As the Six Nations draws to a close, the final weekend will see Ireland attempt to seal the Grand Slam by beating England. They have been in dominant form so far, whereas England have suffered a crushing loss against France, but their head-to-head meetings over the years have often been unpredictable. Scotland will take on Italy in their final match, with the younger players set to show their worth in the absence of Stuart Hogg and Finn Russell. Italy had an opportunity to make an even better impact in the tournament if they had beaten Wales but failed to do so. Wales play France in the final match, who will seek to gain a bonus point and hope England are defeated so that they can take the title.
Scotland is the favourite of the two sides to win their match against Italy. It is crucial that they secure a decisive win to resolve the disappointment of losses to France and Ireland. Gregor Townsend is set to grapple with the challenge of placing Blair Kinghorn in either the fly-half or full-back position to replace Finn Russell, while Munster fly-half Ben Healy could be in line to make his debut. The match will be an opportunity for Kinghorn and Healy to practise their skills and show the depth in the squad.
Wales will have to play to their best potential to gain any chance against France, and their coach Warren Gatland will require them to be more creative in attack. They managed to beat Italy last week, although it was unconvincing, and they have been under increasing scrutiny during this year’s tournament, due to off-field problems. In contrast, the French produced a superb display against England and will be feeling much more confident. Wales will need to focus in defence and midfield, particularly to avoid conceding early goals against France’s strong attacks.
Ireland, a squad who have been praised for their efficiency and execution in the current championship, will be hoping to seal the Grand Slam against England. They would have still been favourites even if England hadn’t suffered such a crushing defeat to France. England will be hoping to restore their pride and tarnish Ireland’s ambition. Borthwick will work on improving England’s breakdown and they will need to strengthen their intensity in attack and defence to stand a chance against Ireland.