The 2021 Guinness Six Nations Championship continues this weekend with the second round of fixtures in Europe’s premier international rugby competition.
Fans will be seeking out another shock result on Valentine’s weekend, following Scotland’s romantic success over England at Twickenham on the first weekend.
Italy are out to reverse their opening round heartache against France when they head to London, while Les Bleus are in Dublin on Sunday to take on Ireland.
Wales clung on for victory over the men from the Emerald Isle last weekend and they pit their embryonic perfect record against that of the Scots at Murrayfield.
Six Nations 2021: Predictions for Saturday, 13 February
Prediction methodology explained: The expected win percentage is based off publicly available odds. For example, if a team’s odds are 2.30, the expected chance of winning is 43%. If the odds are 1.62 the expected chance of winning is 62% and so on. These are accurate at the time of writing but are subject to change. Where there is no value listed, the odds were not available at the time of writing. Score margins use the methodology developed by Rugby Vision.
England vs Italy
Chastened England are ringing the changes for their Six Nations encounter with wooden spoon regulars Italy, after their opening weekend humbling by auld enemy Scotland.
Coach Eddie Jones brings George Ford, Courtney Lawes, Kyle Sinckler and Mako Vunipola into play from the off, with skipper Owen Farrell shifting to inside centre.
With the backs fairly settled there’s also a change at hooker, as Luke Cowan-Dickie comes in for Jamie George.
Carlo Canna and Andrea Lovotti are the two changes for Franco Smith’s Italy following their opening round mauling at the hands of France.
Experienced fly-half Tommasso Allan also returns as far as the replacements bench for the away side.
England Starting XI: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Owen Farrell (captain), 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Will Stuart, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Ben Earl, 21 Jack Willis, 22 Dan Robson, 23 Max Malins.
Italy Starting XV: 15 Jacopo Trulla, 14 Luca Sperandio, 13 Ignacio Brex, 12 Carlo Canna, 11 Montanna Ioane, 10 Paolo Garbisi, 9 Stephen Varney, 8 Michele Lamaro, 7 Johan Meyer, 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 David Sisi, 4 Marco Lazzaroni, 3 Marco Riccioni, 2 Luca Bigi, 1 Andrea Lovotti.
Replacements: 16 Gianmarco Lucchesi, 17 Danilo Fischetti, 18 Giosue Zilocchi, 19 Niccolo Cannone, 20 Federico Ruzza, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Tommaso Allan, 23 Federico Mori.
Scotland vs Wales
It’s a battle between opening round winners as Scotland meet Wales in the Six Nations at Murrayfield on Saturday.
Gregor Townsend’s hosts pulled off a startling upset when they nudged past England 11-6 at Twickenham on the opening day of the 2021 competition.
And now they’re back on home turf to take on a Welsh side that clung on for victory over Ireland at the Principality Stadium last Sunday.
The home side bring in Blade Thomson, James Lang and Darcy Graham at the expense of injured trio Jamie Ritchie, Sean Maitland and Cameron Redpath.
Wales, meanwhile, hail the return of full-back Liam Williams after his ban, with Aaron Wainwright also among those drafted in.
George North and Johnny Williams are among those missing out through injury for Wayne Pivac’s side.
Scotland Starting XV: 15 Stuart Hogg (captain), 14 Darcy Graham, 13 Chris Harris, 12 James Lang, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ali Price, 8 Matt Fagerson, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Blade Thomson, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Scott Cummings, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 George Turner, 1 Rory Sutherland.
Replacements: 16 David Cherry, 17 Oliver Kebble, 18 Willem Nel, 19 Richie Gray, 20 Gary Graham, 21 Scott Steele, 22 Jaco van der Walt, 23 Huw Jones.
Replacements: Cherry, Kebble, Nel, R Gray, Graham, Steele, Van der Walt, Jones.
Wales Starting XV: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Louis Rees-Zammit, 13 Owen Watkin, 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Liam Williams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Aaron Wainwright, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 4 Adam Beard, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Wyn Jones.
Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Rhodri Jones, 18 Leon Brown, 19 Will Rowlands, 20 James Botham, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Callum Sheedy, 23 Uilisi Halaholo.
Six Nations 2021: Predictions for Sunday 14 February
Ireland vs France
Ireland and France go head-to-head in the Six Nations at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday.
Les Bleus eased themselves into the 2021 tournament with a thumping win away to hapless Italy last weekend, as they bid to go one better than their runners-up finish in the protracted 2020 event.
Andy Farrell’s Irish pushed Wales all the way in Cardiff despite playing much of their first round clash with 14 men.
The hosts are looking to lay down a marker against the French following an inconsistent couple of years.
But they’ll be doing it without their first choice captain and vice-captain, as Johnny Sexton and James Ryan aren’t ready to return under the concussion protocols.
Scrum-half Conor Murray also misses out with a hamstring strain, meaning Jamison Gibson Park joins Billy Burns in the half-backs.
Damian Penaud returns to the wing for the visitors, replacing Teddy Thomas, while Anthony Jelonch’s selection at flank is the only other change to the starting line-up for the trip to Dublin.
Ireland Starting XV: 15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 James Lowe, 10 Billy Burns, 9 Jamison Gibson Park, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 Iain Henderson (captain), 4 Tadhg Beirne, 3 Andrew Porter, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Ronan Kelleher, 17 Ed Byrne, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Ultan Dillane, 20 Will Connors, 21 Craig Casey, 22 Ross Byrne, 23 Jordan Larmour.
France Starting XV: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Arthur Vincent, 12 Gael Fickou, 11 Gabin Villiere, 10 Matthieu Jalibert, 9 Antoine Dupont, 8 Gregory Alldritt, 7 Charles Ollivon (captain), 6 Anthony Jelonch, 5 Paul Willemse, 4 Bernard Le Roux, 3 Mohamed Haouas, 2 Julien Marchand, 1 Cyril Baille.
France Replacements: 16 Pierre Bourgarit, 17 Hassane Kolingar, 18 Uini Atonio, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Dylan Cretin, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Anthony Bouthier, 23 Teddy Thomas.