It’s time for Round 3 of the 2021 Six Nations Championship and it looks like we’re in for a very competitive competition this season. Need a Six Nations VPN?
The first two rounds produced some shocks, some outstanding Rugby and poor old Italy getting their backsides kicked in back to back weeks. Fun Fact: ‘Six Nations VPN’ is one of the most searched phrases on Google!
🏉 Six Nations VPN 2021
📺 Free Live Rugby Streaming on BBC & ITV + Catchup on BBC iPlayer & ITV Hub
📅 6 February – 20 March
Unfortunately, Covid-19 has struck once again and caused the postponement of France vs Scotland which was set to take place on Sunday in Paris. It’s tough luck for the home side who have looked quite impressive so far, but it might be Scotland who are put out by it as they looked to bounce back after a disappointing home defeat to Wales.
There are still two games left and one in particular that looks like it might be the sporting highlight of the weekend.
🇮🇹 Italy vs Ireland 🇮🇪
Saturday 27 March | 1515 GMT
Both teams come into this game having lost both of their opening ties and desperate for a win. This will represent the 33rd game between the two sides, and the 22nd in Six Nations competition. Ireland hold a commanding 28 to 4 advantage in the overall win column, and are 20-1 in Six Nations games. Italy’s last win over Ireland came in Rome back in 2013 but Ireland have rattled off 10 straight victories.
Italy fell to France in the opening round, losing 50-10 on home soil in a rather one sided game. They followed that up with a spirited showing at Twickenham but still found themselves on the end of a heavy defeat, 41-18, at the hands of the defending Champions.
Italian coach Franco Smith has decided to stick with the same 15 who started at Twickenham but he has rung the changes on the bench. Prop Danilo Fishetti, Lock Federico Ruzza, Scrum-Half Guglielmo Palazzani and Fly-Half Tommaso Allan all drop out of the matchday squad, replaced by Prop Cherif Traore, Flanker Maxime Mbanda, Scrum-Half Callum Braley and Winger Mattia Bellini.
The Irish came into the competition with high hopes, but those were quickly dashed by a 21-16 defeat at home to Wales, a game that they controlled for long spells before running out of steam having been forced to play with 14 men from 66 minutes after Peter O’Mahony’s red card. They were unlucky to lose in Paris after a strong comeback, but fell just short in a 15-13 defeat.
Ireland have made massive changes to both their starting 15 and bench with eight different starters from that defeat to France. Jordan Larmour moves from the bench to the right wing, replacing Keith Earls who drops out of the squad. Captain Johnny Sexton returns at Fly-Half, replacing Billy Burns who drops to the bench while Ross Byrne misses out altogether. In the pack, it’s changes galore. The entire front row changes, with Props Tadhg Furlong and Dave Kilcoyne given the starting nod, while Andrew Porter and Cian Healy drop to the bench with Ed Byrne left out. Ronan Kelleher gets the start at Hooker, replacing Rob Herring who has to settle for a replacement role. Tadhg Beirne moves from Lock to Blindside Flanker, replacing Rhys Ruddock who misses out while James Ryan replaces Beirne in the second row. Will Connors will move from the bench to Openside Flanker, replacing Josh Van Der Flier who doesn’t make the 23. Jack Conan will take Connors place on the bench. The final change sees Ryan Baird replace Ultan Dillane as the replacement Lock.
🏴 Wales vs England 🏴
Saturday 27 March | 1645 GMT
One of the truly great rivalries in Rugby takes centre stage on Saturday afternoon as England travel to Cardiff to take on Wales for the 137th time looking for win number 66, hoping to avoid defeat number 60 and likely to be happy with draw number 13. All bar 12 of these contests have taken place as part of The Championship with England holding a 57-55 advantage in these games.
Wales kicked things off with that comeback win in Dublin, where they ground Ireland down and used their man advantage brilliantly. They took great confidence from that win and carried it into Murrayfield where they overcame Scotland 25-24 in a fantastic game that saw both sides put on great performances. With Scotland coming off their win over England they had been favoured to win that game, and this Sunday will mark the third straight contest in which the Welsh will be seen as underdogs. They seem to favour that, and will hope it continues to work to their advantage.
Wales have selected a vastly different side than the one that overcame Scotland. Out go Fullback Leigh Halfpenny, Centres Nick Thompson and Owen Watkin, Winger Liam Williams and Flanker Aaron Wainwright, while Scrum-Half Gareth Davies drops to the bench. In come Fullback Liam Williams, Centres Jonathan Davies and George North, Winger Josh Adams with Scrum-Half Kieran Hardy stepping up from the bench. The changes don’t end there, with replacement Lock Will Rowlands replaced by Cory Hill.
It’s been a disappointing start for the defending Champions, who were upset in Murrayfield by a Scottish team who simply wanted the win more. England were outmuscled upfront and outworked at the breakdown. The Scots suffocated England, made the pitch as small as possible and didn’t allow England any opportunities to create overloads out wide. Despite beating Italy 41-18 there were still murmurings of discontent with many aspects of their performance.
Mark Wilson comes in on the Blindside for Courtney Lawes, and there’s also a change at Hooker with Jamie George moving from the bench to the starting 15 and Luke Cowan-Dickie going the other way. Flanker George Martin replaces the injured Jack Willis on the bench in the only other change as Eddie Jones looks for some continuity having made eight changes in his 23 man squad between the Scotland and Italy games.
The easiest way to watch the Guinness Six Nations 2021 Rugby live from from anywhere in the world is on BBC Sport and ITV…
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