Six Nations Preview : Could England and Wales spoil the Grand Slam hopes?

The week three of Guinness Six Nations will get underway this Saturday. Italy will host their first game in Rome with Scotland for the possible wooden-spoon battle. Revolutionised France will travel to Cardiff to meet Wales whilst England will host Ireland at Twickenham on Sunday.

Out of 10 games played against Scotland at Stadio Olympico, Italy have won 5, lost 5 and this will become an ideal location to get another victory. After the humiliating 42 – 00 in the opening week to Wales, Coach Franco Smith’s Azzuurri showcased some attacking rugby to score 3 tries against the French in round 2 despite a 22 – 35 loss. Scotland on the other hand could consider themselves as unlucky after some scintillating performance against Ireland in week one which resulted a 12 – 19 loss and 06 – 13 to England. Scotland dominated possession and territory in both games however, some unforced errors and missed scoring opportunities was evident for their frustration.

Stats v France (Week 2)


Stats courtesy – AWS

Key Players :
Name : Matteo Minozzi (ITA) Position : full back / wing
The 23 year old Wasps full back is in a fine form to his country. He was a live wire and has the ability to make an impact as the All Black Damien McKenzie. He was asked to shift his prime position fullback to wing and scored a try against France. His link up with New Zealand born Jayden Hayward in the attack will be a threat for the Scots.
Name : Adam Hastings (SCO) Position : fly half
Son of the legendary Gavin Hastings, young Adam will be the pivotal ace for the game management. The halfback combination with his Glasgow Warriors team mate Ali Price will rely heavily in terms of dominating territory and exit strategy in attack. This will also give him the platform to show his ‘X factor’ in the absence of Finn Russell.


Inevitably France yet to beat Wales for nearly a decade. They last met in the Rugby World Cup quarterfinal in Japan where Warren Gatland’s Wales edged 20 – 19 win. Two years ago in 2018 it was another one point thriller 14 – 13 in favour of Wales. This will perhaps be the grudge and revenge battle. However, it is not always easy to play at the Principality Stadium with a possible closed roof. Former Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards will stay with the opposite bench since he took over his new assignment with the French after serving Wales for 10 years. Edward’s installation was fruitful as we witnessed the French defence during the England game in Paris in week one.

Stats v Ireland (Week 2)


Stats courtesy – AWS

Key Players :

Name : Justin Tipuric (WAL) Position : flanker
Was the man of the match against Italy and Ospreys loose forward has got all the skills. His tackles and turnovers could be perhaps the match winning difference if to say. It will be interesting how much room he will give the French skipper Charles Ollivon and the man of the tournament so far Gregory Alldritt.
Name : Gregory Alldritt (FRA) Position : No 8
It was Louis Picamoles who dominated the French No8 shirt for a long time and the French has found another gem. Two man of the match performance in two games means he will strive for his hat-trick. Alldritt is not only menacing with his breakdown battle, turnovers, lineout steals but also showed exploiting runs and line breaks.

A long waited Twickenham fixture is on this Sunday after England playing back to back away games. Ireland head coach Andy Farrell is no stranger who knows ins and out of this England set-up. It is not only because his son Owen Farrell captain’s England senior Farrell also coached the men in white under Stuart Lancaster’s regime. However, England stands favourites in the local press but Ireland certainly has the advantage by simply winning two games in a row despite a shocking quarterfinal exit to Japan in Rugby World Cup 2019. Eddie Jones is still happy with his selection, playing Sale Sharks Tom Curry at No 8 which is out of his usual position as flanker, which has been the main debacle. England will miss prop Mako Vunipola as a result Ellis Genge who scored the match winning try against Scotland could start. On the other hand Ireland’s two props Cian Healy and Tadhg furlong have had more game time and of course slight edge comparing whoever will be their opposite number on Sunday.
Stats v Scotland


Stats courtesy – AWS

Key Players :
Name : Sam Underhill (ENG) Position : flanker : Owen Farrell (ENG) Position : fly half / centre
England will need Sam Underhill’s brutality and his animal instinct both in offense and defence. Tight five will have a big responsibility but most if not all the time Underhill performs well that gives a significant edge in terms of big ‘W’. Captain Farrell will certainly have some mental pressure, his leadership, decision making and the kicks at goal will be critical to deny Ireland’s Grand Slam hopes.


Name : CJ Stander (IRE) Position : flanker : Jonny Sexton (IRE) Position : fly half
Stander with two man of the match performance looking solid for the green shirts. Continuing the similar or a better performance perhaps would be difficult especially in an away game. Nevertheless, he has got all the class and he has proved it with his robust battle in the breakdown and dynamic line breaks and some silky off-loads. Captain Jonny Sexton just like Farrell it will depend on how well he marshal his troops in the wind of ‘swing low sweet chariot’ theatre.


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