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Six Nations 3rd Round: Ireland v Wales; Scotland v England

NatWest 6 Nations 2018 Third Round

Get ready to enjoy your weekend watching the greatest of all rugby tournaments - the Rugby Six Nations Championship with some great matches lined up in the United Kingdom and France. Last minute NatWest 6 Nations tickets to watch your favorite club go head to head with their rivals are still available at great prices from LiveRugbyTickets.co.uk!

Calcutta Cup: Scotland v England

England are two from two in 2018 going for a historic third NatWest 6 Nations crown. England coach Eddie Jones is consistent when it comes to his squad selection looking ahead to their clash with Scotland in this weekend's Calcutta Cup match. The injury to Sam Simmonds in the Wales game in round two was a blow for England, and Billy Vunipola is out at No.8 for the entire Championship. Jones has made only one change to his starting XV and another on the bench after their victory against Wales as England head to Edinburgh, Scotland to go face-to-face with their Auld Enemy. Dylan Hartley will become England's second most-capped male rugby player ever on Saturday. Popular Chris Robshaw shifted to No.8 for the second half against Wales. Jones' first game in charge of England in 2016 was against Scotland. England are boosted by the return of Nathan Hughes who is back in the starting XV. Hughes has only played 23 minutes for Wasps since injuring his knee in December. Hughes appeared in all five games on England's last year's run to the Six Nations title. Hughes returns to the side at No.8 in place of the injured Sam Simmonds and is eager to prove his worth in Simmonds' absence. The match at BT Murrayfield this Saturday will be his sixth Championship appearance.

"Nathan Hughes has worked hard on his fitness," said his England boss Jones. "I've never seen him in better physical condition, so we are looking forward to him playing. Nathan has a key role in defence and in us gaining momentum in attack." The only other change from the squad that held on to beat Wales is the return from suspension of Joe Marler. The Harlequins and British & Irish Lions loose-head is back on the bench for the Calcutta Cup clash this weekend. Nathan Hughes will make his first appearance of the 2018 NatWest 6 Nations against Scotland this weekend as the only change to England's starting XV from the victory over Wales. The only other change to Eddie Jones' side from the 12-6 win over Wales at Twickenham sees prop Joe Marler included among the replacements following his suspension. Lock Joe Launchbury will make his 50th England appearance, while captain Dylan Hartley will become England's second most capped player of all time by surpassing Jonny Wilkinson on 91 caps, trailing only Jason Leonard who has 114 caps. Mako Vunipola has been a key player for England recently, in both the tight and the loose ably supported by Alec Hepburn. Marler and Vunipola who have a combined 99 caps for England, could be key at BT Murrayfield. England captain Dylan Hartley overtakes Jonny Wilkinson this weekend as England's second-most capped men's player of all time. The hooker will win his 92nd cap for England and will face off with Scotland for the 11th time. Hartley has never lost to Scotland - winning 9 and drawing 1 of the previous 10 - and he will be keen to continue that run on Saturday. Joe Launchbury will win his 50th cap for England in the second row, the lock has been a standout performer for Jones. And competing with Lions Maro Itoje, George Kruis, and Courtney Lawes, Launchbury has taken his game to a new level. Jonathan Joseph scored a hat-trick of tries last time England played Scotland at Twickenham and has held off the challenge of Ben Te'o to keep his spot in midfield for this weekend's clash as well. Joseph's fierce attacking prowess is notable, but defensively he is a crucial key for England. Huw Jones is in great form for Scotland,so Joseph will need to be at his best. The Scottish backline, with Jones, Stuart Hogg and Finn Russell is fit and has torn defenses to shreds at BT Murrayfield under Gregor Townsend. England are determined to keep their winning run against the Auld Enemy going.

"We are really excited about this game and we will need to be very tough and relentless in our defense to keep the pressure on this Scottish team," said Jones. "They are renowned for their attack so we will need to put pressure on them, create opportunities through our defense for our attack, and convert those opportunities to points."

England Squad

England head to Edinburgh looking to make it three wins from three in this year's NatWest 6 Nations and Jones knows his side will have to be at their best to defeat a Scotland team coming off a hard-fought triumph over France last time out. Scotland have not scored a try at BT Murrayfield against England since 2004, and have not won in their last ten clashes. But Townsend's side have won 9 of their last 10 at home and gave Jones' side a real test last time they met here. Jack Nowell's try proved decisive in the end but Scotland had their chances and with Greig Laidlaw in fine goal-kicking form, discipline will be key this weekend. "We are really excited about this game and we will need to be very tough and relentless in our defence to keep the pressure on this Scottish team," said Jones. "They are renowned for their attack so we will need to put pressure on them, create opportunities through our defence for our attack, and convert those opportunities to points. Our preparation over the last two weeks has been important in that it has allowed us to regenerate the players, improve the fitness of some and to get a clear understanding on how we will play this weekend. Nathan Hughes has worked hard on his fitness. I've never seen him in better physical condition, so we are looking forward to him playing. Nathan has a key role in defense and in us gaining momentum in attack."

England team to play Scotland

15 Mike Brown (Harlequins 66 caps)
14 Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby 30 caps)
13 Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby 37 caps)
12 Owen Farrell (Saracens 55 caps)
11 Jonny May (Leicester Tigers 31 caps)
10 George Ford (Leicester Tigers 42 caps)
9 Danny Care (Harlequins 78 caps)

1 Mako Vunipola (Saracens 46 caps)
2 Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints 91 caps)
3 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers 79 caps)
4 Joe Launchbury (Wasps 49 caps)
5 Maro Itoje (Saracens 16 caps)
6 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints 63 caps)
7 Chris Robshaw (Harlequins 61 caps)
8 Nathan Hughes (Wasps 12 caps)

Replacements

16 Jamie George (Saracens 22 caps)
17 Joe Marler (Harlequins 53 caps)
18 Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs 7 caps)
19 George Kruis (Saracens 23 caps)
20 Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby 5 caps)
21 Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens 28 caps)
22 Ben Te'o (Worcester Warriors 10 caps)
23 Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs 25 caps)

Ireland v Wales

Chris Farrell comes in for his first-ever NatWest 6 Nations start for Ireland against Wales. British & Irish Lions Iain Henderson and Tadhg Furlong will both miss out with an injury. Henderson and Furlong were injured in Joe Schmidt's side's eight-try win over Italy in round two in Dublin. Devin Toner remains in the second row alongside the fit-again James Ryan. Furlong's spot at tighthead goes to his Leinster teammate Andrew Porter. Farrell started against both Fiji and Argentina this autumn in the No.13 jersey. Ferrel replaces Robbie Henshaw whose Championship was ended by a shoulder injury against the Azzurri. Sean O'Brien has not yet returned to fitness after hip surgery. Jared Payne is out making it five Lions from last summer's tour to New Zealand unavailable to compete this weekend. Hugo Bonneval, Benjamin Fall, Rémy Grosso and Mathieu Bastareaud all get their first starts of the campaign. Paul Gabrillagues is included at lock, while 20-year-old scrum-half Baptiste Couilloud is set to make his debut off the bench.

Squads

Ireland
Dan Leavy will wear the No.7 jersey in the absence of O'Brien in the back row alongside Peter O'Mahony and CJ Stander. Cian Healy and Rory Best are alongside Porter in the front row, while the half-back pairing of Conor Murray and Jonathan Sexton remain in place. In the back three Schmidt keeps faith with Jacob Stockdale, Keith Earls and Rob Kearney with the likes of Joey Carbery and Fergus McFadden expected to add impact in the second half.

15. Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster) 80 caps
14. Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster) 64 caps
13. Chris Farrell (Young Munster/Munster) 2 caps
12. Bundee Aki (Galwegians/Connacht) 4 caps
11. Jacob Stockdale (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 6 caps
10. Johnny Sexton (St Mary's College/Leinster) 70 caps
9. Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 61 caps

1. Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 75 caps
2. Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) 108 caps
3. Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster) 4 caps
4. James Ryan (UCD/Leinster) 5 caps
5. Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster) 55 caps
6. Peter O'Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) 44 caps
7. Dan Leavy (UCD/Leinster) 6 caps
8. CJ Stander (Shannon/Munster) 20 caps

Replacements
16. Sean Cronin (St Mary's College/Leinster) 58 caps
17. Jack McGrath (St Mary's College/Leinster) 44 caps
18. John Ryan (Cork Constitution/Munster) 12 caps
19. Quinn Roux (Galwegians/Connacht) 4 caps
20. Jack Conan (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 6 caps
21. Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht) 19 caps
22. Joey Carbery (Clontarf/Leinster) 7 caps
23. Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 33 caps

France v Italy
In other NatWest 5 Nations action, France travel to the Vélodrome in Marseille where they have won 9 of 11 Tests. In their first 4 matches at the stadium France defeated New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and England, and back in 1949 a France XV beat Italy. The Azzurri played twice at the Velodrome during the 2007 World Cup, resulting in a heavy defeat to New Zealand, and a win over Romania. For Italy coach Conor O'Shea, this match represents a chance for a first Championship victory, while France coach Jacques Brunel will hope to defeat the team he coached for five seasons until he was succeeded by Irishman O'Shea.Italy have just three changes, two in the front row. Andrea Lovotti and Leonardo Ghiraldini have continued their rotation system with Nicola Quaglio and Luca Bigi, with the former pair starting. Maxime Mbanda becomes the 3rd player to start in the No.7 jersey in as many games having come off the bench in the first two matches.

"It's different because I worked with most of those who play for the team and coach them. But I've put that to one side," said France coach Jacques Brunel. "What I'm worried about is creating something quickly, because the context demands that of us. It's a game between Latin sides, we know the links between France and Italy. We are almost cousins and so it's something of a family rivalry."

"We've got a young squad that is learning game by game," said Italy coach Conor O'Shea. "We knew the first two games against England and Ireland would be very hard but there are a lot of positives from our performances. But we made mistakes on lots of things that we can control, errors we cannot repeat against France. France are a very strong team, along with England they are the side with the largest base to choose from and you just have to see the team selected by Brunel to see that. But we cannot think about France, we have to concentrate on ourselves and I hope that we can offer ourselves and our fans a performance they can be proud of."

France and Italy travel to Marseille knowing a win is crucial to their hopes of a successful NatWest 6 Nations campaign. Les Bleus have lost twice in the opening two rounds, while Italy is also winless after two rounds. For the team that loses at the Orange Stade Vélodrome, "the spectre of the Wooden Spoon will loom large", while the winner will have boosted confidence going into the last two rounds. France coach Jacques Brunel has an overhauled squad and five new faces in his starting XV. Sergio Parisse has played a leading role in both of Italy's previous wins in the Giuseppe Garibaldi Trophy, in 2011 and 2013, and the Italian captain hopes to be key to winning once more. Parisse goes up against Bordeaux-Bègles' Marco Tauleigne, a No.8 in France and now installed as first choice Louis Picamoles out of the squad. Hugo Bonneval, Benjamin Fall, Rémy Grosso and Mathieu Bastareaud all get their first starts of the campaign. Paul Gabrillagues is included at lock, while 20-year-old scrum-half Baptiste Couilloud will make his debut off the bench. Italy have just three changes, two in the front row. Andrea Lovotti and Leonardo Ghiraldini have continued their rotation system with Nicola Quaglio and Luca Bigi, with the former pair starting. And Maxime Mbanda becomes the third player to start in the No.7 jersey in three games having come off the bench in the first two matches.

Six Nations Tickets

Top, legal, 150% guaranteed NatWest 6 Nations Tickets for Ireland vs Wales; Scotland vs England, and France vs Italy are available for sale now securely online from the world-class LiveRugbyTickets.co.uk rugby union tickets marketplace - even at the last minute! The Six Nations Championship tournament taking place now in the UK, France, and Italy is an annual international rugby union competition between the teams of England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales. The current champions are England who are well on their way to winning again this year. We ensure that you obtain a genuine ticket, be there to enjoy the environment and cheer for your favorite team.

Ireland v Wales Tickets
Six Nations
24 Feb 2018
Aviva Stadium
Dublin, Republic of Ireland

Scotland v England Tickets
Six Nations
24 Feb 2018
Murrayfield Stadium
Edinburgh, United Kingdom

France v Italy Tickets
Six Nations
23 Feb 2018
Orange Veledrome
France

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