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Betting on Wales rugby: Key Areas and Match-Ups v England

Wales may have beaten England in the first of the World Cup warm-matches, but the bookmakers reckon the old sweet chariot will be swinging its way to victory at Twickenham.

The two countries meet again this Saturday, a week after Wales earned a convincing 20-9 victory in Cardiff.

That scoreline could have been even more convincing for Warren Gatland and his men if a knife-edge decision by the TMO had not gone against Louis Rees-Zammit when the wing thought he had scored a try.

Had the call gone his way, Wales would have scored three tries to nil, which would not have been unjustified in the final analysis.

Yet, DragonBet are not alone among the bookies who think it will be a different story in west London, with England 1/7 favourites and Wales outsiders at 9/2.

You can get 28/1 on the draw, but bear in mind that we have not had a draw in this fixture since 1964 – that’s 67successive meetings without the spoils being shared.

Wales’ victory last week was their fourth in the last nine meetings, although those were all at the Principality Stadium and you have to go back to the 2015 World Cup – and that famous late 28-25 win – to find the last time Wales beat England on their own west London turf.

If the second-half last week felt like Wales were the dominant team, the statistics across the entire 80 minutes prove that wasn’t the case.

Wales had 49% possession and enjoyed 43% of territorial advantage.

But they were far more clinical when they did have the ball, with seven clean breaks compared to England’s five, 21 defenders beaten to England’s 19, and six turnovers won compared to five by England.

The surge on the scoreboard from the tries came in the second-half, so will it be the same story if they produce a shock at Twickenham?

You can get 20/1 on England to lead at half-time (as they did last week) and for Wales to come from behind to win.

After all, Gatland said after the game that it was Wales’ superior fitness levels that proved decisive, although if you want to take up the handicap bet on the outcome, then Wales have a 12.5 points start.

Both teams are likely to make significant changes for the return game, as Gatland and opposite number Steve Borthwick try and find the right combinations to field when the World Cup starts in just a month’s time.

Wales are likely to field an entirely new front row and will be anxious to examine the fitness of hooker Dewi Lake, with Gareth Thomas and Tomas Francis as props.

Adam Beard, Dan Lydiate and the newcomer from New Zealand rugby, Taine Plumtree, could come into the pack as well, with a possible match-up at No.8 between Plumtree and England’s stalwart Billy Vunipola well worth looking out for.

With Gareth Anscombe struggling to overcome an injury, the Wales No.10 shirt could provide another interesting clash between Owen Williams and England’s Owen Farrell, the leader of the Red Rose army who watched from the sidelines in Cardiff with a combination of bemusement and disgust as England folded.

So, plenty to mull over this weekend, but remember it’s World Cup preparation and as such it’s a phoney war.

The real business starts on September 8 in France, with England still a way ahead of Wales in the betting to lift the trophy.

England are currently sixth favourites for the World Cup, with DragonBet, at 10/1. Wales are less fancied and come in as joint eighth favourites, alongside Scotland, at 34/1.

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