England face France duel
Ireland chase grand slam
Wales bid to avoid wooden spoon
England building for France test
England v France
Live on ITV
England have taken a step forward under new head coach Steve Borthwick, after back-to-back victories, but will have to improve again if they are to defeat defending champions France at Twickenham this weekend. After an opening loss against Scotland, England defeated Italy before Anthony Watson's opening try helped them win 20-10 in Wales.
Borthwick has made a bold call by dropping Owen Farrell and handing Marcus Smith the fly-half role. Smith's attacking flair is preferred and it looks the right move with one eye on the autumn World Cup. With Farrell on the bench, prop Ellis Genge takes the captaincy.
France's long unbeaten run was ended by Ireland last month in an epic encounter in Dublin. Les Bleus responded with a 32-21 home win over Scotland but there were several scares during the match. Mohamed Haouas was sent off for France with the prop suspended for the rest of the tournament.
England have had the edge against France recently with five victories from the last eight clashes.
France have also endured a miserable record at Twickenham with nine successive defeats since their last win back in 2007.
England's home record against Les Bleus will not have gone unnoticed and Borthwick's team can maintain this strong record. It should be another tight contest though, with nine of the last 10 meetings settled by no more than 12 points. Take England to continue their progress by edging out France.
Ireland still team to beat
Scotland v Ireland
Live on BBC One
Ireland remain on course to win the grand slam but the Six Nations leaders are likely to be tested by Scotland at Murrayfield this weekend. Andy Farrell's team have been relentless, with three bonus point victories putting them in control of the championship. Ireland were far from their best in Italy during the last round but two tries from Mack Hansen helped them to a 34-20 win.
Scotland will face Ireland at the World Cup in France later this year but their immediate focus is on landing the triple crown for the first time since 1990, following wins over England and Wales. Gregor Townsend's entertaining team have won plenty of admirers with their attacking rugby which has been orchestrated by Finn Russell. The fly-half scored in France, along with two tries from Huw Jones, as they impressed despite defeat.
Ireland have enjoyed the upper hand recently with a dominant record against Scotland.
The last seven clashes have all been won by Ireland and it is difficult to bet against the world's top ranked team in their current form.
Scotland will make it difficult for them but Ireland's nous is likely to prove decisive and a win by up to 12 points looks most likely.
Italy target Wales win
Italy v Wales
Live on ITV
The race to avoid the wooden spoon reaches a decisive moment this weekend with Italy hosting Wales. It has been a miserable year for Wales, with the return of Warren Gatland failing to result in a resurgence. Heavy defeats to Ireland and Scotland were followed by the loss to England which took place amid the fallout from the players' contract dispute. Gatland hands scrum-half Rhys Webb his first Six Nations start since 2017 while Rio Dyer is preferred to Louis Rees-Zammit on the wing.
Italy have undoubtedly made progress under Kieran Crowley despite failing to win so far this season. Briefly leading against France in their opener, Italy were beaten narrowly and they were again competitive in their 14-point loss to Ireland. Crowley is forced into one change with Tommaso Allan replacing injured full-back Ange Capuozzo.
The odds suggest it is hard to split the teams with Wales the narrowest of favourites at 5/6. Italy will certainly fancy their chances after pulling off a stunning victory in Cardiff last season. Wales are there for the taking but their desperation to end the losing run could spark a reaction.
Capuozzo's absence is a huge blow for Italy with their best attacker unavailable. Wales have won 16 of the last 17 matches against their opponents and Gatland can steer his team to a much-needed victory but it will surely be close.
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