The final pool phase Saturday at the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France sees another hat-trick of fixtures across the country, as the action builds towards the showstopper between Ireland and Scotland in Paris.
England round off their steady group performance against Samoa in Lille before that, after Wales face Georgia in their last Pool C assignment.
It then wraps up on Sunday, as Japan play Argentina, Tonga face Romania and Fiji look to complete their qualification dream against plucky Portugal.
Wales vs Georgia – Pool C
Wales go into their final Pool C match at the 2023 Rugby World Cup against Georgia on Saturday knowing they’re already destined for the quarter-finals.
Warren Gatland’s men have been impressive in recording three wins from three in France.
And with two of them coming against qualification rivals Fiji and Australia, they are looking like peaking at just the right time under the wily, veteran coach.
The Georgians have been active participants in all three of their matches so far, but will feel deflated to have only a draw against minnows Portugal to show for their efforts so far.
Gatland sprung a surprise by naming his starting side well in advance of the game, with hooker Dewi Lake promoted to captain for the day.
Their opponents have made five changes as they look to go out on a high for coach Levan Maisashvili.
Guram Gogichashvili and Shalva Mamukashvili are restored to the front row, while Merab Sharikadze is back in the mix at centre.
Wales Starting XV: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Louis Rees Zammit, 13 George North, 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Rio Dyer, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Tomos Williams, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Tommy Reffell, 6 Aaron Wainwright, 5 Dafydd Jenkins, 4 Will Rowlands, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Dewi Lake (captain), 1 Gareth Thomas.
Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Nicky Smith, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Dafydd Jenkins, 20 Taine Basham, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Sam Costelow, 23 Mason Grady.
Georgia Starting XV: 15 Lasha Khmaladze, 14 Akaki Tabutsadze, 13 Giorgi Kveseladze, 12 Merab Sharikadze (captain), 11 Davit Niniashvili, 10 Luka Matkava, 9 Vasil Lobzhanidze, 8 Tornike Jalagonia, 7 Beka Saginadze, 6 Mikheil Gachechiladze, 5 Konstantine Mikautadze, 4 Nodar Cheishvili, 3 Beka Gigashvili, 2 Shalva Mamukashvili, 1 Guram Gogichashvili.
Replacements: 16 Vano Karkadze, 17 Nika Abuladze, 18 Irakli Aptsiauri, 19 Vladimer Chachanidze, 20 Giorgi Tsutskiridze, 21 Gela Aprasidze, 22 Tedo Abzhandadze, 23 Demur Tapladze.
Kick Off Time: 15.00.
England vs Samoa – Pool D
England are on course to top Pool D at the 2023 Rugby World Cup on Saturday, as they take their winning record into their final fixture against Samoa in Lille.
Three from three means the Red Rose are home and hosed with regards to knockout qualification.
Although that doesn’t tell the full story, with a red card for Tom Curry three minutes in to their tournament opener against Argentina and a slog through the first half with Japan.
So they’ve dealt with some adversity, plenty of it self-inflicted, as they line up a tilt at going deep into the competition from the kinder half of the draw.
Samoa have been competitive in France, boosted by the eligibility rule changes that have seen the Pacific Island nations turn a corner.
But they haven’t hit their straps like neighbours Fiji, beating Chile but not being able to muster a critical victory over either Los Pumas or the Brave Blossoms.
Owen Farrell and George Ford combine for the first time in an international for more than two years, as coach Steve Borthwick juggles his options.
They’ve suffered a blow in the departure of Jack Willis, though, with the flank ruled out for the rest of the World Cup with a neck injury.
Curry is the natural back row replacement having completed his two-match ban.
Coach Seilala Mapusua has wielded the axe to make nine changes to his Samoan starting team.
Theo McFarland, Fritz Lee, Steven Luatua, Jonathan Taumateine, Tumua Manu and Duncan Paia’aua are the men retained.
England Starting XV: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Joe Marchant, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Owen Farrell (captain), 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Alex Mitchell, 8 Ben Earl, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 Ollie Chessum, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Jamie George, 1 Ellis Genge.
Replacements: 16 Theo Dan, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 George Martin, 20 Billy Vunipola, 21 Danny Care, 22 Marcus Smith, 23 Ollie Lawrence.
Samoa Starting XV: 15 Duncan Paia’aua, 14 Nigel Ah-Wong, 13 Tumua Manu, 12 Danny Toala, 11 Neria Fomai, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Jonathan Taumateine, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Fritz Lee, 6 Theo McFarland, 5 Brian Alainu’u’ese, 4 Sam Slade, 3 Michael Alaalatoa (captain), 2 Sama Malolo, 1 Jordan Lay.
Replacements: 16 Seilala Lam, 17 James Lay, 18 Paul Alo-Emile, 19 Sootala Fa’aso’o, 20 Alamanda Motuga, 21 Melani Matavao, 22 Christian Leali’ifano, 23 Miracle Faiilagi.
Kick Off Time: 17.45.
Ireland vs Scotland – Pool B
An incredible contest brings Pool B to a climax inside the Stade de France on Saturday night, as Ireland and Scotland scrap for a place in the quarter-finals.
Only a mathematical miracle can see both Six Nations rivals go through at the expense of reigning champions South Africa.
And, with the Irish having beaten the Springboks after the Scots came up short against Jacques Nienaber’s side on the opening weekend, it’s the latter who need a handsome win in Paris.
Peter O’Mahony has long been a thorn in Scotland’s side and the veteran makes his 100th cap in a green jersey on the biggest stage of all.
Coach Andy Farrell has opted for Dan Sheehan at hooker in place of Ronan Kelleher, while Iain Henderson replaces James Ryan in the locks.
Ali Price is the margin call for Scotland coach Gregor Townsend, as the scrum-half retains his place from the rout of Romania, alongside Grant Gilchrist and Darcy Graham.
Jamie Richie is a welcome presence, too, having been cleared to play following a knock to the head.
Ireland Starting XV: 15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Mack Hansen, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 James Lowe, 10 Johnny Sexton (captain), 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Caelan Doris, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 5 Iain Henderson, 4 Tadhg Beirne, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Dan Sheehan, 1 Andrew Porter.
Replacements: 16 Ronan Kelleher, 17 David Kilcoyne, 18 Finlay Bealham, 19 James Ryan, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Jack Crowley, 23 Stuart McCloskey.
Scotland Starting XV: 15 Blair Kinghorn, 14 Darcy Graham, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Sione Tuipulotu, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ali Price, 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Rory Darge, 6 Jamie Ritchie (captain), 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 George Turner, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Ewan Ashman, 17 Rory Sutherland, 18 WP Nel, 19 Scott Cummings, 20 Matt Fagerson, 21 Luke Crosbie, 22 George Horne, 23 Ollie Smith.
Kick Off Time: 21.00.
Rugby World Cup 2023: Final Pool Stage Predictions
|Team 1||Win % 1||Win % 2||Team 2||Predicted margin|