England v Wales
Live on ITV
England respond with Smith leading way
England face Wales in the third round of the Six Nations and Eddie Jones' hosts can claim a victory at Twickenham to maintain their hopes of winning the title. A disappointing opening defeat at Scotland scuppered any chance of the Grand Slam but England responded with a routine 33-0 win over Italy. Jones knows his team cannot slip up again, after their Murrayfield setback, but wins in their remaining matches could yet help them overhaul leaders France.
Courtney Lawes returns from his concussion layoff to captain England while Manu Tuilagi was due to return but a hamstring injury forced him out of the team, leading to a late squad recall for Joe Marchant. Harry Randall is preferred at scrum-half, with Ben Youngs waiting on the bench to win a record 150th cap.
Wales recover to lift fans
Wales' title defence started disastrously after a crushing 29-7 defeat to Ireland. Wayne Pivac's depleted squad rallied though and 15 points from captain Dan Biggar propelled Wales to a much-needed 20-17 victory over Scotland in Cardiff. Number eight Taulupe Faletau makes a welcome return after a long layoff with an ankle injury and Josh Adams is fit to play on the wing at the expense of Louis Rees-Zammit.
England are as short as 1.192/11 to overcome Wales and the hosts are worthy favourites although there is no interest in taking these skinny odds.
With a packed stadium at Twickenham, England's fired up team should have a clear edge and are fancied to put daylight between the sides across the 80 minutes. A bet on England winning by between 11 and 20 points appeals at 13/5.
England's future looks bright with Marcus Smith set to lead them into the World Cup next year. The prodigious talent already looks at home on the international stage with the fly-half scoring twice in his first Six Nations campaign. Smith crossed the line in Scotland and produced an instinctive finish against Italy. His pace and flair is likely to trouble Wales and odds of 9/4 warrant another bet on Smith to score again in an England win.
Scotland v France
Live on BBC One
Scotland aiming for another scalp
Scotland have already toppled England this year but Gregor Townsend's team will have to raise their game again if they are to overcome Grand Slam contenders France this weekend. The progress Scotland have made was highlighted in their 20-17 victory over England as they recorded back-to-back Calcutta Cup wins.
The frustration for Scotland fans will be their failure to back this up in the second round, falling to a narrow defeat in Wales against a team there for the taking. It was a missed opportunity for Scotland after establishing a first-half lead. Townsend has opted to pick a new back row, with flanker Rory Darge handed his first start. Hamish Watson and Magnus Bradbury line up alongside Darge with prop Zander Fagerson also recalled.
France still on track for Grand Slam
France remain title favourites after winning their opening two matches. A patchy win over Italy was improved on in an enthralling 30-24 victory over Ireland at the Stade de France. Tries from outstanding captain Antoine Dupont and Cyril Baille led them to a high quality triumph. France, whose only change is centre Jonathan Danty replacing the injured Gabin Villiere, are the only unbeaten team left in the tournament but head coach Fabien Galthie will be aware of the threat posed by their opponents.
Scotland are handed a seven-point handicap advantage and all the signs suggest this will be a tight encounter.
France won 22-15 in the Autumn Nations Cup in 2020 - their last visit to Murrayfield - with Les Bleus a much-improved team over the last 18 months.
Scotland have posed plenty of problems from France in recent years but the visitors' great strides and defensive progress can shut out the home side. The best bet in this match looks to be a tight France victory by no more than 12 points at 17/10.
Ireland v Italy
Live on ITV
Ireland suffer near miss in Paris
Ireland narrowly came up short against France but Andy Farrell's side should hit back with a one-sided win at home to Italy on Sunday. The development of this Ireland team is encouraging and they pushed France all the way to claim a losing bonus point in Paris.
Italy's losing run in the Six Nations stretches back to 2015 and there have been no signs of the team ending this forgettable streak. Italy lost 37-10 in France before failing to muster a point in their defeat to England at the Stadio Olimpico.
This should prove a complete mismatch and Ireland are asked to cover a 39-point handicap in Dublin. But Ireland have not managed to achieve this in their last four games against Italy which is a warning for those expecting the favourites to romp home. Preference is for Garry Ringrose to score at 11/10 in a convincing Ireland win. Ringrose scored in last season's win in Italy and the centre was on target in the victory over Wales earlier this month.
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