The action in the Six Nations resumes this weekend, as the penultimate round of fixtures are played across Europe. Ireland will be bidding to continue their 100% record, as they chase a first Grand Slam title under Andy Farrell. Their chase continues this weekend, as they travel to Scotland.
Scotland vs Ireland
The big game in the Six Nations this weekend will take place at Murrayfield, as the title could be wrapped up for the Irish. They will face their closest challengers on the road, with the Irish looking for a fourth straight victory. It has been a dominant showing throughout the competition to this point, as they have scored a competition-high of 100 points and have allowed a low of just 49 points. Ireland battled strongly in their latest match, as they secured a 34-20 win over Italy in Rome.
Meanwhile, Scotland remain in the hunt for Six Nations glory this year, but they will need to pick up victory over Ireland to keep their dreams alive. Their Grand Slam dreams came to an end in their previous game, as the Scots were beaten by the French in France.
The recent head-to-head meetings make for daunting reading for the Scottish, as they have lost each of their last seven showdowns against the Irish. Their most recent win was achieved at Murrayfield in February 2017. We struggle to see anything other than an Ireland win this weekend.
Italy vs Wales
The opening game of the Six Nations weekend comes from Rome, as Italy look to continue their impressive showings. They are yet to pick up a victory in the competition so far, but they have picked up one point, which sees them sit above France in the current standings. Going forward they have been excellent to this point, as they have posed questions to France and Ireland in recent matches. However, they have allowed more points than any other team in the tournament.
Wales sit bottom of the standings, and they will be chasing a win to avoid the embarrassment of finishing bottom of the Six Nations table. The Welsh have been extremely disappointing in all three games that they have played so far, as they have scored just 27 points, which sees them boast the worst points difference of all six teams in the competition.
Italy scored a historic win in Cardiff in the previous meeting between the sides last year. That win ended a 16-game winning run for the Welsh. I’d be prepared to take a chance on the Italians this weekend.
England vs France
England and France will both be battling to push Ireland to the brink this weekend, but only the winning team is likely to maintain a slim chance of winning the Six Nations crown. The hosts come into this match ahead in the standings, as they have a better points difference than France. England has won two of their last three matches in the Six Nations, with their only defeat coming in the opening round against Scotland.
France defeated Scotland in their previous match, but they remain fourth in the standings. The French has a points difference of just +3 coming into this weekend, as they have scored 80, but have allowed a stunning 77, which is the fourth-worst defensive record in the Six Nations.
This will be a fascinating battle between the sides on Saturday. The decision to drop Owen Farrell is a bold decision, and we could see England scoring a huge win under Steve Borthwick.