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Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

In-form Ireland flyer Keith Earls can top tryscoring lists

Care and Parkes can head England and Wales charts

Ireland's Keith Earls could be among the tries again
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An eight-way dead-heat at the head of the top tryscorer betting last year put a serious dent in punters’ hopes of a decent return and the fact that it took only three tries to land the honours is another offputting factor.

Two players - Ireland’s CJ Stander and Craig Gilroy - reached that total in one game, and Gilroy did it off the bench, so the opportunity for a leading contender at a relatively short price to be overhauled by an overlooked outsider is clearly there.

Indeed, the bench is often a good place to look for a game-changer as replacements tend to be introduced when games are opening up and defences are tiring, and Eddie Jones has added a new dimension by referring to his starters and finishers.

One of his trusted substitutes could offer decent value again but the best overall bet may be a seasoned regular near the top of the betting.

K Earls top tournament tryscorer
The Ireland winger is 30 and made his Six Nations debut in 2010, but he is in the form of his life.

He is one of the eight who shared top billing last year and he also weighed in with four tries in Ireland's summer tour before missing the autumn series.

He is back in Joe Schmidt's starting team with emerging Ulster star Jacob Stockdale on the other wing and he looks set to form the focus of Ireland's attack.

Appearances for Munster have also been limited in this campaign but Earls bagged a brace in the big showdown with Leinster in October and he crossed in his last two European starts last month.

K Earls top tournament tryscorer
1pt each-way 12-1 Betfair


D Care top England tryscorer
England scrum-half Danny Care was another to share the spoils last year despite starting only one match, against Italy.

He scored in that game for a trademark quick-tap penalty and came on as a replacement for Ben Youngs in the other four fixtures, adding two more tries. 

He also scored off the bench against Australia in November and has become a perfect example of Jones's finishers, a livewire, jack-in-the-box scrum-half who makes the most of his opportunities as the England pack turn the screw late on in games.

D Care top England tryscorer
1pt 20-1 Betway


H Parkes top Wales tryscorer
New Zealand-born Hadleigh Parkes made his Wales debut in November aged 30 and made his mark with two tries in a victory over South Africa.

At the time the naturalised Kiwi was seen as a kind of emergency call-up but he has more cause than most to think he could be in for a run of games rather than be dropped once one or two return from injury.

Josh Adams and Steff Evans are the starting wingers against Scotland but George North is close to full fitness and will surely come in at some stage, although Liam Williams could miss the while tournament.

Parkes's place in the centre looks likely to remain open with Jonathan Davies ruled out for the tournament and his years of experience around the world should stand him in good stead for a decent run of games.

It's a win-only market with some firms unfortunately but 33-1 is a price worth taking.

H Parkes top Wales tryscorer
1pt 33-1 Betfair, Paddy Power

L Halfpenny top tournament points scorer
Scotland's Greig Laidlaw has only just returned from injury and starts on the bench against Wales in round one, so yet again the market has been priced up as a shootout between Owen Farrell and Jonny Sexton.

Leigh Halfpenny is next in the betting and may not be a bad shout given Dan Biggar is likely to miss at least the first three rounds.

Rhys Patchell starts at fly-half with only five caps to his name and no Six Nations experience so Halfpenny looks likely to take the goalkicking responsibility off his shoulders.

L Halfpenny top tournament points scorer
2pts 9-2 Betway

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The Ireland winger is 30 and made his Six Nations debut in 2010, but he is in the form of his life
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