The 2022 Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship crosses the halfway mark this weekend, with three more fixtures between Europe’s finest (and Italy) across the continent.
Only France can still achieve the coveted Grand Slam ahead of their mouthwatering trip to Scotland on Saturday, while England and Wales renew hostilities at Twickenham.
Sunday sees Ireland looking to press on in Dublin, as they host the Italian wooden spoon regulars.
The predictions for each match follow below the short preview and team news for each individual Six Nations match this coming weekend.
Scotland vs France
An almighty clash in Edinburgh kicks off the Six Nations rugby weekend on Saturday afternoon, as Scotland do battle with France.
Les Bleus are still on course for a Grand Slam thanks to a pair of opening victories at the Stade de France, first a cakewalk over Italy and then a rumbustious 30-24 success against dogged Ireland.
Their hosts opened up the competition with a famous Murrayfield win over England that left title talk on the tips of tongues.
But an agonizing 20-17 defeat inside the Principality Stadium at the hands of Wales threw a blanket over that fire for the time being, although coach Gregor Townsend’s men remain a side to be reckoned with.
Rory Darge makes his full international debut in the Scots’ back row, with Sam Skinner replacing his fellow Exeter Chief, the injured Jonny Gray in the locks.
Jonathan Danty finds a place in the centres for France, who put Yoram Moefana on the wing in the absence of the injured Gabin Villiere.
Scotland Starting XV: 15 Stuart Hogg (captain), 14 Darcy Graham, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Sione Tuipulotu, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ali Price, 8 Magnus Bradbury, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Rory Darge, 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4 Sam Skinner, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Stuart McInally, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 George Turner, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 WP Nel, 19 Jamie Hodgson, 20 Nick Haining, 21 Ben White, 22 Blair Kinghorn, 23 Mark Bennett.
France Starting XV: 15 Melvyn Jaminet, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Gael Fickou, 12 Jonathan Danty, 11 Yoram Moefana, 10 Romain Ntamack, 9 Antoine Dupont (captain), 8 Anthony Jelonch, 7 Gregory Alldritt, 6 Francois Cros, 5 Paul Willemse, 4 Cameron Woki, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Julien Marchand, 1 Cyril Baille.
Replacements: 16 Peato Mauvaka, 17 Jean-Baptiste Gros, 18 Demba Bamba, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Thibaud Flament, 21 Dylan Cretin, 22 Maxime Lucu, 23 Thomas Ramos.
England vs Wales
England step off the first rest weekend at the 2022 Six Nations with their first home assignment against neighbours Wales on Saturday evening.
The pair have both won and lost once in the opening two rounds, with Eddie Jones’ men recovering from a Calcutta Cup loss at the hands of Scotland to comfortably see off Italy with a much-changed team a fortnight ago.
Wayne Pivac’s visitors also responded from a disappointing opening fixture, where they went down limply to Ireland, with a barnstorming home victory over the Scots that took the roof off the Principality Stadium.
Courtney Lawes is restored to the English side as captain, for whom Kyle Sinckler is set to make his 50th appearance.
Taulupe Faletau dons a Welsh jersey for the first time in a year and will be joined by the returning Josh Adams, while they also have a half-centurion in Alex Cuthbert.
England Starting XV: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Max Malins, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Manu Tuilagi, 11 Jack Nowell, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Harry Randall, 8 Alex Dombrandt, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Courtney Lawes (Captain), 5 Maro Itoje, 4 Charlie Ewels, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Ellis Genge.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Will Stuart, 19 Nick Isiekwe, 20 Sam Simmonds, 21 Ben Youngs 22 George Ford, 23 Elliot Daly.
Wales Starting XV: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Owen Watkin, 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Dan Biggar (captain), 9 Tomos Williams, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Taine Basham, 6 Ross Moriarty, 5 Adam Beard, 4 Will Rowlands, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Ryan Elias, 1 Wyn Jones.
Replacements: 16 Dewi Lake, 17 Gareth Thomas, 18 Leon Brown, 19 Seb Davies, 20 Jac Morgan, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Gareth Anscombe, 23 Jonathan Davies.
Ireland vs Italy
Ireland can get on the Six Nations march on Sunday, as they set out to hit the winning trail once more at the expense of tournament whipping boys Italy.
The pair meet at the Aviva Stadium two weeks on from a gut-punch, 30-24 Irish loss to France in Paris, knocking the stuffing out of Andy Farrell’s men following their opening round cruise against Wales.
Their opponents have made a vague fist of their opening two matches before the rest weekend, despite going down to inevitable defeats at the hands of France and England.
The big call for the Irish is the retention of Joey Carbery for his second Six Nations start at fly-half, keeping veteran Johnny Sexton on the bench.
Rookie Pierre Bruno is one of three Italian changes, with Leonardo Marin and Giovanni Pettinelli both called into action.
Ireland Starting XV: 15 Michael Lowry, 14 Mack Hansen, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 James Lowe, 10 Joey Carbery, 9 Jamison Gibson Park, 8 Caelan Doris, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Peter O?Mahony (captain), 5 Ryan Baird, 4 Tadhg Beirne, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Dan Sheehan, 1 Andrew Porter.
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Finlay Bealham, 19 Kieran Treadwell, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Craig Casey, 22 Johnny Sexton, 23 James Hume.
Italy Starting XV: 15 Edoardo Padovani, 14 Pierre Bruno, 13 Juan Ignacio Brex, 12 Leonardo Marin, 11 Montanna Ioane, 10 Paolo Garbisi, 9 Stephen Varney, 8 Toa Halafihi, 7 Michele Lamaro (captain), 6 Giovanni Pettinelli, 5 Federico Ruzza, 4 Niccolo Cannone, 3 Pietro Ceccarelli, 2 Gianmarco Lucchesi, 1 Danilo Fischetti.
Replacements: 16 Epalahame Faiva, 17 Ivan Nemer, 18 Tiziano Pasquali, 19 David Sisi, 20 Manuel Zuliani, 21 Braam Steyn, 22 Alessandro Fusco, 23 Marco Zanon.
Six Nations 2021: Predictions for 26 – 27 February
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.