Italy v Scotland- Kick off: 12:30
Azzurri coach Jacques Brunel has made six changes to his Italy side that will face Scotland in the wooden spoon decider on Saturday afternoon. Treviso scrum-half Edoardo Gori replaces Fabio Semenzato at number nine with Tommaso Benvenuti and Giovambattista Venditti coming in to bolster the Italian backline at centre and wing respectively. Leicester Tigers’ Martin Castrogiovanni returns to the pack after recovering from a rib injury along with flanker Robert Barbieri and lock Marco Bortolami.
Edinburgh’s Nick De Luca will start at centre in Scotland’s final Six Nations encounter this weekend after Lee Jones was ruled out as a result of the injury he sustained against Ireland last week that left him severely concussed. Castres’ Max Evans will now play on the right win in place of Jones in what is the only other change in Scotland’s starting XV. The only other change in the 22 sees Bath’s Jack Cuthbert included on the replacements bench as Scotland aim to avoid secure their first win of this year’s campaign.
Scotland have not triumphed in Rome since 2006 and with the return of Castrogiovanni to the front-row, Italy will be quietly confident of securing the victory that will condemn Scotland to the wooden spoon at the Stadio Olimpico.
Wales v France- Kick off: 14:45
Warren Gatland has made just one change for Wales’ Grand Slam match against France at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Sam Warburton returns to the starting side after recovering from a knee injury, as Justin Tipuric is left out of the 22. Lloyd Williams has been included amongst the replacements in place of Rhys Webb in what is Gatland’s only other change. The back-line is the same one that has started and won the previous four matches as the Welsh look to gain revenge over France after being dumped out of the World Cup after being defeated 9-8 at the semi-finals stage.
Phillipe Saint-André has made several changes to his side that aims to prevent Wales from winning the Grand Slam this weekend. Scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili returns to the starting XV along with Florian Fritz who replaces Wesley Fofana at centre after he was shifted to the wing to replace the injured Vincent Clerc. Julien Malzieu has been dropped in favour of Toulon’s Alexis Palisson on the opposite wing. William Servat will start at hooker in place of Dimitri Szarzewski and David Attoub returns from a 70 week ban after eye gouging Ireland’s Stephen Ferris.
Les Bleus will be confident of spoiling Wales’ party as they have only been beaten once in their last six outings in Cardiff by Wales but Gatland’s men will be desperate to beat the side that knocked them out of the World Cup and secure a third Grand Slam in eight years.
England v Ireland- Kick off: 17:00
England boss Stuart Lancaster has made one change to his side for the final game of this year’s Six Nations tournament against Ireland. Saracens’ winger David Strettle returns to the starting XV after recovering from a chest injury, meaning Charlie Sharples drops out. Injured hooker Rob Webber has been replaced by Lee Mears on the replacements bench in what is the only other change in the England 22.
Ireland have received a major boost ahead of their trip to Twickenham this weekend as number seven Sean O’Brien has been declared fit to play after he recovered from a foot problem in what is Ireland’s only change. Munster’s Peter O’Mahony, who filled O’Brien’s position in the win against Scotland last weekend, has been demoted to the replacements bench.
England still have hopes of winning the Six Nations but they will need to beat Ireland and hope that France can beat Wales with a vast swing in points difference but the Irish will be hoping to beat Lancaster’s side and finish above them in the final standings.
Credit – Getty Images and the RFU.