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Guinness Six Nations teams: Round 3

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Guinness Six Nations teams: Round 3

Paolo Garbisi

The countdown to the resumption of the 2021 Guinness Six Nations is almost over, with Round 3 promising plenty of thrills and spills throughout two mouth-watering match-ups on Saturday afternoon.

Following the first rest week of this year’s Championship, Italy and Ireland kick things off in the early fixture, with both sides yearning for a victory in Rome to kick-start their respective campaigns.

Then, 2019 Grand Slam winners Wales will look to extend their perfect start to proceedings so far this year when they entertain defending champions England, who will be itching to stay in touch with their hosts towards the top of the ranks with a win.

With each nation striving for Guinness Six Nations glory, here’s how this weekend’s four contesting teams will line up from the start.

Italy v Ireland, Stadio Olimpico, KO 2:15pm (GMT) Saturday 

Italy boss Franco Smith has named an unchanged starting XV ahead of their home clash against Ireland, following 41-18 defeat to England in Round 2.

Italy: 15. Jacopo Trulla, 14. Luca Sperandio, 13. Juan Ignacio Brex, 12. Carlo Canna, 11. Montanna Ioane, 10. Paolo Garbisi, 9. Stephen Varney; 1. Andrea Lovotti, 2. Luca Bigi (c), 3. Marco Riccioni, 4. Marco Lazzaroni, 5. David Sisi, 6. Sebastian Negri, 7. Johan Meyer, 8. Michele Lamaro

Replacements: 16. Gianmarco Lucchesi, 17. Cherif Traore, 18. Giosuè Zilocchi, 19. Niccolò Cannone, 20. Maxime Mbanda, 21. Callum Braley, 22. Federico Mori, 23 Mattia Bellini

Johnny Sexton returns to captain Ireland as one of seven changes made by head coach Andy Farrell, with Jordan Larmour, Dave Kilcoyne, Ronan Kelleher, Tadhg Furlong, James Ryan and Will Connors also being drafted in.

Ireland: 15. Hugo Keenan, 14. Jordan Larmour, 13. Garry Ringrose, 12. Robbie Henshaw, 11. James Lowe, 10. Jonathan Sexton (c), 9. Jamison Gibson Park; 1. Dave Kilcoyne, 2. Ronan Kelleher, 3. Tadhg Furlong, 4. Iain Henderson, 5. James Ryan, 6. Tadhg Beirne, 7. Will Connors, 8. CJ Stander

Replacements: 16. Rob Herring, 17. Cian Healy, 18. Andrew Porter, 19. Ryan Baird, 20. Jack Conan, 21. Craig Casey, 22. Billy Burns, 23. Keith Earls

Wales v England, Principality Stadium, KO 4:45pm (GMT) Saturday 

George North will become the youngest player in history to reach 100 Test caps for his country after coming back into the Wales side as one of five changes for the match-up against England, while Jonathan Davies, Kieran Hardy, Josh Adams and Josh Navidi are also in from the get-go.

Wales: 15. Liam Williams, 14. Louis Rees-Zammit, 13. George North, 12. Jonathan Davies, 11. Josh Adams, 10. Dan Biggar, 9. Kieran Hardy; 1. Wyn Jones, 2. Ken Owens, 3. Tomas Francis, 4. Adam Beard, 5. Alun Wyn Jones (c), 6. Josh Navidi, 7. Justin Tipuric, 8. Taulupe Faletau

Replacements: 16. Elliot Dee, 17. Rhodri Jones, 18. Leon Brown, 19. Cory Hill, 20. James Botham, 21. Gareth Davies, 22. Callum Sheedy, 23. Willis Halaholo

Jamie George and Mark Wilson return to the starting line-up as Eddie Jones makes two changes to his England team for the trip to Cardiff.

England: 15. Elliot Daly, 14. Anthony Watson, 13. Henry Slade, 12. Owen Farrell (c), 11. Jonny May, 10. George Ford, 9. Ben Youngs; 1. Mako Vunipola, 2. Jamie George, 3. Kyle Sinckler, 4. Maro Itoje, 5. Jonny Hill, 6. Mark Wilson, 7. Tom Curry, 8. Billy Vunipola

Replacements: 16. Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17. Ellis Genge, 18. Will Stuart, 19. Charlie Ewels, 20. George Martin, 21. Ben Earl, 22. Dan Robson, 23. Max Malins