Six Nations: Round Four predictions and teams for 11 – 12 March 2023

It’s time for the sharp end of the 2023 Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship, as this weekend signals the penultimate round of fixtures between the competing nations.

Twickenham is the venue for Le Crunch on Saturday, as England and France scramble to keep themselves in the title race.

Scotland and Ireland hold the top two spots coming into round four ahead of their Sunday collision at Murrayfield, while winless duo Italy and Wales face off on Saturday.

Italy vs Wales

A grim reality awaits the loser of this one, as Italy meet Wales in round four of the 2023 Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship on Saturday.

The sorry pair have lost all six games between them in this year’s competition so far.

A backdrop of strike threats and a general air of unrest polluted the visitors’ ultimately hard-fought defeat to England in Cardiff two weeks ago, following up losses to impressive pair Ireland and Scotland.

With only reigning champions France left to play after this, it feels like win or bust for returning coach Warren Gatland and his embattled squad.

The Italians pushed the French all the way on the opening weekend before slipping to an agonizing reverse on home turf.

A loss in London to England followed before the Azzurri were outmuscled by the Irish a fortnight ago.

Veteran Rhys Webb makes a first start in a red shirt for more than two years, while Gatland restores Liam Williams to the full-back role.

Injury to Ange Capuozzo means Tommaso Allan returns to the home side as Williams’ opposite number.

Italy Starting XV: 15 Tommaso Allan, 14 Edoardo Padovani, 13 Juan Ignacio Brex, 12 Tommaso Menoncello, 11 Pierre Bruno, 10 Paolo Garbisi, 9 Stephen Varney, 8 Lorenzo Cannone, 7 Michele Lamaro (captain), 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 Federico Ruzza, 4 Niccolo Cannone, 3 Simone Ferrari, 2 Giacomo Nicotera, 1 Danilo Fischetti.

Replacements: 16 Luca Bigi, 17 Federico Zani, 18 Marco Riccioni, 19 Edoardo Iachizzi, 20 Giovanni Pettinelli, 21 Manuel Zuliani, 22 Alessandro Fusco, 23 Luca Morisi.

Wales Starting XV: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Josh Adams, 13 Mason Grady, 12 Joe Hawkins, 11 Rio Dyer, 10 Owen Williams, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Justin Tipuric,6 Jac Morgan, 5 Dafydd Jenkins, 4 Adam Beard, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Wyn Jones.

Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin,17 Gareth Thomas, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Rhys Davies,
20 Tommy Reffell, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 George North, 23 Louis Rees-Zammit.

England vs France

It’s a rival clash with the air of a knockout at Twickenham on Saturday, as England meet France in the 2023 Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship.

The pair are locked together on 10 points in the battle to push for top honours come the end of the competition next weekend.

Which means the loser of this one is playing for pride in the final round.

Steve Borthwick is piecing some early form together with his Red Rose side, who have bounced back from an opening Calcutta Cup loss to Scotland to see off struggling Italy and Wales in London and Cardiff respectively.

With leaders Ireland on the horizon in round five, the English run to the finish line could scarcely be tougher.

The defending champions came second in an enthralling round two tussle in Dublin, either side of a terrifying win in Italy and a just-about-controlled win over the Scots in Paris last time out.

A Borthwick bombshell sees captain Owen Farrell dropped by the hosts, with Marcus Smith straight back into the fold and Ellis Genge handed the arm band.

Jonathan Danty, Dorian Aldegheri and Francois Cros are the three starting changes for the visitors.

England Starting XV: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Max Malins, 13. Henry Slade, 12 Ollie Lawrence, 11 Anthony Watson, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Jack van Poortvliet, 8 Alex Dombrandt, 7 Jack Willis, 6 Lewis Ludlam, 5 Ollie Chessum, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Ellis Genge (captain).

Replacements: 16 Jack Walker, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Dan Cole, 19 David Ribbans, 20 Ben Curry, 21 Alex Mitchell, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Henry Arundell.

France Starting XV: 15 Thomas Ramos, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Gael Fickou, 12 Jonathan Danty, 11 Ethan Dumortier, 10 Romain Ntamack, 9 Antoine Dupont (captain), 8 Gregory Alldritt, 7 Charles Ollivon, 6 Francois Cros, 5 Paul Willemse, 4 Thibaud Flament, 3 Dorian Aldegheri, 2 Julien Marchand, 1 Cyril Baille.

Replacements: 16 Peato Mauvaka, 17 Reda Wardi, 18 Sipili Falatea, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Sekou Macalou, 21 Maxime Lucu, 22 Yoram Moefana, 23 Melvyn Jaminet.

Scotland vs Ireland

An almighty contest keeps us waiting until Sunday in the 2023 Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship, as impressive Scotland play host to leaders Ireland at Murrayfield.

The pair will know who their challengers for this year’s title are when they step out in Edinburgh, with England playing France at Twickenham on Saturday.

And it’s a perfect Irish record at stake.

Andy Farrell’s side have a Grand Slam in their sights having won all three of their matches so far – away to Wales and Italy either side of a sparkling success against the French reigning champions in Dublin.

Their hosts tasted defeat for the first time this year a fortnight ago, with an early red card and flurry of conceded points leaving them with too much to do against Les Bleus in Paris.

It was a dent, but not a fatal blow, to Gregor Townsend and his men, who eased past Wales on home turf after claiming a Calcutta Cup hat-trick over England in London on the opening weekend.

Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray are reunited yet again in the half-back combination for the Irish, who have favoured experience for the showdown.

Jack Dempsey and Jonny Gray are the two changes for the Scots, who also grant a 100th international cap to Stuart Hogg.

Scotland Starting XV: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Kyle Steyn, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Sione Tuipulotu, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ben White, 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Luke Crosbie, 6 Jamie Ritchie (captain), 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 George Turner, 1 Pierre Schoeman.

Replacements: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Jamie Bhatti, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Scott Cummings, 20 Hamish Watson, 21 Ali Price, 22 Blair Kinghorn, 23 Chris Harris.

Ireland Starting XV: 15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Mack Hansen, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 James Lowe, 10 Johnny Sexton (captain), 9 Conor Murray, 8 Caelan Doris, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 5 James Ryan, 4 Iain Henderson, 3 Tadge Furlong, 2 Dan Sheehan, 1 Andrew Porter.

Replacements: 16 Ronan Kelleher, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Tom O’Toole, 19 Ryan Baird, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Jamison Gibson park, 22 Ross Byrne, 23 Robbie Henshaw.

Six Nations 2023: Predictions for 11 – 12 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.

Chance of winning (%)Points margin
Chance of winning (%)Points margin
Chance of winning (%)Points margin