What Are the Odds of Wales Winning the Grand Slam?
|Wales to Win Grand Slam
|No Grand Slam Winner
The stage is set. At 2.45pm on Saturday Wales know what they need to do. Beat Ireland – by any margin – and they’ll earn a first Grand Slam since 2012. Sounds simple, but standing in their way is a team that only four months ago was crowned the World Rugby team of the year, led by the coach of the year and spearheaded by the player of the year.
Can Wales get over the line? And – more importantly – should you back them to do it? Here we look at the history between the two sides, the expected team sheets and the odds from the best bookmakers to help you decide.
Whether nothing was on the line – or everything – Wales versus Ireland would always be a ferocious encounter with honours in the Six Nations over the past decade even.
Since Wales’ Kiwi coach Warren Gatland took over, his side have won five times to Ireland’s five, with 2016 witnessing a rare 16-16 draw. Were history to repeat itself you can back a draw at 25/1 with BetVictor – but don’t put your house on it.
Now this year, in Gatland’s final season in charge, Wales are on a remarkable run of 13 straight wins – eclipsing a century old record for the men in red. Along the way they’ve beaten six of the world’s top ten: Argentina, Australia, South Africa, France, England and Scotland.
But, crucially, the last time they tasted defeat was against Saturday’s opponents, losing 37-27 away in Dublin in the 2018 Six Nations. The last time they lost at their home fortress in Cardiff? Sixteen months ago in November 2017 when the All Blacks triumphed 19-33.
Looking back further, it’s been six years since Ireland last won in Wales in the Six Nations, with their most recent victory in Cardiff a 35-21 victory in a 2015 World Cup warm-up match.
The dangerous but unpredictable Gareth Anscombe appears to have won the battle of the fly-halves ahead of Dan Biggar, with the latter proving influential off the bench throughout the tournament. His impact to close out the match or conjure up some magic – as he did repeatedly in a game-changing 19-minute cameo against England – could make the difference.
On the Welsh wing the side-stepping Josh Adams is in blistering form. He’s crossed the line in each of his last three matches and is best priced at 12/5 with Betfair to score anytime or a more tasty 11/1 with Betway to score first.
A notable mention must be made for giant second row Adam Beard, who has now won all 12 of the games he’s played for Wales. Only two players in World Rugby have played more with a perfect 100% record (Charles Piutau at 17 and Corey Flynn with 15 – both for New Zealand). Keep an eye on Wales’ talismanic captain Alun Wyn Jones too. He’s the front runner for player of the tournament at 3/1 with Betfair.
Plotting to spoil his coronation will be Ireland’s scrum half Conor Murray and No.10 Johnny Sexton – the aforementioned world player of the year. Their likeliest way to the tryline remains through last season’s Six Nations top scorer, Jacob Stockdale (13/8 with Betfair to score anytime).
Despite the considerable momentum Wales have built over the past year – let alone the tournament – the bookmakers only have the home side as narrow favourites, best priced at 5/6 with William Hill. You can get better value at 4/1 to back a narrow home win by 1-5 points.
An Irish win is 5/4 with Ladbrokes and they’re at 20/1 to win the whole Six Nations. It’s mathematically possible, but would require either Scotland to beat England at Twickenham in the final game of the tournament – something that hasn’t happened since 1983 – or a highly unlikely 64-point swing in their favour.
If it all comes tumbling down for Wales, England will be ready to capitalise, and you can back them at 11/8 with BetVictor to snatch the championship at the death.
It all sets Super Saturday up superbly for high drama, upsets and plenty at stake. Sit back, soak it up and enjoy!