The stories to follow across week two of the Six Nations
The 2017 Six Nations Championship roared into life last weekend, with action and drama at every turn in the three fixtures. This weekend’s contests have a lot to live up to, then, but we fancy they won’t let us down.
Ireland’s trip to Rome gets things underway on Saturday before Wales host England, while France take on Scotland in Paris on Sunday.
So, here’s what to look out for…
Ireland must bounce-back
Tipped by many as the side most likely to oust England this spring, Ireland suffered an almighty blow at the first hurdle last weekend.
Beaten by a spirited Scotland, Joe Schmidt’s charges must now regroup when they head to Italy.
But the Azzurri made things very difficult for the Welsh last time out, and have history here – memorably beating the Emerald Isle on home soil just four years ago.
Will England step it up in Cardiff?
England had to fight hard to see off France a week ago, but a similarly scrappy performance won’t do as Eddie Jones’ men head to Wales.
The Red Rose have lost five of their last seven contests with Warren Gatland’s side at the Millennium Stadium, and the hosts know that a victory here would blow the Championship wide-open.
The two nations have been playing mind-games this week too, over whether or not the venue’s roof remains open or is closed.
Can Scotland win again?
Should Wales win, Scotland will really fancy their chances of finally winning a Six Nations tournament.
Vern Cotter’s men were excellent in victory over Ireland, and have no reason to fear Les Bleus.
There’s no ignoring the fact that France have dominated this contest – winning nine of the last 10 Six Nations meets, but a first victory at the Stade de France since 1999 would put the Tartan Army in a very strong position.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing