It’s time for Round 4 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?
Round four of the 2021 Six Nations Championship takes place this weekend with Wales and France both remaining unbeaten, and the pair on course for a massive showdown in Paris next weekend if they get through this weekend unscathed. Fun Fact: ‘Six Nations VPN’ is one of the most searched phrases on Google!
🏉 Six Nations VPN 2021
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As things stand, all three games are set to go ahead which is a relief after the cancellation of France vs Scotland in the last round had people thinking back 12 months to cancellation of Ireland vs Italy which marked the first major sporting event to be called off as a result of the pandemic.
So far so good, it appears that this year’s campaign will at least finish within a week of its original end date but let’s not count our chickens just yet. Let’s just get through this weekend’s games, which we’ve gone ahead and previewed for you.
🇮🇹 Italy vs Wales 🏴
Saturday 13 March | 1515 GMT
Having already secured the Triple Crown by beating Ireland, Scotland and England, Wales travel to Rome to take on an Italian team short on form and confidence. Wales know that a comprehensive victory in the Italian capital will cement them in pole position in this years competition with only a potential winners takes all match-up with France in Paris next weekend standing between them and a 28th title, and possibly a record equaling 13th Grand Slam.
This will be the 30th match played between the two sides, with Wales having dominated the rivalry with 26 wins to date, against just two for the Italians. Italy haven’t beaten Wales since 2007 and haven’t gotten within 10 points of Wales since a 2015 World Cup warm-up match.
The Italians have lost each of their three matches in this season’s competition in a comprehensive manner. France beat them 50-10 in Rome, they lost 41-18 in Twickenham and Ireland swept them aside 48-10 in Rome in their last outing. Franco Smith has made five changes ahead of this game, two in the backs and three in the pack, as he looks to shake things up and get his team to land a punch or two of their own, rather than being the whipping boys of the competition again. Mattia Bellini, Stephen Varney, Niccolo Cannone, Giosue Zilocchi and Danilo Fischetti come in for Luca Sperandio, Callum Braley, Marco Lazzaroni, Marco Riccioni and Andrea Lovotti. Fun Fact: ‘Six Nations VPN’ is one of the most searched phrases on Google!
Wales overcame Ireland 21-16 in Cardiff before their epic 25-24 comeback victory over Scotland at Murrayfield. Last time out they beat England 40-24 in fantastic display on home turf. While it may have been tempting for Wayne Pivac to ring the changes and rest players ahead of next weekend’s showdown in Paris, it was decided that continuity and rhythm was the order of the day so 13 of the players who started against England will start this time around. Gareth Davies replaces Kieran Hardy at scrum-half while Cory Hill takes over from Adam Beard in the second row.
🏴 England vs France 🇫🇷
Saturday 13 March | 1645 GMT
The 108th match between these two fierce rivals takes place at Twickenham with England desperately hoping to bounce back from their disappointing performance in Cardiff two weeks ago. Their opponents will know that a defeats could be catastrophic to their hopes of a first Championship since 2010.
England’s title hopes are already well in the past after losing to Scotland in their opening game, and their defeat to Wales last time out. They did beat Italy in between those games but didn’t look as impressive in doing so as either France or Ireland, despite playing the game at home while the others travelled to Rome. Pride, and extending their historical superiority over the French are all they really have to play for this weekend. They will chase win number 60 over Les Blues, but know that defeat number 42 will bring Eddie Jones under mounting pressure. Jones has, somewhat surprisingly, made only three changes to the team that lost in Cardiff. Max Malins comes in at fullback for Elliot Daly, Charlie Ewells replaces Jonny Hill in the second row and Luke Cowan-Dickie gets the nod at hooker over Jamie George. Fun Fact: ‘Six Nations VPN’ is one of the most searched phrases on Google!
France have only played twice so far, due to Covid-19 scuppering their game against Scotland in the last round. That match is yet to be rescheduled and could be either completely meaningless or absolutely crucial depending on how France fare this weekend and next. They cruised past Italy 50-10 in round one before overcoming Ireland 15-13 in round two to maintain their chances of claiming the title that has eluded them for over a decade. Traditionally their own worst enemy, France seem to have a different mentality in recent years and the credit for that must go to Fabian Galthie who has rung the changes in the French camp since taking over as Head Coach in 2019. Egos are no longer tolerated, and players are being picked on merit rather than prior allegiances. There’s four changes for France from the team that beat Ireland in their last game. Teddy Thomas, Virimi Vakatawa, Dylan Cretin and Romain Taofifenua come into the side with Gabin Villere, Arthur Vincent, Anthony Jelonch and Bernard LeRoux dropping out. Damien Penaud will switch from right wing to left wing to accommodate Thomas’ inclusion.
🏴 Scotland vs Ireland 🇮🇪
Sunday 14 March | 1500 GMT
From all the individual rivalries that make up the Six Nations, none have been more evenly split than this one. With 137 games played between the pair, both have 66 wins with five contests ending in a draw. In recent years Ireland have been dominant, winning 9 of the last 10 games including the last five in a row. In fairness to Scotland, only one of the last five has been played at Murrayfield with three taking place in Dublin and one in Japan at the last World Cup.
Scotland’s campaign began so promisingly with a fantastic 11-6 win over England at Twickenham. Optimism was rampant afterwards, was this possibly the year that Scotland would win their first ever Six Nations Championship? Scotland have failed to win the Championship since Italy were added to mix, their last title coming the year before the expansion. All they have to show for their participation is four Wooden Spoons, which is not something that sits easy amongst a nation of fiercely proud people. Their optimism was short lived, as Wales went to Murrayfield and snatched victory from the jaws of the defeat by 25 points to 24. It was a cruel defeat for Scotland, who played so well on the day but just ran out of gas. With their game against France postponed, they’ve had a long time to stew in the aftermath of that defeat and Gregor Townsend will be expecting a reaction from his team.
Ireland have had a very disappointing second campaign under Head Coach Andrew Farrell, after going into the final game of last years Championship with a chance to claim the title. Peter O’Mahony’s early red card in their first game, away to Wales, left them with a mountain to climb and though they did their best they were unable to hold on and lost 21-16. They gave France everything they could handle at the Aviva, but ended up on the wrong side of a 15-13 scoreline, before trouncing Italy by 48-10 in Rome. Performance wise, they will feel they should be better off than their current tally of seven points after the three games but Rugby is a results basis and two defeats from three games is not good enough for a group as talented as Ireland.
With this game taking place on Sunday, the team news has not been released at time of writing but Ireland are expected to have Jacob Stockdale back in contention which will be a massive boost as he is by far their most potent try scoring threat and has missed all three of their games so far.
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