is so far below the top tier in rugby that it means very little, with this more of a chance for players just to have a run out. 

Despite the fact that Italy were able to battle to a close 25-14 loss in their last game against France, the Italians will be very aware of the fact that they have not beaten France in seven attempts spanning back to 2013, and they will know that this match in France will not likely change this losing run. With this in mind, we are backing France to secure a big win at -16 in the handicap market at 10/11 with Ladbrokes, with the side often enjoying healthy victories against the Italians on their own turf. 

Wales vs Ireland (Saturday, 14:30 BST)

While Wales were given the chance for some much-needed rest and recuperation last weekend, Ireland were taking a pummelling of epic proportions at Twickenham as England ran riot. A 57-15 loss was more akin to England’s exploits against the likes of Italy at Twickenham, and that will hurt Ireland, with the side humiliated with the World Cup less than a month away. Joe Schmidt will look at the loss as a learning opportunity, but he will also be very wary of the fact that another loss to Wales on Saturday would mean they have been beaten three times in their last four games, with the alarm bells ringing loud. For Wales, the number one spot in the world is one they will want to keep for as long as possible, with their rise to the top one born out of a very impressive end to 2018 and a Grand Slam winning campaign earlier this year. While they did lose to England in a 33-19 defeat at Twickenham, they were able to bounce back immediately as they ground out a 13-6 victory in Cardiff. 

After the recent results of the two sides and considering this one is being played at the Principality Stadium, Wales are the big favourites with the bookies, so we are steering clear of this market as we agree with the bookmakers, with Ireland looking like a shadow of their 2018-selves. In conjunction with this comes the fact Wales are very strong at home and are incredibly tough to beat there. With this in mind we are instead looking towards the anytime try scorer market. As things stand, we are backing Aled Davies of the Ospreys to go over in the match with the pacy and tricky scrum-half proving for the Welsh region that he is very difficult to stop once he gets up ahead of steam, and we feel he will have to help Josh Navidi to lead a largely inexperienced Welsh side. The mass changes Gatland has made to his side for the game do make this one a more even contest as form will not play too much of a part considering the Welsh team that beat England two weeks ago is not actually playing, with the home side clearly protecting their best players with the World Cup mere weeks away. With the scrum-half berths on the plane to Japan something that are yet to be decided, we are expecting Davies to put in a good performance and get over to score and do his chances of going to the 2019 World Cup no harm. 

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Can Ireland bounce back? Get international rugby tips for the weekend

The Rugby World Cup warm-up games continue this weekend as France host Italy and Wales take on Ireland

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