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Other SportsSix Nations 2024: Scotland visit Italy, England host title-chasing Ireland and Wales...

Six Nations 2024: Scotland visit Italy, England host title-chasing Ireland and Wales take on France – preview, how to watch and predictions

All eyes will be on Twickenham this weekend as England look to stop the Ireland juggernaut and prevent Andy Farrell’s men from clinching the Six Nations title with a game to spare.

Ireland have looked invincible and remain on course to become the first team to secure successive grand slams since the tournament was expanded to six teams.

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Elsewhere on Saturday, winless Italy will hope to claim their first victory when they host Scotland in Rome.

Sunday’s game sees Warren Gatland’s Wales, who have lost all three matches so far, take on a France side that has struggled for form in this year’s tournament.

Here, we run the rule over the key storylines ahead of the fourth set of Six Nations fixtures.

Italy v Scotland (Saturday, 1415)

Scotland continue to impress and would be heading to Italy with three wins from three and in pole position to challenge Ireland had it not been for their controversial defeat to France in round two.

They have beaten the Azzurri in each of their last 13 meetings although they won’t find it easy on Saturday against an Italy side that continue to improve under coach Gonzalo Quesada.

Like Scotland, they also have a hard-luck story with Paolo Garbisi’s last-gasp penalty miss in Paris last time out denying them a famous victory over France.

Scotland have made three changes to their line-up with Cameron Redpath, George Horne and Andy Christie coming in for Sione Tuipulotu, Ben White and Jamie Ritchie.

England v Ireland (Saturday, 1645)

Twickenham will be rocking for the visit of an Ireland side that has swept all before them in this year’s Six Nations. Farrell’s men have enjoyed three bonus-point wins so far and have racked up a points differential of +81.

They will be crowned champions if they beat England and score four tries, taking five match points and their tournament tally to an unassailable 20.

Failing that, they will still clinch the trophy if they win without a bonus point and Scotland fail to claim all five points available from their game in Italy.

Former Ireland number eight Jamie Heaslip feels the only thing stopping them is a lack of discipline. He told the BBC’s Rugby Union Daily podcast: “I haven’t seen what the bookies are saying, but in order for England to win, Ireland have to go down to like 14 or 13 players and I think England need a couple of trick plays up their sleeve.

“Andy Farrell won’t let them take anything for granted. They’re not fearful of going there [Twickenham] now but they should definitely understand the history between the two sides.

“Farrell is definitely one of the best people to remind them of that.”

Wales v France (Sunday, 1500)

Wales’ record of three defeats from three has seen Gatland take radical action by dropping centres George North and Nick Tompkins with Joe Roberts and Owen Watkin coming in.

They won’t have a better chance of recording an elusive win, though, with France going through a period of instability.

Doubts surround the future of coach Fabien Galthie due to poor performances that have seen Les Bleus lose to Ireland, scrape past Scotland and draw with Italy.

How to watch

Every game of the Six Nations will be shown by either the BBC or ITV in the UK. Saturday’s games between Italy and Scotland and England and Ireland will be shown on ITV1.

Sunday’s clash between Wales and France is on BBC One.

Predictions

Ireland look untouchable while England, as they often have under Steve Borthwick, appear a work in progress. We’re going for Ireland to notch win number four and secure the bonus point they require to win the title this weekend.

The game in Rome is harder to call. Improving Italy against expansive Scotland. It could be high-scoring but we’re going for the visitors to edge it, although it could be close.

Look for France’s woes to continue in Cardiff. Wales can only get better and a disjointed France could provide the perfect opposition.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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