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RBS 6 Nations - Third Round Preview

The third round of matches this coming weekend will go a long way to deciding if we are to potentially have a Grand Slam, have a Triple Crown winner and of course who may end up being 6 Nations Champions. 

On Friday evening Wales host France in a potentially mouth watering clash although both teams have injury problems. With doubts remaining over the match fitness of Jonathan Davies there is speculation that George North may play at centre.  But with doubts also over the French tank in the centre, Mathieu Bastareaud, this move may not be as needed as originally envisaged. Will Warren Gatland stick with the increasingly predictable Mike Phillips or is he the man to use his experience to put pressure on the inexperienced French half-backs? If Wales play like they did against Ireland they will surely be blown away but if both teams play to their potential this could be a cracker. 

The early afternoon Saturday game looks like a wooden spoon decider and Italy will surely start favourites against, to date, a really poor Scottish side. Having finally found some creative backs,  Italy can now play an expansive game to back up their always solid pack whilst Scotland’s only avenue to points appears to remain via Laidlaw’s boot. Italy to win. 

The second game sees the unbeaten Irish come to Twickenham for a game that both teams will approach with confidence. Ireland has scored over 50 points in their two home games but will surely find England a much harder proposition especially as England conceded no points at all at Murrayfield. However the loss of tight head prop Dan Cole is a blow for the home team but even without him the England pack will surely give Paul O’Connell and the (to date) outstanding Peter O’Mahony their sternest test to date. This game will be close but I see home advantage, along with a stronger bench, seeing England home.