Scotland maintained their unbeaten run against Italy for eight years,…
Ireland is the favorite to win the Six Nations championship, but the overall win of the Guinness Six Nations on Saturday is still up for grabs.
The action will begin in Edinburgh, where Scotland and Italy will try to end their campaigns on a high note. The spotlight will then shift to Paris, where France, who are in second place and trail Ireland by four points, will be looking to win against Wales to put pressure on the log leaders.
The championship will be wrapped up in Dublin, where Ireland will secure their first Six Nations title and Grand Slam since 2018 with a win or a draw against England, who are currently struggling.
What Scotland v Italy
Where BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh
When 12:30, Saturday 18th March
How to watch BBC 1
Prediction: Scotland by 18
Scotland’s Six Nations campaign this year has been impressive, with a huge Calcutta Cup victory over England at Twickenham. This victory has landed them third place in the table with just Italy left to play. They head into this match as strong favourites.
Finn Russell has undoubtedly contributed hugely to the nation’s success, creating plays with his perfect cross-field kicks as well as having excellent hand speed.
Unfortunately, Russell picked up an injury during last week’s fixture against Ireland and he will be replaced by the impressive Blair Kinghorn ahead of this Saturday.
Despite Italy’s defeat to Wales last weekend, they have played some of the best rugby we have seen from them in years. They have every reason to hold their heads high after keeping France to within seven points in the opening week (something England could learn a thing or two about).
Italy are the firm underdogs and at Murrayfield, it seems unlikely they will be able to better the Scots. They remain without their star full-back Ange Capuozzo, but given Finn Russell’s injury, maybe Italy can produce the unthinkable and achieve their first win in Scotland since 2015.
What France v Wales
Where Stade de France, Paris
When 14:45, Saturday 18th March
How to watch ITV1
Prediction: France by 22
France had a remarkable performance against England last weekend, winning 53-10, the largest home defeat for England in the nation’s history. They are the world number two side and are expected to win this weekend’s match against Wales.
Antoine Dupont, the captain and scrum-half, was outstanding in last week’s game and throughout France’s campaign. He is an exceptional player in both attack and defence.
Thibaud Flament also had a great game last weekend, scoring two tries and causing problems for England. The French squad is talented from head to toe, and Wales are in for a tough weekend.
Wales have not performed well this campaign, disappointing in every game except against Italy last weekend. Rhys Webb had a good game, but they still lacked any real dominance, and the 29-17 scoreline was generous to the Welsh.
Dan Biggar and Louis Rees-Zammit will start again this weekend, with Rees-Zammit starting in the number 15 shirt instead of his usual position on the wing. Rees-Zammit is the biggest threat to France.
This weekend’s fixture will mark the 100th cap for Taulupe Faletau, but the French forwards are unlikely to give him any breathing room.
What Ireland v England
Where Aviva Stadium, Dublin
When 17:00, Sunday 18th March
How to watch ITV1
Prediction: Ireland by 17
Ireland is the favorite to win, having proven themselves to be the best team in the world during this tournament. They have bettered France and have demolished anyone daring to stand in their way. James Lowe has played a huge part in tearing open the opposition’s defense, tying for tries with Mack Hansen on three so far.
England, on the other hand, come into this game off the back of a bruising home defeat to France, with new head coach Steve Borthwick unable to get his side going.
Freddie Steward has been the exception for England, dominating the aerial battles in the number 15 shirt and making good plays all over the pitch but his lone stand won’t be enough to save England, with several major weaknesses still in the squad.
There are high hopes that the final match of this year’s Guinness Six nations will be an entertaining one with a long history of many exciting encounters between the two teams.