Six Nations – Fixtures and team news for Week 3

After a week-long hiatus, the Six Nations are returning under a wave of uncertainty as Wales confirmed on Wednesday that their match against England will take place after talks with players over contract disputes have been resolved.

At the start of the round, Ireland will travel to Rome where they hope to continue their high-profile victories over Wales and France. Andy Farrell’s team looks worthy of their world number one title and will look to play again against Italy, whose only point so far has been a bonus in their 24-point game against France.

On Saturday, problems off the field will be talked about no less than everything that happens on the field of the Principality stadium. England manager Steve Borthwick is on his second win since taking office in December, but how Wales players react to the threat of a strike will determine the focus in Cardiff.

The final showdown of the weekend could be a cracker. Scotland have picked up a pair of victories over England and Wales and look to prove their mettle once again when they take on defending Six Nations champions France at the Stade de France in Paris.

Italy – Ireland, Saturday, 14:15 GMT, Olympic Stadium, Rome

Paolo Garbisi will play in the semi-finals for Italy in the Six Nations match against world No. 1 Ireland in Rome on Saturday, his first start since the autumn international series at the end of last year.

No. 10 Montpellier missed the first two games of the tournament with a knee injury and replaced Tommaso Allan, while striker Pierre Bruno is another replacement from a team that lost 31-14 to England last time.

He takes over for Tommaso Menoncello who moves to the center as Luca Morisi concedes.

“Every game has a story,” said coach Kieran Crowley. “We will face Ireland knowing what we have done against France and England to improve some areas that will make us more competitive.

“It’s going to be a tough game against the number one team in the world and we can’t wait to see them.”

Italy have four wins in their previous 34 matches against Ireland, although their only success since 1999 came in a 22-15 Six Nations win in Rome a decade ago.

Italy: Ange Capuozzo, Edoardo Padovani, Juan Ignacio Brex, Tommaso Menoncello, Pierre Bruno, Paolo Garbisi, Stephen Varney, Lorenzo Cannone, Michele Lamaro (Captain), Sebastian Negri, Federico Ruzza, Niccolò Cannone, Simone Ferrari, Giacomo Nicotera, Danilo Fischetti.

Substitutions: Luca Biggi, Federico Zani, Marco Riccioni, Edoardo Iachizzi, Giovanni Pettinelli, Alessandro Fusco, Luca Morisi, Tommaso Allan.

Ireland made six substitutions on Saturday’s Six Nations tour of Italy, and each of those players came off the bench to last see France off in a win that made them top team favorites for the World Cup.

With captain Johnny Sexton out with a leg injury, Ross Byrne gets a well deserved start in the semi-finals. His partner will be Craig Casey, who is also set to start the Six Nations game for the first time when Conor Murray comes down to the bench.

Peter O’Mahony and Stuart McCloskey also come to the bench to make way for Jack Conan and Bundy Aki, while Ian Henderson replaces Thad Byerne, who suffered an ankle injury in the tournament final in a 32-19 win over France.

Rob Herring continues to gradually return to game protocols after suffering a concussion against the French, but the prostitutes chosen by coach Andy Farrell are back in full shape with Ronan Kelleher starting and Dan Sheehan among the subs.

Ireland, left without Robbie Henshaw, Tudg Furlong, Jamison Gibson-Park and Kian Healey through injury, tops the table on point difference, ahead of Scotland after two matches. Italy is second in the table.

The two sides will meet in Edinburgh on March 12 following Scotland’s trip to France on Sunday.

Ireland: Hugo Keenan, Mac Hansen, Harry Ringrose, Bundy Aki, James Lowe, Ross Byrne, Craig Casey, Andrew Porter, Ronan Kelleher, Finlay Bilham, Ian Henderson, James Ryan (captain). Calan Doris, Josh van der Flier, Jack Conan.

Substitutions: Dan Sheehan, Dave Kilcoin, Tom O’Toole, Ryan Baird, Peter O’Mahony, Conor Murray, Jack Crawley, Stuart McCloskey.

Wales v England, Saturday 1645 GMT, Principality Stadium, Cardiff

Wales wielded the ax with nine substitutions on their side for the six-nation showdown with England on Saturday, including Owen Williams’ start ahead of Dan Biggar in the semi-final as manager Warren Gatland desperately searches for a winning formula.

The match was in jeopardy this week as the Welsh players considered going on strike after a contract dispute for next season, but they were given the green light on Wednesday as the team resumed training.

This will be the first international start for Williams at linebacker, formerly at center, as Gatland also called in the cavalry with the return of a number of senior players, including No. 8 Taulupe Faletau, loose winger Justin Tipurik, blocker Alan Wyn Jones. and quarterback Lee Halfpenny.

Mason Grady is also making his midfield debut as he pairs up with fellow newcomer Joe Hawkins as a midfield pair. George North is not in match 23.

“We have some experience of returning to the team and then we mix it with giving players the opportunity. Owen Williams comes out in 10th position – we need to learn about this 10th position for Owen to get a chance, ”said Gatland.

“We gave Mason Grady first place. He’s a big guy, he’s got great rugby skills and a knack for unloading.

Wales suffered two heavy defeats in the Six Nations, with a loss to Scotland preceded by a 34-10 home loss to Ireland.

Wales: Lee Halfpenny, Louis Rees-Zammit, Mason Grady, Joe Hawkins, Josh Adams, Owen Williams, Tomos Williams, Gareth Thomas, Ken Owens (Captain), Thomas Francis, Adam Byrd, Alan Wyn Jones, Krist Chiunza, Justin Tipurik, Taulupe Faletau .

Substitutions: Bradley Roberts, Rhys Carré, Dillon Lewis, Dafydd Jenkins, Tommy Reffell, Kieran Hardy, Dan Biggar, Nick Tompkins.

Anthony Watson will make his first start for England in two years after being named on the wing of Saturday’s Six Nations game against Wales.

He replaces the injured Ollie Hassel-Collins on the left flank, the only replacement for a team that beat Italy two weeks ago.

Former captain Courtney Lowes and Ben Curry are named on the bench along with forward Henry Arundell.

Watson, who turns 29 on Sunday, has missed almost a year with a knee injury but has started his career after moving from Bath to Leicester this season.

Curry was called up earlier in the week after his brother Tom was ruled out of the remainder of the championship with a hamstring strain.

Lowes played only a handful of games for his club Northampton after a string of concussions and injuries and last played for England in Australia last July.

“Wales vs England in Cardiff is one of rugby’s iconic matches, steeped in history and always full of passion,” said manager Steve Borthwick.

“We know that the audience at the Principality Stadium will be in full voice, and we will need to make every effort to repeat the success we achieved in the last round against Italy.

“I am delighted to welcome Courtney Lawes back to the team after injury. His quality and experience contributed to a focused training week marked by the competition and intensity we expect.”

England: Freddie Steward, Max Malins, Henry Slade, Ollie Lawrence, Anthony Watson, Owen Farrell (captain), Jack van Poortvliet, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Kyle Sinclair, Maro Itoye, Ollie Chessum, Lewis Ludlum, Jack Willis, Alex Dombrandt.

Substitutions: Jack Walker, Mako Vunipola, Dan Cole, Courtney Lowes, Ben Curry, Alex Mitchell, Marcus Smith, Henry Arundell.

France v Scotland, Saturday 15:00 GMT, Stade de France, Paris






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