By Andrew Robinson | Six Nations rugby
As the toughest men in sport prepare to battle for Europe’s biggest prize (sorry Liverpool, we’re not talking about your Europa League chances), we take a look at the betting for the top tryscorer of the 2013 Six Nations.
Some might say the chances of Wales repeating their Grand Slam performance of 2012 are slimmer than Gareth Thomas’ sequin trousers on Dancing on Ice, but they possess a tryscoring threat in the form of Alex Cuthbert, who is shaping up to be the natural successor to Shane Williams in terms of sheer point-scoring ability.
He’s worth a bet at 9/1, but only if Wales can get the ball to him.
Last year’s runners-up England will be looking to go one better in 2013, but their chances are not being helped by squad members dropping like flies.
However, one man with plenty of bottle is Chris Ashton, top tryscorer in the 2011 tournament when England last lifted the trophy. He’s 9/1 to repeat the feat this year, with his country potentially relying on his swandive to save them from being lame ducks.
After a miserable fourth-place finish in 2012, Les Bleus head into the 2013 as Six Nations favourites following a strong showing in the autumn internationals. Their biggest tryscoring threat is undoubtedly Wesley Fofana – known as ‘Le Guepard’ (The Cheetah) in France for his super speed. If the big cat can avoid pussying out of tackles, expect him to power the French to victory and bag the top tryscorer crown in the process – he’s a snip to do so at 9/1.
Ireland’s biggest advantage this year may be that teams are underestimating them.
Either that, or they’re rightly been written off as no-hopers without Paul O’Connell, Stephen Ferris and 2012 Six Nations top tryscorer and Subway fan Tommy Bowe to rely on.
If they can get the ball out wide, Craig Gilroy is more than capable of touching down and is an outside bet at 20/1 to be this year’s top tryscorer.
The aim for Scotland this year will be to avoid the ignominy of picking up the wooden spoon for the second year in succession.
On the plus side, they can use the utensil picked up in 2012 to eat their Weetabix before this year’s matches. It’s worth a try; as nothing else seems to work. Have an each-way punt on Sean Lamont to be top tryscorer at 66/1 if you’re feeling brave (or stupid).
After they climbed out of the basement in 2012 with strong showings against England and Scotland, taunting Italy is now pasta joke.
Don’t expect them to make an impact on the top tryscorer table, however. Giovanbattista Venditti is more likely to win the competition for longest name of the tournament, but can be backed at 100/1 to score more tries than any other player, if you’re an avid Azzurri aficionado.