Ireland hunt Six Nations clean sweep at Twickenham on St Patrick's Day

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

Irish eyes: the 2018 Six Nations concludes this weekend
Irish eyes: the 2018 Six Nations concludes this weekend
Should they inflict a third back-to-back defeat on England boss Eddie Jones on Saturday, Ireland will secure only their third Six Nations grand slam and set a lively tone for St Patrick's Day celebrations.

Six Nations standings going into the final weekend

Italy v Scotland – Six Nations Rugby – Saturday 17 March – ITV1 from 12noon (Kick-off at 12.30pm)

Scotland make five changes to the side that lost to Ireland as they look to match last year’s Six Nations tally of three wins against perennial wooden spoon contenders Italy in Rome.

Impressive wins against England and France have left Scotland with two wins, and two defeats – the same Six Nations form as England, Wales and France; however, their failure to notch a single bonus point thus far leaves them in fifth place, two points adrift of France and England, and three shy of Wales.

Italy are without a Six Nations win since a victory at Murrayfield in 2015. However, the Scots avenged that defeat by winning 36-20 in Rome the following year, and trouncing the Italians 29-0 in last year’s competition.

England v Ireland – Six Nations Rugby – Saturday 17 March – ITV1 from 2.25pm (Kick-off at 2.45pm)

Eddie Jones has made a host of changes to the side that lost 22-16 to France, handing Ireland their first Six Nations title since 2015 in the process. George Ford, Dan Cole, Danny Care and Joe Launchbury are the most high-profile names to make way as England look to maintain their unbeaten record at Twickenham under Eddie Jones and prevent an Irish Grand Slam on St Patrick’s Day.

Ireland have turned in four dominant performances thus far to take them to the brink of just their third Six Nations grand slam on Saturday. Given current form, you wouldn’t bet against them completing a clean sweep in this year’s tournament.

Wales v France – Six Nations Rugby – Saturday 17 March – BBC One from 4.30pm (Kick-off at 5pm)

With just a single bonus point separating second-placed Wales and the French in fourth, the return of Dan Biggar and Leigh Halfpenny to starting XV will provide a welcome boost for Warren Gatland’s side as Wales head coach makes seven changes to the side that beat Italy.

France will be led by Mathieu Bastareaud in place of the injured Guilhem Guirado as they look to continue a recent upturn in form against the Welsh, having beaten them for the first time in five years in last year’s tournament – however, Les Bleus have not won in Cardiff since 2010.

Read The Morning Advertiser​ guide to making the most of the Six Nations here.​  

Manchester United v Brighton & Hove Albion – FA Cup football – Saturday 17 March - BT Sport 1 and BT Sport 4KUHD from 7.30pm (Kick-off at 7.45pm)

Two strikes in four minutes from Sevilla’s Wissam Ben Yedder extinguished any optimism stemming from Manchester United’s 2-1 win over rivals Liverpool and have left Jose Mourinho’s side with only the FA Cup to fight for this season.

The 12-time winners will be under pressure to buck recent FA Cup quarter final misfortune that has seen them eliminated at this stage of the competition in three of their past four attempts, and needing a replay to advance past West Ham in their only recent success in 2016.

Though Brighton’s 2-0 reverse against Everton is far from ideal preparation, Chris Hughton’s men will relish the underdog tag at Old Trafford this weekend.

However, if history is anything to go by, the Seagulls could be in for a tough 90 minutes. They have only won one of their 17 matches against Manchester United and manager Chris Hughton has lost on all four visits to Old Trafford’s away dugout.

 

Leicester City v Chelsea – FA Cup football – Sunday 18 March – BBC One from 4.05pm (Kick-off at 4.30pm)

While Chelsea boss Antonio Conte revealed that winning the FA Cup wouldn’t save his job, the Italian will be desperate to lift his squad after being eliminated from the Champions League by Barcelona this week.

His beleaguered Chelsea squad take on a near fully fit Leicester City squad who return from a four-day training camp in Marbella, Spain, looking to put their name in the semi-final hat (it’s a bowl).

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