We were all over the 3/1 with bwin.com on Ireland winning the Grand Slam prior to their 19-9 cruise at home to England, eschewing 13/15 odds about Joe Schmidt’s side seeing off their old Six Nations foes in favour of the meatier tournament quote.
You can still get 11/10 about Ireland claiming a northern hemisphere clean sweep for only the third time in their history, but for those already sitting pretty at 3s (or more) the quicker fix of 37/50 on Paul O’Connell and co beating Wales away should be the bet in this instance.
Why? Read on…
Ireland have won on five of their seven visits to Wales in the Six Nations era
The visitors could hardly have picked a friendlier fixture to solidify their claims as the best Europe has to offer ahead of this autumn’s World Cup.
In 2013, Ireland raced into a faintly ridiculous 23-3 lead at the Millennium Stadium by the break, before being pegged back to a somewhat respectable scoreline of 30-22 at the final whistle.
Allied with the fact that they walloped then-Six Nations champions Wales 26-3 at the Aviva Stadium last year, having been 13-0 up after 40 minutes, the 13/10 about Ireland/Ireland in the HT/FT market seems reasonable.
A victory for the visitors would be the first time Ireland have ever won 11 Test matches in a row
The beauty of this run lies in the quality of countries left in Ireland’s wake, such as France (twice), South Africa, Australia, and now England.
Triumphs over Wales and Scotland would almost complete the set of the best Test-playing nations in world rugby. Only New Zealand, who Ireland have never beaten, would be left to conquer.
Using form against England so far in the campiagn as a yardstick, Schmidt’s men should walk this
Aside from the first ten minutes, when Wales went 10-0 up courtesy of a converted try and a penalty, Warren Gatland’s Dragons laboured against their neighbours in early February, going in at half time with a shaky 16-8 lead before failing to grab a second-half point as they went down 21-16 in front of the faithful.
At the Aviva a fortnight ago, Ireland were even more dominant early on; only fly-half George Ford touched the ball in the first ten minutes for England, and at that to either kick-off or restart.
It may not be quite as one-sided as that match, which was over within an hour at 19-3, but the defending champions won’t be denied at the Millennium Stadium.