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by Rugby4Cast / 15th June 2020
Analysis, International Six Nations 2020 England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Wales, Italy

Six Nations: Aaaaand We’re Back! Round 3

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Six Nations: Aaaand we’re back! Round 3

Since the last games of the 6 Nations: Leicester won the Premier League, Leo DiCaprio finally won an Oscar and we had two Royal weddings! Well, not really, but it felt like it. And after a frustrating (but needed) week away from it, normal service is resumed – and we’re so glad it’s back.

Here’s what to look out for this weekend.

Wales v France
Three weeks ago, Wales looked impressive against Italy, even though the scoreline flattered them a bit. Last time out, however, they were outclassed by Ireland in Dublin. It was always going to be a step up and, except from a well-worked try finished by Tomos Williams, they never really looked in it. Ireland were just too fast and too strong on the day. Hadleigh Parkes’ best impression of Stuart Hogg didn’t help either!

Wales now look to bounce back against an unbeaten French side that top the table after their bonus point win over Italy. At home, Wales will fancy their chances; the Millenium has been a fortress over the past few years. They will know Shaun Edwards’ tricks all too well – and will be looking to make in-roads into this French defence.

Two changes for Wales: Ross Moriarty comes in on the blindside, and Gareth Davies starts ahead of Williams at scrum half, who drops to the bench.

For France, it’s their first away game of the tournament – it’ll be a huge test but why wouldn’t they be up for it? Don’t rule them out just yet, this team is galvanized. Dupont and Ntamack have been sublime – and long may it continue. Vakatawa returns from injury and Vincent keeps his place in the centres, meaning Fickou moves to the wing.

Here’s what to look out for this weekend.

Wales v France

Three weeks ago, Wales looked impressive against Italy, even though the scoreline flattered them a bit. Last time out, however, they were outclassed by Ireland in Dublin. It was always going to be a step up and, except from a well-worked try finished by Tomos Williams, they never really looked in it. Ireland were just too fast and too strong on the day. Hadleigh Parkes’ best impression of Stuart Hogg didn’t help either!

Wales now look to bounce back against an unbeaten French side that top the table after their bonus point win over Italy. At home, Wales will fancy their chances; the Millenium has been a fortress over the past few years. They will know Shaun Edwards’ tricks all too well – and will be looking to make in-roads into this French defence.

Two changes for Wales: Ross Moriarty comes in on the blindside, and Gareth Davies starts ahead of Williams at scrum half, who drops to the bench.

For France, it’s their first away game of the tournament – it’ll be a huge test but why wouldn’t they be up for it? Don’t rule them out just yet, this team is galvanized. Dupont and Ntamack have been sublime – and long may it continue. Vakatawa returns from injury and Vincent keeps his place in the centres, meaning Fickou moves to the wing.

The Algorithm predicts Wales by 11, but can they really keep out this brilliant French back line?

We can’t wait for this one.

England v Ireland

We’ve mentioned how good Ireland were against Wales already – even managed to record a bonus point – but the less said about the Calcutta Cup the better. A game that most of us yawned and winced our way through thanks to kicks that missed touch and mistakes aplenty.

The silver lining for England is that a win is a win; they got through it and now they’re playing their first home game. It will be an interesting affair – neither side has been at their best so far, but England are the ones with the unwanted ‘L’ next to their name.

The biggest team news is that Jonathan Joseph starts on the wing as Tuilagi is re-instated at outside centre. Daly drops to full back and Lawes moves to blindside flanker. Mako Vunipola will play no part due to family reasons, and Henry Slade returns to the bench.

Ireland are unchanged: Murray again starts ahead of Cooney, Larmour and Conway look to extend their fine form and Ireland’s back row will look to slow down England at every opportunity. Tom Curry is still working out in his new No. 8 position and will be going up against the mighty CJ Stander (most turnovers won in the tournament so far) so he’ll have to be ready.

Not sure anyone’s going for another colossal 57-15 England win … although the Algorithm does have England by 11. What will happen this time? Who knows. But I think there are some things we can say with some certainty:

  • Expect tries;
  • Expect running rugby and huge breakdown scraps;
  • And, expect some tough love between Andy and Owen.

But who will triumph: father or son?

Italy v Scotland

Otherwise known as ‘the one Italy can win’. They’re at home. Will it be enough?

Again, let’s not speak too much about Scotland’s loss to England. The conditions were unplayable and no one looks good coming out of that game, win or lose.

Instead, Scotland should really be focusing on the positives. They’ve been without Finn Russell for 2 games and they’ve given both England and Ireland a real run for their money – our two favourites to win the competition before it started.

Despite being well-beaten by France, Italy rallied at the end to show the other nations they won’t roll over easily. Minozzi was exceptional again and leads the tournament for offloads. They’re a dangerous team with ball in hand, they just need to do it more consistently over 80 minutes.

Townsend has picked Chris Harris at outside centre ahead of Huw Jones, and Stuart McInally and Fagerson return at hooker and prop respectively. Despite McInally’s return, Hogg retains the captaincy.

Italy’s triple threat of Hayward, Bellini and Minozzi will look to continue their form in the Italian capital. On top of that Negri and Polledri will try to make life difficult for Scotland at the breakdown. The big news is: there’s still no Sergio Parisse…

The Algorithm has Scotland by 9. Surely, right? Could it be the other way round?