After an impressive 2023 Six Nations showing, Ireland will wrap up the tournament Grand Slam in Saturday’s finale if they beat England.
Steve Borthwick’s side look to bounce back from their 53-10 drubbing by France last time out. The England boss said after the match that his side are far off the standard of the world’s best teams, but they now look to recover from their heavy loss against the world’s No. 1 side.
After an impressive opening to the tournament, Scotland have suffered back-to-back defeats against France and Ireland. They look to bounce back against Italy, who despite looking improved have yet to register a point in this year’s Six Nations.
Warren Gatland won his first match as Wales boss last weekend, but faces a tough test in the tournament finale against a confident France side who have only lost to Ireland so far.
Scotland vs. Italy, Saturday March 18, 12.30 p.m. GMT, Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Blair Kinghorn will start at fly-half and Ollie Smith has been selected at fullback in four changes made by Scotland coach Gregor Townsend against Italy at Murrayfield on Saturday.
Kinghorn gets the nod ahead of uncapped Ireland-born No. 10 Ben Healy as Townsend fills the gap left by the injured Finn Russell. Healy is on the bench.
“Blair has been doing well off the bench and Ollie played very well for us against Australia last November and has carried on with that form,” Townsend said.
Townsend said his side are taking nothing for granted against an Italian side that is winless in this year’s championship, but have played some excellent rugby.
“We are determined to win, but Italy will test us, they are playing outstanding attacking rugby. They will ask us questions and play with passion,” Townsend said.
Scotland are out of the running for the Six Nations title, but could finish as high as second in the table.
Scotland: Ollie Smith, Kyle Steyn, Huw Jones, Sione Tuipulotu, Duhan van der Merwe, Blair Kinghorn, Ben White, Pierre Schoeman, George Turner, Zander Fagerson, Sam Skinner, Jonny Gray, Jamie Ritchie (captain), Hamish Watson, Jack Dempsey.
Replacements: Ewan Ashman, Rory Sutherland, WP Nel, Scott Cummings, Matt Fagerson, Ali Price, Ben Healy, Cameron Redpath
France vs. Wales, Saturday March 18, 2.45 p.m. GMT, Stade de France, Paris
France: Thomas Ramos, Damien Penaud, Gael Fickou, Jonathan Danty, Ethan Dumortier, Romain Ntamack, Antoine Dupont (captain), Cyril Baille, Julien Marchand, Uini Atonio, Thibaud Flament, Romain Taofifenua, Francois Cros, Charles Ollivon, Gregory Alldritt.
Replacements: Peato Mauvaka, Reda Wardi, Sipili Falatea, Bastien Chalureau, Secou Macalou, Maxime Lucu, Yoram Moefana, Melvyn Jaminet.
Wales: Louis Rees-Zammit, Josh Adams, George North, Nick Tompkins, Rio Dyer, Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb, Wyn Jones, Ken Owens (captain) Tomas Francis, Adam Beard, Alun Wyn Jones, Aaron Wainwright, Justin Tipuric, Taulupe Faletau.
Replacements: Bradley Roberts, Gareth Thomas, Dillon Lewis, Dafydd Jenkins, Tommy Reffell, Tomos Williams, Owen Williams, Leigh Halfpenny.
Ireland vs. England, Saturday March 18, 5 p.m. GMT, Aviva Stadium, Dublin