SIX NATIONS 2023 ROUND 2 PREVIEW
The Six Nations 2023 got off to a flying start with plenty thrills and spills. The ever popular Rugby Union Tournament will once again be shown with comprehensive free live streaming on BBC Sport and ITV.
Last weekend two of the three Six Nations games turned out to be fascinating encounters and one produced a shock result.
Nobody was surprised when Ireland went to Cardiff and beat up the Welsh. Ireland are simply a much better team than Wales, who are facing a period of transition and rebuild under returning Head Coach Warren Gatland. Perhaps the ease with which Ireland dominated the game was surprising to some but this Ireland team are number one in the world for a reason.
Scotland defeating England at Twickenham was a shock, but perhaps it shouldn’t have been. Scotland have had England’s number in recent years. The manner of victory and the sheer brilliance of Duhan van der Merwe made for a thrilling end to the game.
Italy almost pulled off one of the great surprise wins in Six Nations history but came up short in their battle with the French to cap off a very exciting weekend of Rugby.
This weekend, we get to enjoy it all over again! Let’s jump straight in.
Six Nations 2023 Round 2 Preview | Ireland vs France
📅 Saturday 11 February 2022
⏰ 1415 UK Kick-Off
The weekend’s opening game could well go on to decide the championship, just as it did last season. Ireland and France at the top 2 teams in the world right now and this match has been highly anticipated for months.
Ireland dominated Wales last time out, with a show of pace and power that the brave dragon could not live with. They will look to do similar to the French as they seek revenge for last season’s defeat in Paris, which ultimately cost them not just the Championship but also a Grand Slam.
Indeed France have won the last three meetings between the pair, a somewhat surprising run when you consider that they had only won one of the previous nine meetings.
Ireland make one change from the team that beat Wales, Rob Herring stepping in at hooker for the injured Dan Sheehan. Herring replaced Sheehan in the 74th minute of the Wales game and will win his 33rd cap on Saturday. He is a vastly experienced operator and while Sheehan’s absence is a blow, there are few better than Herring to have in reserve. Ronan Kelleher will take Herring’s spot on the bench and the Leinster man will be hoping to win in his 19th cap at some point.
France huffed and puffed against Italy and looked like they were heading towards a stunning defeat before a late try by Matthieu Jalibert and a conversion by Thomas Ramos sealed victory. They had started the game very well, roaring out to a commanding 19-0 lead but an Italian onslaught turned the game on its head and for 35 minutes the world’s number two-ranked team looked very beatable.
The French have named the same starting 15 for the second straight week with the only two changes coming on the bench. Francois Cros replaces Sekou Macalou as the backup flanker, while Baptiste Couilloud takes the place of Nolan Le Garrec as the reserve scrum half.
If both sides play as they did last weekend, Ireland should dominate the game but we should expect a greatly improved display from the French and a titanic battle between the two best teams in the world right now.
Six Nations 2023 Round 2 Preview | Scotland vs Wales
📅 Saturday 11 February 2022
⏰ 1645 UK Kick-Off
Last season the Scots began their campaign by beating England at Murrayfield before turning in an abject performance in Cardiff and losing to Wales. This weekend, they will hope to avoid a repeat as they welcome the Welsh to the North and hope that the mighty Murrayfield atmosphere spurs the team to a performance similar to the one they turned in last weekend against the English.
Wales have very much had Scotland’s number since the turn of the millennium. Scotland have recorded only five wins, along with one draw, in their last 25 meetings with Wales. In the last 21 games, those numbers shrink to just three wins. Two of their wins have come in the last seven encounters, though Wales have won the last two meetings between the sides. Scotland will be desperate to turn the tide and start winning some of these games as they are very much a team on the rise, while Wales are a team in transition.
Scotland were outstanding at Twickenham last weekend and fully deserved their win. It’s a win they take great confidence from as England were well up for the game as new Head Coach Steve Borthwick looked to make his mark. The fact they started well, fell behind, and were able to rally and fight back to win the game showed great character, and the individual brilliance of some of their scores showed that they now have something they previously lacked. Individual match-winners.
van der Merwe’s first try was the work of a genius, whilst his match-winning second showed the type of calmness, skill, and power that stands him out as one of the very best in the world in his position. He represents a true match-winner for the Scots, someone that can single-handedly break things open.
Gregor Townsend has made one change to his team ahead of this one, with Zander Fagerson returning at tight-head prop instead of WP Nel. Nel drops to the bench and Jamie Bhatti is the unfortunate one who will miss out.
Wales, unsurprisingly, have rung the changes after getting mauled by the Irish. Out go Taulupe Faletau, Justin Tipuric, Alun Wyn Jones, Tomas Francis, and Gareth Thomas with Tommy Reffell, Christ Tshiunza, Dafydd Jenkins, Dillion Lewis, and Wyn Jones coming in. Surprisingly, there are no changes to the back-line with the pack paying the price for last weekend.
Scotland will be hoping to build on last weekend, while the Welsh will be hoping to restore pride. This one could well turn out to be the game of the weekend.
Six Nations 2023 Round 2 Preview | England vs Italy
📅 Sunday 12 February 2022
⏰ 1500 UK Kick-Off
These sides both lost close games last weekend but it would be fair to say that Italy will take more positives from their game against France than England will from theirs against Scotland.
England had moments against France where they looked like their undeniable individual talent was coming together as a functioning team, but simply couldn’t sustain it. Some of their decision-making was poor and defensively they lacked the intensity it was hoped Borthwick would bring back to the team. There’s definitely a staleness to the England squad and a real lack of proven quality depth. Take the hooker position for example, Jamie George has 73 caps but neither George McGuigan nor Jack Walker have a single cap to their name. It’s the same type of situation at both scrum-half and fly-half, where Ben Youngs and Owen Farrell have been entrenched for so long that there’s no proven depth behind them.
England’s squad for last weekend’s game was made up of seven players with over 60 caps, 24 players with less than 20 caps, and only five with between 20 and 60. Of those five the youngest is Ellis George, who’s 27. The squad wasn’t turned over properly under the previous management and Borthwick finds himself reliant on a lot of older players who are perhaps past their best, and younger unproven players with no real “bridge” options.
This weekend he’s had to call up six new players because of injuries and only one of those six, Anthony Watson, has more than seven caps to his name. They are replacing two of his 20-60 caps group and one of the over 60 cap group so he’s losing even more experience. It may well be that England are facing a couple of barren years as they go through a significant overhaul, but the real rebuild can’t start until after the World Cup which isn’t ideal for Borthwick who would probably like to get started with it straight away.
Italy’s performance against France gave them a marker of where they stand against one of the best teams in the world and they will be hoping to build on that. This will be the 30th time they have faced England and they will be aiming to avoid a 30th straight defeat. It would be a historic occasion in Italian Rugby history if they could pull off the upset, and given the current state of England they might not get a better chance.
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How to watch the Six Nations 2023 from anywhere…
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What channels are streaming Six Nations Rugby?
A new TV deal has been struck in the UK which confirms BBC and ITV will bring every moment of every tournament between 2023 and 2025. BBC will show all Scotland and Wales home fixtures, while ITV will broadcast each England, France, Ireland and Italy home games.
Check out the full schedule below for the full fixture list, kick-off times and channel details.
Six Nations 2023 TV schedule
Saturday 5th February
Ireland v Wales (2:15pm) ITV / S4C
Scotland v England (4:45pm) BBC One
Sunday 6th February
France v Italy (3pm) ITV
Saturday 12th February
Wales v Scotland (2:15pm) BBC One / S4C
France v Ireland (4:45pm) ITV
Sunday 13th February
Italy v England (3pm) ITV
Saturday 26th February
Scotland v France (2:15pm) BBC One
England v Wales (4:45pm) ITV / S4C
Sunday 27th February
Ireland v Italy (3pm) ITV
Saturday 11th March
Wales v France (8pm) BBC One
Sunday 12th March
Italy v Scotland (2:15pm) ITV
England v Ireland (4:45pm) ITV
Saturday 19th February
Wales v Italy (2:15pm) BBC One / S4C
Ireland v Scotland (4:45pm) ITV
France v England (8pm) ITV
Furthermore; BBC Sport and ITV aren’t the only geographically-censored streaming services a VPN or Proxy will allow you to access. Other UK services like Sky Sports, All 4, Now TV, BT Sport, Amazon Prime and BritBox are available. Plus with the option to switch to our USA service whenever you like, you can access Hulu, HBO GO, Netflix and Pandora. Essentially you can access international content from virtually anywhere!