England entertain Ireland with both hoping to keep their Six Nations title hopes alive this weekend.
Meanwhile, Wales look to end France’s Grand Slam hopes in Cardiff on Friday as the competition reaches the business end at the Principality and Twickenham.
Wales – France
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff. Date: Friday, 11th March. Kick-off: 8pm
Wales boss Wayne Pivac has made four changes to his team for Friday night’s Six Nations showdown with France, including a recall for Jonathan Davies who replaces Nick Tompkins in the side and will line up at 12.
Cardiff duo Seb Davies and Josh Navidi have been chosen as flankers, with Ross Moriarty and Taine Basham dropped. Ospreys front-row Gareth Thomas comes in to replace Wyn Jones.
Louis Rees-Zammit returns to the squad after impressing for Gloucester last weekend.
France make just one change from the team that defeated Scotland 36 – 17 a fortnight ago.
Gabin Villière comes into the team replacing Damian Penaud on the wing, who has been ruled out with Covid.
Captain Antoine Dupont had been a doubt for the game after suffering a knock in training on Tuesday but has been named in the starting team.
A win in Cardiff would set France up perfectly to win their first Grand Slam since 2010 heading into next weekend’s final game in Paris against England.
England – Ireland
Venue: Twickenham, London. Date: Saturday 12th March. Kick-off: 4:45pm
✍️ 𝐒𝐄𝐗𝐓𝐎𝐍 𝐒𝐈𝐆𝐍𝐒!
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) March 8, 2022
Ireland captain Johnny Sexton this week announced that he will retire after the 2023 World Cup after signing a contract extension until the end of the tournament in France next year.
Sexton will lead his side out at Twickenham replacing Joey Carbery in the hope of keeping their Six Nations campaign alive heading into next weekend’s final game against Scotland.
Andrew Porter has been ruled out for the remainder of the campaign for Ireland following surgery on his ankle with Cian Healy replacing him.
Andy Farrell has made six changes in all from the win over Italy with an experience look to the team.
Hugo Keenan and Andrew Conway return with Michael Lowry and Mack Hansen not included in the squad. Centre Bundee Aki is preferred to Robbie Henshaw.
James Ryan replaces Ryan Baird who also misses out on the squad.
Marcus Smith has kept England’s Six Nations hopes alive by himself with impressive kicking in this years tournament.
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) March 9, 2022
England managed to see out a nervy win over Wales at Twickenham to keep their slim chances of success alive.
Eddie Jones has described this game as a semi-final and has praised Ireland.
Courtney Lawes will continue to captain the side at blind side flanker.
Tom Curry, who has completed his return to play protocols, will join at open side flanker and Sam Simmonds will be No.8.
Joe Marchant is at 13 and will partner Henry Slade in the midfield, while Harry Randall again starts at nine.
Alex Dombrandt has re-joined the squad following a period of isolation and takes up a place on the bench.
Italy – Scotland
Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome. Date: Saturday, 12th March. Kick-off: 2:15pm
Duhan van der Merwe will miss Scotland’s final Six Nations matches with Italy and Ireland after his red card for Worcester resulted in a ban.
Sam Johnson has returned to the Scotland squad and replaces Glasgow team-mate Sione Tuipulotu.
Hamish Watson and Matt Fagerson are available again and return to the back row.
The Scots are looking to get back to winning ways after an impressive win over England on matchday one before losing to Wales and France.
Italy’s 57 – 6 loss in Dublin two-weeks ago summed up their disappointing Six Nations campaign to date.
Flanker Sebastian Negri is back in the Italian set-up after he went through the return to play protocols following injury against England.
Former captain Luca Bigi replaces Hame Faiva, after his red card in Dublin.
(pic under creative commons by copyright: Fanny Schertzer)