Six Nations: Round Four predictions and teams for 13-14 March

Get your rugby fix with the fourth round of Guinness Six Nations Championship. Wales eye grand slam, England tackle France.

The Guinness Six Nations reaches the penultimate round of fixtures this weekend, with three more matches across the continent as the competition hots up.

Wales continue their pursuit of the Grand Slam when they travel to Rome to face whipping boys Italy on Saturday.

England, victims to the Red Dragons last time out, then need to regroup quickly at Twickenham as they host a patched-up France side put right off their stride by a Covid-19 outbreak.

Scotland and Ireland polish off the weekend’s action on Sunday when they meet at Murrayfield.

Six Nations 2021: Predictions for 13-14 March

Prediction methodology explained: The expected win percentage is based off publicly available odds. For example, if a team’s odds are 2.30, the expected chance of winning is 43%. If the odds are 1.62 the expected chance of winning is 62% and so on. These are accurate at the time of writing but are subject to change. Where there is no value listed, the odds were not available at the time of writing. Score margins use the methodology developed by Rugby Vision.

The predictions for each match follow below the short preview and team news for each individual Six Nations match this coming weekend.

Italy vs Wales

Wales continue their quest for the 2021 Six Nations rugby Grand Slam with the easiest game of the lot on Saturday against Italy.

Wayne Pivac has steered his charges to victory in all three matches so far, culminating in their Principality Stadium thrashing of World Cup finalists England two weeks ago.

The hopeless hosts, on the other hand, notched their 30th successive Six Nations defeat when they were thumped 48-10 at home by Ireland a fortnight ago.

Pivac has made two changes for the Stadio Olimpico trip, with Gareth Davies and Cory Hill coming in for Kieran Hardy and Adam Beard.

The Azzurri make five changes as Stephen Varney returns at scrum-half, as do Mattia Bellini and Niccolo Cannone, with Giosue Zilocchi and Danilo Fischetti at either side of the front row.

Italy Starting XV: 15 Jacopo Trulla, 14 Mattia Bellini, 13 Ignacio Brex, 12 Carlo Canna, 11 Monty Ioane, 10 Paolo Garbisi, 9 Stephen Varney, 8 Michele Lamaro, 7 Johan Meyer, 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 David Sisi, 4 Niccolo Cannone, 3 Giosue Zilocchi, 2 Luca Bigi (captain), 1 Danilo Fischetti.

Replacements: 16 Oliviero Fabiani, 17 Andrea Lovotti, 18 Marco Riccioni, 19 Marco Lazzaroni, 20 Maxime Mbanda, 21 Marcello Violi, 22 Federico Mori, 23 Edoardo Padovani.

Wales Starting XV: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Louis Rees-Zammit, 13 George North, 12 Jonathan Davies, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Josh Navidi, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 4 Cory Hill, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Wyn Jones.

Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Rhys Carre, 18 Leon Brown, 19 Jake Ball, 20 Aaron Wainwright, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 Callum Sheedy, 23 Uilisi Halaholo.

England vs France

England have a Six Nations point to prove when cross-Channel rivals France visit Twickenham on Saturday.

Eddie Jones’ side slipped to a second loss of their 2021 campaign a fortnight ago, as ill-discipline and some inexplicable refereeing set them on the way to defeat in Wales.

France, meanwhile, have had their otherwise perfect tournamet derailed by an outbreak of Covid-19 that saw their third round fixture with Scotland postponed.

Les Bleus had won two out of two to top the standings before that, with an instant click back into gear required if they are to challenge the Welsh in a tantalizing final round.

Max Malins comes in for his England debut at full-back, while Luke Cowan-Dickie and Charlie Ewels both come in to start in the pack.

French coach Fabien Galthie keeps faith with Matthieu Jalibert at fly-half despite Romain Ntamack returning to fitness after a fractured draw.

Virimi Vakatawa comes into the centres for his first 2021 Six Nations appearance, while Romain Taofifenua has been given the nod at lock.

England Starting XV: 15 Max Malins, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Owen Farrell (captain), 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Mark Wilson, 5 Charlie Ewels, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Mako Vunipola.

Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Will Stuart, 19 Jonny Hill, 20 Ben Earl, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Ollie Lawrence, 23 Elliot Daly.

France Starting XV: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Virimi Vakatawa, 12 Gael Fickou, 11 Teddy Thomas, 10 Matthieu Jalibert, 9 Antoine Dupont, 8 Gregory Alldritt, 7 Charles Ollivon (captain), 6 Dylan Cretin, 5 Paul Willemse, 4 Romain Taofifenua, 3 Mohamed Haouas, 2 Julian Marchand, 1 Cyril Baille.

Replacements: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Jean-Baptiste Gros, 18 Dorian Aldegheri, 19 Cyril Cazeau, 20 Cameron Woki, 21 Anthony Jelonch, 22 Baptiste Serin, 23 Romain Ntamack.

Scotland vs Ireland

Scotland and Ireland meet at Murrayfield on Sunday to polish off the penultimate round of the 2021 Six Nations.

Well, the visitors do anyway, with the Scots a game behind following the postponement of their Paris clash with France a fortnight ago.

Gregor Townsend’s side were instead left a little longer to dwell on their one-point loss to Wales, having pulled off a sensational Calcutta Cup win over England on the opening weekend at Twickenham.

The men in green have suffered a pair of agonizing losses themselves, to Wales and France, before regrouping to hand out a customary biffing to Italy two weeks ago.

CJ Stander marks his 50th Ireland cap while coach Andy Farrell makes three changes to his starting line up.

Keith Earls returns to the wing, as the front row is bolstered by the presence of Cian Healy and Rob Herring.

Prop Willem Nel is one of four changes for the home side, who also bring in Jamie Ritchie at flank and Sean Maitland on the wing.

Scotland Starting XV: 15 Stuart Hogg (captain), 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ali Price, 8 Matt Fagerson, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Jamie Ritchie, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Scott Cummings, 3 Willem Nel, 2 George Turner, 1 Rory Sutherland.

Replacements: 16 David Cherry, 17 Jamie Bhatti, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Grant Gilchrist, 20 Nick Haining, 21 Scott Steele, 22 Huw Jones, 23 Darcy Graham.

Ireland Starting XV: 15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 James Lowe, 10 Johnny Sexton (captain), 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Will Connors, 6 Tadhg Beirne, 5 James Ryan, 4 Iain Henderson, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Cian Healy.

Replacements: 16 Ronan Kelleher, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 Ryan Baird, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Billy Burns, 23 Jordan Larmour.