Up to date:
Feb 23, 2023
Italy v Eire, Saturday, 14:15
Italy face the daunting prospect of welcoming a rampant Eire aspect who emphatically cemented their standing because the world’s primary aspect with a superb victory towards France in spherical two. Italy come into the fixture off the again of successive defeats to France and England, respectively, although there may be nonetheless an air of optimism circulating the Azzurri. The margin of defeat at Twickenham was wider, however Italy demonstrated a few of their newfound attacking prowess within the second half. Sadly, the primary half noticed them comprehensively outmuscled and bullied by the English pack, which received’t have escaped Andy Farrell’s discover. Italy’s promise must be delivered throughout the entire eighty minutes if they’ll get anyplace near troubling Eire.
Italy’s higher ambition and journey has been thrilling to observe, however they need to train warning towards the inexperienced wall. They had been responsible of overplaying within the first half at Twickenham, losing power going nowhere. Italy will want one thing particular to beat Eire, however they need to decide their moments to assault and steadiness their attacking needs with territory and area place. The Azzurri’s set piece stuttered at Twickenham, one thing they might want to iron out forward of Saturday; in any other case, Eire might critically harm them. Self-discipline can be essential for the Italians; gifting Eire simple territory can be tantamount to rugby suicide, such is their effectivity within the purple zone. However Italy mustn’t be afraid to play. They’ll should be at their most artistic to unlock the Irish defence, however they need to decide their moments rigorously.
For Eire, Saturday is all about their professionalism, and there can be no trace of complacency from this Irish aspect. Eire will seemingly search to copy and improve England’s first-half efficiency towards Italy, utilizing relentless physicality to batter them into submission. I count on Eire to kick rather a lot and invite Italy to play from deep, in search of to pin them in their very own half and pressure errors. Eire can be lacking Tadhg Beirne and doubtless Jonny Sexton, however Dan Sheehan and Cian Healy can be found once more. Eire’s power of depth is massively spectacular, however Farrell will decide his greatest aspect, in search of to proceed his aspect’s momentum. The ruthless nature of this Irish aspect might make it a protracted afternoon for the Italians.
Wales v England, Saturday, 16:45
Wales versus England is often one of many Six Nations’ most anticipated fixtures, steeped in rivalry and with a wealthy historical past. Nevertheless, the sport has taken a again seat this week as the way forward for Welsh rugby dangles on a thread, as months of mismanagement and mistreatment led to the gamers threatening to strike. The match was solely confirmed as going ahead yesterdaywith some headway made within the protracted negotiations. Fairly understandably, the gamers’ minds have been elsewhere, however Warren Gatland has assured that his gamers can be prepared for Saturday’s fixture. Regardless of their current woes, in case you supplied Gatland any fixture, England at residence can be high of the checklist. The go to of the English typically unlocks an elevated degree of efficiency within the Welsh gamers, as they feed off the feverous ambiance of the gang.
The off-field furore has detracted from Wales’s defeat towards Scotland, the place their self-discipline was as soon as once more poor, and their assault seemed clunky. The shortage of coaching time received’t have helped iron out points with their assault, however Gatland will hope that the unity his gamers have displayed this week could be harnessed on the sphere. If Wales are to win, you’re feeling it should come from an emotionally pushed efficiency slightly than via sheer high quality. Gatland’s aspect are contemporary and pissed off, a mix that may very well be fruitful come Saturday. The potential return of the electrical Louis Rees-Zammit offers a well timed enhance, however Wales will want a efficiency that encompasses the total eighty minutes to have an opportunity of victory on Saturday.
The drama enveloping Welsh rugby has allowed England to slide underneath the radar forward of the weekend, and also you received’t discover Steve Borthwick complaining. England’s efficiency towards Italy was an enchancment, with the depth of the defence wonderful, and Jack Willis’s monstrous efficiency was a giant plus. However you continue to really feel there may be extra to return from an attacking sense, and hopefully, the week off has allowed Jack van Poortvliet and Owen Farrell a chance to hone their partnership. England will need a quick begin on Saturday to try to quiet the gang and cease the Welsh from constructing any momentum. Equally, their self-discipline can be vital, it is a Welsh aspect low in confidence, and England ought to search to disclaim them simple territory and factors. England haven’t travelled to Cardiff as overwhelming favourites in a very long time, however they should be cautious. The Welsh gamers can be chomping on the bit to revive some satisfaction.
France v Scotland, Sunday, 15:00
France can be in search of to bounce again from their defeat towards Eire swiftly. It has been a very long time for the reason that French have tasted defeat, however this French aspect is manufactured from stern stuff, and the Gallic capitulations of the previous have been banished. France didn’t carry out badly towards Eire, however they struggled to have vital spells of possession, particularly within the second half. The loss can have stung the French, however a raucous residence crowd could be the antidote they want. France have solely proven glimpses of their potential up to now and can see Sunday as a chance to remind everybody of their appreciable expertise.
For Scotland, confidence is driving excessive, their comprehensive win over Wales giving them consecutive victories of their opening two video games, a feat they’d but to attain. Arguably, Scotland has but to indicate their full potential, and they’re going to want an eighty-minute efficiency to win in Paris. Scotland’s efficiency in assault has been significantly spectacular, with a new-found scientific edge and a backline bristling with confidence. Scotland’s forwards should entrance up bodily on Sunday and provides Finn Russell a platform to play with. The fly-half produced a virtuoso efficiency within the second half towards Wales, however the French gamers can be properly conscious of his threats from watching him week in and week out within the Prime 14.
Scotland will search to play with width and tempo on Sunday, in search of the softer edges on the surface slightly than taking the French on via the center. However their forwards have to punch some holes to generate some momentum, particularly towards the affected person French defence. Scotland will should be cautious of kicking loosely, as Damian Penaud’s blistering attempt in Dublin demonstrated France’s razor-sharp counter-attacking skills. Equally very important would be the set piece battle, an space the place Scotland have gone properly thus far, with Richie Grey offering a reassuring presence on the line out. Sunday’s fixture has the potential to be a cracker with the quantity of attacking expertise on show. Can Scotland pull off one thing particular? Or will France reclaim their mojo?