France V Scotland – Sat 3pm Stade de France
France coach Marc Lievremont will be hoping to release some of the pressure on him in this weekends 6 Nations opener against Scotland, following last weeks defeat to the Irish Lievremont has now lost six of his eleven games in charge since he took over as head coach in October 2007. In come Romain Millo-Chluski, Fabien Barcella, Nicolas Mas, Cedric Heymans and Benoit Baby replaces the suspended Florian Fritz.
Scotland make five changes to the side beaten by Wales in last weeks opener, coach Frank Hadden has drafted in the Evans brothers to try and liven up the back division – Thom didn’t even make the 22 last week – Alasdair Strokosch, Alasdair Dickinson and Simon Danielli make up the rest of the changes.
Wales V England – Sat 5.30pm Millennium Stadium
Wales welcome back captain Ryan Jones from injury to face England while Shane Williams is ruled out with an ankle injury picked up at Murrayfield, with his place going to Scarlets wing Mark Jones. Wales coach Warren Gatland has been goading England by claiming to have been watching videos of Leicester to prepare and then saying Leicester look a better outfit.
England have continued with their back to basics policy with the recalls of fit again Mike Tindall and Joe Worsley, they have also retained Andy Goode at fly-half almost certainly meaning a kicking based game again.
Italy V Ireland – Sun 2.30pm Stadio Flaminio
Italy coach Nick Mallett took full responsibility for last weeks defeat to England as his plan to play Mauro Bergamasco at scrum half backfired badly. Along with Bergamasco reverting to his more familiar role as flanker Italy have also brought in Paul Griffen and Luke McLean.
Ireland – who have never tasted defeat against the Italians – have kept the same side which beat the French last weekend, Declan Kidney was tempted to make changes to continue his squad building plans but in the end opted to remain unchanged meaning Paddy Wallace keeps Gordon D’Arcy on the bench.
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