This weekend will see the end of this season’s Six Nations and there is no doubting that it will be another feast of cracking, dramatic Rugby. Scotland and Italy battle it out as they attempt to avoid that dreaded wooden spoon, England host Ireland and Wales will be hoping to become Grand Slam winners for the third time in seven years when they play France.
Last weekend’s action included wins for Wales, Ireland and England as they overcame Italy, Scotland and France respectively.
Scotland travel to Rome making just one change to the side which lost 32-14 in Ireland. Nick De Luca, who had to pull out of the game due to a hamstring injury, is reinstated in place of Lee Jones who misses out with concussion. Max Evans will move out to the wing having deputised at centre last week for De Luca.
Italy welcome back Martin Castrogiovanni from injury in one of their six changes. In comes Giovambattista Venditti, Tomasso Benvenuti, Edoauro Gori, Robert Barbieri and Marco Bortolami as Jacques Brunel looks to steer his team off of sixth place.
Scotland know that victory in Italy is no easy feat, having failed to beat the Azzuri in Italy since 2006.
England vs. Ireland sees both sides go into this match with confidence after recording victories of France and Scotland last weekend.
England have just the one change to the side that started in the defeat of the French in Paris with David Strettle returning to the wing in place of Gloucester’s Charlie Sharples. Stuart Lancaster also makes a change to the bench with Lee Mears coming in for the injured Rob Webber.
Ireland also make just the one change to the side which started in their 32-14 demolition of Scotland. Sean O’Brien comes in for Peter Mahoney having missed last weekend due to a foot infection.
Ireland’s recent Six Nations form against the English is impressive having won seven out of their last eight matches, including 3 wins at Twickenham, which is something England will be looking to change in front of their home support.
The big game of the day is in Cardiff as Wales look to win the Grand Slam against the French.
A big boost for the Welsh is that their influential captain Sam Warburton comes back into the starting XV following injury. In the only other change to the squad, Lloyd Williams comes in for Rhys Webb on the bench.
The French have made six changes to the side which lost 20-22 at home to England last weekend. Dimitri Yachvili comes into the side along with Florian Fritz, Alexis Palisson, William Servat and David Attoub while Wesley Fofana shifts from centre to wing to replace Vincent Clerc.
If Wales are to win the Grand Slam this weekend, they will have to do so knowing that they have only won one of their last five Six Nations matches against the French. The Welsh may also have revenge on their minds following the semi final defeat by France in the Rugby World Cup.
What a championship it has been. In terms of drama and passion, you really can’t match it to any other tournament on the sporting calendar. It is always a disappointing feeling when the championship ends but with the Heineken Cup quarter finals and domestic play-offs looming, it won’t be a long wait for first class rugby to return. Enjoy “Super Saturday”!