Six Nations round three: teams, times and broadcast information

International
by RUGBY.com.au staff

One country's Gland Slam aspirations will be snuffed out this weekend when England and Wales face off in the Six Nations.

The English will play off in Cardiff on Sunday morning AEDT, after France and Scotland take each other on to open the round.

Ireland and Italy wrap up the third weekend of internationals on Sunday morning.

FIXTURES

France vs Scotland, Stade de France, Saturday February 23, 3:15pm local, Sunday 1:15am AEDT

Wales vs England, Principality Stadium, Saturday February 23, 4:45pm local, Sunday 3:45am AEDT

Italy vs Ireland, Stadio Olimpico, Sunday February 24, 4pm local, Monday 2am AEDT

WALES vs ENGLAND

Gareth Anscombe has been selected at flyhalf as Wales returned to full strength for their highly-anticipated Six Nations clash against England in Cardiff.

Coach Warren Gatland on Thursday named his strongest side for Saturday's clash between the two remaining unbeaten teams in this year's competition after fielding a second string side in their last outing, a 26-15 away victory over Italy just under a fortnight ago.

Anscombe was preferred to Dan Biggar, who had to go off after 20 minutes playing for Northampton against Sale Sharks in the English Premiership last Saturday, in the pivot position.

Biggar trained with Wales from Monday but his knee niggle is likely to have convinced Gatland to name his rival to start Saturday's game at the Principality Stadium.

Anscombe's half back partner at the Cardiff Blues, Tomos Williams, was ruled out because of injury.

Leigh Halfpenny, who has not played since suffering concussion against Australia last November, will have to wait to make his return even though he trained with the squad this week.

Alun Wyn Jones will lead the team with Cory Hill preferred as his second row partner instead of Adam Beard, who was named among the replacements.

"We are really happy with the experience we have got in the side," said Gatland.

"We have been on the road for the first two weeks, we are looking forward to being back at home and to build on those first two wins and to build on our performance.

"We've had a great two-week lead up to this game, we've looked really sharp and the squad are incredibly motivated to kick on.

"We know how important this game is for the rest of the championship. It's a massive challenge playing against an England team that is playing really well and with a lot of confidence and we've got to make it difficult for them on Saturday."

TEAMS

Wales to play England

Rob Evans, Ken Owens, Tomas Francis, Cory Hill, Alun Wyn Jones, Josh Navidi, Justin Tipuric, Ross Moriarty, Gareth davies, Gareth Anscombe, Josh Adams, Hadleigh Parkes, Jonathan Davies, George North, Liam Williams. Reserves: Elliot Dee, Nicky Smith, Dillon Lewis, Adam Beard, Aaron Wainwright, Aled Davies, Dan Biggar, Owen Watkin.

England to play Wales

Ben Moon, Jamie George, Kyle Sinckler, Courtney Lawes, George Kuris, Mark Wilson, Tom curry, Billy Vunipola, Ben Youngs, Owen Farrell, Jonny May, Manu Tuilagi, Henry Slade, Jack Nowell, Elliot Daly. Reserves: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Ellis Genge, Harry Williams, Joe Launchbury, Brad Shields, Dan Robson, George Ford, Joe Cokanasiga

FRANCE vs SCOTLAND

Flyhalf Pete Horne has been drafted into the Scotland team as coach Gregor Townsend made four changes to the line-up for Saturday's Six Nations clash with struggling France in Paris.

Horne replaces talisman Finn Russell, who sustained a head injury in club action last weekend, with Adam Hastings moving onto the bench as the replacement number 10.

There are two other injury-enforced changes in the backline, with Blair Kinghorn replacing Stuart Hogg (shoulder) at fullback and centre Nick Grigg coming into the midfield for Huw Jones (knee).

The only switch in the pack from the side that lost 22-13 at home to Ireland on February 9 is flanker Magnus Bradbury taking the place of Ryan Wilson (knee), another injury casualty.

"Injuries create opportunities for others to show what they can do and throughout the past couple of seasons we've seen a number of players really step up," Townsend said in a statement.

"All of the players coming in started against Argentina in the summer, which ranks as one of our best ever away performances.

"On top of that there is cohesion forged through familiarity at club level - Magnus in the back-row lines up with clubmate Jamie Ritchie, and Pete Horne and Nick Grigg are either side of Sam Johnson in the backs."

Scotland have been able to pick South African-born Josh Strauss at number eight despite the fact he mislaid his passport and did not have time to get a new one.

Strauss was allowed to travel to France after Scotland Secretary David Mundell intervened and negotiated with French authorities.

France have made a poor start to the Six Nations, letting a 16-point half-time lead slip to lose 24-19 at home to Wales and then enduring a 44-8 thumping by England at Twickenham.

But Townsend has warned his side that they will face a fired-up home team at the Stade de France.

"They are a very dangerous opponent, combining power, ambition and skill," the coach said.

"Their individual talent is outstanding and, when they get things right -- which has predominantly been in the Six Nations at home - they've played with a real collective spirit and fed off the emotion of the crowd."

TEAMS

France to play Scotland

Jefferson Poirot, Guilhem Guirado, Demba Bamba, Sebastien Vahaamahina, Felix Lambey, Wenceslas Lauret, Arthur Iturria, Louis Picamoles, Antoint Dupont, Romain Ntamack, Yoann Huget, Gael Fickou, Mathieu Bastareaud, Damien Penaud, Thomas Ramos.  Reserves: Camille Chat, Etienne Falgoux, Dorian Aldegheri, Paul Willemse, Gregory Alldritt, Baptiste Serin, Anthony Belleau, Maxime Medard

Scotland to play France

Allan Dell, Stuart McInally, Simon Berghan, Grant Gilchrist, Jonny Gray, Magnus Bradbury, Jamie Ritchie, Josh Strauss, Greig Laidlaw, Pete horne, Sean Maitland, Sam Johnson, Nick Grigg, Tommy Seymour, Blair Kinghorn. Reserves: Fraser Brown, Alex Allan, Zander Fagerson, Ben Toolis, Gary Graham, Ali Price, Adam Hastings, Darcy Graham

ITALY vs IRELAND

Peter O'Mahony will captain Ireland in their Six Nations match away to Italy on Sunday after coach Joe Schmidt left regular captain Rory Best out of his matchday 23.

Sean Cronin has replaced Best at hooker, with Leinster's two-time European Champions Cup-winner making a belated first start in the Six Nations at the age of 32.

Although he has been capped 67 times by Ireland, 58 of Cronin's appearances have come off the bench -- a record for any Ireland replacement.

Best's absence means the Ulster front-row forward will miss just his second Six Nations match in the last 63 -- a run dating back to 2007 -- with O'Mahony captaining the team for the first time in the Six Nations although the blindside flanker first led Ireland on their 2013 tour of North America. 

Meanwhile Connacht fly-half Jack Carty could make his Test debut off the bench, with Joey Carbery sideline by a suspected hamstring problem.

Italy, coached by former Ireland full-back Conor O'Shea, are on a woeful run of 19 straight defeats in the Six Nations and it has become increasingly commonplace for their European rivals to rest senior players for matches against the Azzurri in a bid to keep them fresh for sterner challenges ahead.

Schmidt, however, did select his first-choice half-back duo of Conor Murray and Jonathan Sexton in a starting XV announced Friday.

Italy coach Conor O'Shea has made five changes to his team for the Azzurri's third match in the Six Nations tournament against champions Ireland in Rome on Sunday.

Captain Sergio Parisse had already been ruled out after suffering suspected concussion playing for his club Stade Francais.

Parisse - Italy's 136-cap record appearance-holder - has remained with the squad as they bid to snap a run of 19 straight Six Nations defeats dating back to 2015.

Hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini, capped 101 times, takes the captain's armband for the 17th time.

The 34-year-old is the only remaining member of the Italy team that claimed their sole victory in 19 games against the Irish -- a 22-15 win in Rome on March 16, 2013.

TEAMS

Italy to play Ireland

Andrea Lovotti, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Simone Ferrari, Federico Ruzza, Dean Budd, Jimmy Tuivaiti, Maxime Mbanda, Braam Steyn Tito Tebaldi, Tommaso Allan, Angelo Esposito, Luca Morisi, Michele Campagnaro, Edoardo Padovani, Jayden Hayward. Reserves: Luca Bigi, Cherif Traore, Tiziano Pasquali, David Sisi, Alessandro Zanni, Guglielmo Palazzani, Ian McKinley, Tommasso Castello

Ireland to play Italy

Dave Kilcoyne, Sean Cronin, Tadhg Furlong, Ultan Dillane, Quinn Roux, Peter O’Mahony, Sean O’Brien, Jordi Murphy, Conor Muray, Jonathan Sexton, Jacob Stockdale, Bundee Aki, Chris Farrell, Keith Earls, Rob Kearney. Reserves: Niall Scannell, Jack McGrath, John Ryan, Iain Henderson, Josh van der Flier, John Cooney, Jack Carty, Andrew Conway