Simon Mail previews the second weekend of the Six Nations with Scotland taking on Wales and Ireland facing France...
"Scotland claimed a 14-10 win in Wales in October's delayed Six Nations clash and the hosts look worthy favourites to back this up with another victory."
Scotland v Wales
Live on BBC One
Scotland end years of Twickenham hurt
Scotland and Wales both upset the odds on the opening weekend of the Six Nations to set up an intriguing clash between the sides at Murrayfield. Gregor Townsend's side produced a superb performance to defeat champions England 11-6 for their first win at Twickenham since 1983. It was a dominant display and the scoreline arguably did not do justice to Scotland's level of authority.
Returning fly-half Finn Russell impressed but there were so many outstanding performances including forward Hamish Watson and captain Stuart Hogg as they controlled the contest.
Duhan van der Merwe scored the only try of the match as Scotland stunned rivals England to secure their fourth consecutive win in the Six Nations.
Scotland make three injury-enforced changes for this weekend's game. Centre Cameron Redpath, who was so impressive on the 21-year-old's debut at Twickenham, faces a spell out with a neck injury and is replaced by James Lang. Winger Darcy Graham comes in for Sean Maitland while Blade Thomson replaces Jamie Ritchie.
Wales grind out win
Wales started their Six Nations campaign with a 21-16 home win over Ireland but that does not tell the full story. Peter O'Mahony was sent off in the 14th minute for leading with an elbow but the visitors still opened up a 13-6 half-time lead. Wayne Pivac's side made hard work of it but eventually took advantage of the extra man with tries from George North and Louis Rees-Zammit edging the hosts to victory.
Liam Williams returns from his suspension to start on the wing for Wales, with Nick Tompkins and Owen Watkin replacing the injured North and Johnny Williams in the backline. Willis Halaholo is in line to make his debut with the New Zealand-born centre named on the bench. Dan Lydiate suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury against Ireland, which is set to rule him out of the rest of the season, with Aaron Wainwright coming into the back row.
Scotland claimed a 14-10 win in Wales in October's delayed Six Nations clash and the hosts look worthy favourites to back this up with another victory. While Wales struggled to overcome Ireland with an extra player, Scotland produced an exceptional team display to topple England and Townsend's side appear in a better place then their opponents. Scotland's last three wins in the competition have all been by no more than 12 points and another tight victory is forecast at Murrayfield.
Ireland v France
Live on ITV
Ireland need response after opening defeat
Ireland made a disappointing start to the Six Nations, after losing in Wales, with a big test ahead this weekend against an impressive France. Andy Farrell's side paid the price for Peter O'Mahony's early red card as they fell to defeat in Cardiff. Ireland led heading into the second half but playing with 14 men proved costly as they were unable to withstand their opponents.
Johnny Sexton misses out on this weekend's game with the captain ruled out following the head knock suffered against Wales. Fly-half Billy Burns, who frustratingly kicked the ball dead with the final play of the game, makes his first Six Nations start. Scrum-half Conor Murray is also unavailable with a hamstring injury as Jamison Gibson-Park replaces him in the backline.
France highlight title credentials
France made a dominant start to the competition as they romped to a 50-10 win over Italy in Rome. Fabien Galthie's side scored seven tries as they demonstrated their potent attack with an exhilarating performance from last season's runners-up. Scrum-half Antoine Dupont set up three tries and scored one in a virtuoso display.
Despite scoring two tries, Teddy Thomas drops to the bench with Damien Penaud brought in on the wing for France. Anthony Jelonch is also promoted to the back row in place of Dylan Cretin.
France are the new favourites for this year's Six Nations as the side go in search of their first title since 2010. A win in Ireland will be a major step on the way to ending this long wait.
Ireland have it all to do against confident opponents and France are edging favouritism in the betting for this match. France won 35-27 in Paris last season against Ireland and the last five clashes between the sides have all been settled by no more than 12 points. France have momentum while Ireland have key players missing through injury and the visitors will have no fears of heading to Dublin without the passionate home support. This looks an excellent opportunity for Les Bleus to win in Ireland and the best bet is a narrow France win to strengthen their title claims.
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