March 07, 2019
The final fallow week of the 2019 Guinness Six Nations is out of the way, and it's on to the business end of the Championship!
The two games on Saturday will see Wales head to up Edinburgh to face Scotland and England host Italyat Twickenham, before Ireland play France in Dublin on Sunday.
It's been a disappointing campaign for Scotland so far, their only victory being in the opening round against Italy.
Gregor Townsend's men lost to France in Paris in the last round, and he has made 4 changes to the side to face Wales.
The biggest switch sees captain Greig Laidlaw dropped to the bench, to be replaced by Ali Price in the starting lineup. Price will be joined at half-back by Finn Russell, fit again after a concussion suffered playing for his club, Racing 92.
The other changes include WP Nel back in the front row and Darcy Graham being handed his first start after an injury to Sean Maitland.
Pete Horne moves out one place to inside centre, with Sam Johnson dropping out the squad altogether.
Things have been hectic in Wales this week, with talk of a merger between Ospreys and Scarlets, but that has now been disbanded and it's back to business for Warren Gatland's men.
Gatland has named a settled side, with Adam Beard coming into the second row as the only change.
Wales are the only team still in with a chance of a Grand Slam, and go into this game on the back of a record 12 consecutive wins.
England v Italy – (Saturday 9th March, 4.45pm, live on ITV)
Eddie Jones has picked a big set of backs, with Manu Tuilagi and Ben Te'o in the centre, and Joe Cokanasiga making his first Six Nations start on the wing.
Maro Itoje is injured, so Joe Launchbury starts alongside George Kruis in the second row.
It's three defeats from three so far for Italy, and it'll be a big ask to win at Twickenham, having never beaten England in their history.
Conor O'Shea has skipper Sergio Parisse fit again, and he goes straight back into the back row, where he's joined by Sebastian Negri who has recovered from illness.
Eddie Jones has 2 enforced changes - the injured pair of Chris Ashton and Mako Vunipola are replaced by Jack Nowell on the right wing and Ben Moon at loosehead prop.
Brunel was obviously pleased with his side's performance against Scotland, and has retained the young 9/10 partnership of Dupont and Ntmack for Dublin.
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