As the Six Nations returns from its week break, it’s set to be another dramatic weekend of rugby.
On Friday, winless France take on Italy at Marseille’s Stade de Velodrome, which is France’s first Six Nations home match outside Paris in their tournament history.
On Saturday, Ireland will look to maintain their 100% start as they welcome Wales and former Head Coach Warren Gatland to the Aviva Stadium, before Scotland face reigning champions England in the highly-anticipated Calcutta Cup clash at Murryfield.
With that in mind, Park Life Sports have selected one player from each country who you should look out for this weekend.
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The winger has started the tournament in excellent form, scoring twice in England’s emphatic 46-15 victory over Italy at the Stadio Olympico.
The Bath wideman scored in England’s 61-21 win over Scotland last year and despite concerns over Watson’s fitness because of a lower-leg injury, the British & Irish Lion was able to take part in England’s annual open training session at Twickenham on Friday.
With the weekend’s clash expected to be an exciting affair, you would expect Watson to be in the thick of the action as one of England’s most crucial attacking outlets.
The Irish has started the tournament in excellent form with two straight victories, and despite Stockdale being caught out defensively against France during Teddy Thomas’ try from the opening weekend and Tommaso Allan’s try two weeks ago, the Ulster winger has the potential to get plenty of points during this year’s Six Nations Championship.
The 21-year-old has a remarkable try-per-Test ratio, only failing to score against Japan and France since winning the first of six caps in New Jersey last June. He scored 13 fantasy points against Italy, and there’s no reason suggesting he cannot add to his tally against an injury-hit Wales side, despite their excellent defensive record this season.
The Northampton winger missed the first game through injury but is expected to return to the Welsh starting line-up on the weekend.
The Lions winger featured as a substitute in the 12-6 defeat to England, while also completing the full 80 minutes and scoring a try in the Saints’ 25-17 Aviva Premiership win against London Irish at the weekend.
Head Coach Alan Dickens told Wales Online: “He is definitely ready to start in Dublin. He played 80 minutes against Quins in the Anglo-Welsh and another full game for us today, so he’s looking fit and in good form.”
An in-form George North is an asset to any side. if he can replicate his club form for his country, Ireland will stuggle top stop the winger, who has featured 70 times for Wales since making his debut in 2010.
With France fining Teddy Thomas for ‘unacceptable behaviour’ on a night out, their in-form winger is out of their clash against Italy this weekend. This puts huge emphasis on the influence of captain Guirado, who has had a fine Six Nations campaign despite their winless start.
Guirado has admitted discipline has been an issue for Les Bleus, and will be looking to revitalise their campaign against the Italians on Friday, extending their winless run to eight matches.
— NatWest 6 Nations (FR) (@SixNations_FR) February 24, 2018
“It was worse this time,” said Guirado. “As long as we don’t show more discipline, we won’t win a match. But to be disciplined you have to be confident.”
“We must respect the rules otherwise we won’t make it. We’re always under tremendous pressure and after two defeats in a row the game against Italy will be more than welcome to bounce back.”
Despite being outplayed in both encounters to England and Ireland, the Italians haven’t struggled to get points on the board.
The fly-half scored a consolation try in the 56-19 hammering at the Aviva Stadium, and has been an influential figure in Italy’s improved attacking play. Allan has contributed to 14 out of the Italy’s 34 points so far this campaign, but the defensive side of their game has cost them dearly in both encounters.
— NatWest 6 Nations (@SixNationsRugby) February 11, 2018
It’s crucial that Allan is flawless with his kicking game against France, with the outcome of the clash likely to determine the winner of the wooden spoon. With the French also incredibly suspect defensively as displayed as against Scotland, Allan could add to his ever-increasing points tally on Friday.
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