All you need to know ahead of Guinness Six Nations Round 4

Gael Fickou celebrates scoring a try with Antoine Dupont 26/2/2022
Round 4 of the Guinness Six Nations is nailed on to be filled with drama and action, and with it, comes plenty of possible permutations.

Round 4 of the Guinness Six Nations is nailed on to be filled with drama and action, and with it, comes plenty of possible permutations.

The action all begins on Friday night, as unbeaten France visit The Principality Stadium looking to make it four wins from four and go one step closer to a first Grand Slam title since 2010, while Wales are looking for their second win of the Championship after defeat to England last time out.

On Saturday, Italy host Scotland looking for their first win of the Championship, with the visitors looking to get back on track themselves after consecutive defeats against Wales and France respectively.

And finally, England host Ireland in a massive match for both sides, as they both try to keep the pressure on France for the Guinness Six Nations title.

Ahead of such a busy and exciting weekend here is all you need to know.

FRIDAY: Wales v France, Principality Stadium, KO 8PM (GMT)

The opening game of Round 4 of the 2022 Guinness Six Nations is the only Friday night game of the 2022 Championship and it promises to be a big one.

France remain on course for the Grand Slam and would be within touching distance of a first Championship title since 2010 should they win in Cardiff.

Wales have an excellent record over France, not losing in Cardiff for a decade from 2010 until 2020, but that defeat at Principality Stadium two years ago, paired with the last gasp win in Paris 12 months ago, will have given Fabien Galthié’s men a whole lot of confidence coming into this one.

Les Blues appear to be on a roll, winning all three matches in the Autumn Nations Series, including against New Zealand and they head to Cardiff as strong favourites.

Wales make four changes to the starting XV, with Jonathan Davies starting at inside centre, replacing Nick Tompkins, who is following the return to play protocol after suffering a head knock playing for Saracens against Leicester Tigers last weekend.

Gareth Thomas comes into the side at loosehead prop, with Seb Davies and Josh Navidi coming into the back row to replace Ross Moriarty and Taine Basham.

France make just the one change, as Gabin Villière comes into the starting XV after his fractured sinus ruled him out against Scotland, with Damian Penaud now out injured himself.

Wales: 15 Liam Willams, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Owen Watkin, 12 Jonathan Davies, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Tomos Williams; 1 Gareth Thomas, 2 Ryan Elias, 3 Tomas Francis, 4 Will Rowlands, 5 Adam Beard, 6 Seb Davies, 7 Josh Navidi, 8 Taulupe Faletau

Replacements: 16 Dewi Lake, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Ross Moriarty 20 Jac Morgan 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Gareth Anscombe, 23 Louis Rees-Zammit

France: 15 Melvyn Jaminet, 14 Yoram Moefana, 13 Gaël Fickou, 12 Jonathan Danty, 11 Gabin Villière 10 Romain Ntamack, 9 Antoine Dupont; 1 Cyril Baille, 2 Julien Marchand, 3 Uini Atonio, 4 Cameron Woki, 5 Paul Willemse, 6 François Cros, 7 Anthony Jelonch, 8 Gregory Alldritt

Replacements: 16 Peato Mauvaka, 17 Jean-Baptiste Gros, 18 Mohamed Haouas, 19 Thibaud Flament, 20 Dylan Cretin, 21 Maxime Lucu, 21 Thomas Ramos, 23 Matthis Lebel

SATURDAY: Italy v Scotland, Stadio Olimpico, KO 2:15PM (GMT)

Italy will be parading their centurions around before this match and they will be hoping that will inspire them to a first victory in the 2022 Championship.

It will also be the first time the winner will receive the Cuttitta Trophy, after Massimo Cuttitta, the former Italian captain and Scotland scum coach, who sadly died last year from Covid-19.

They come into this match off the back off three defeats, while Scotland themselves are looking to get back on track, having suffered defeats to Wales and France after that impressive Calcutta Cup win over England in Round 1.

Italy have a good record against Scotland in Rome, winning in 2010 and 2012, while in 2014, Scotland claimed a one-point win and in 2018 won 29-27 in a classic.

This should be a close match with a lot at stake the addition of the Cuttitta Trophy only adds to the intrigue.

Gli Azzuri have made two changes from their defeat to Ireland in Round 3, with Giacomo Nicotera making his international debut at hooker, after Gianmarco Lucchesi’s dislocated elbow in Dublin.

Callum Braley also steps into the scrum-half jersey in place of Stephen Varney, who is ruled out for the rest of the Championship.

Scotland have made five changes from their side that were beaten by France in Edinburgh a fortnight ago.

Matt Fagerson and Hamish Watson come into the back row, while George Turner comes into hooker for Stuart McInally.

In the backs, Kyle Steyn makes his first start in the Guinness Six Nations, replacing the banned Duhan van der Merwe and Sam Johnson comes in for Sione Tuipulotu.

Italy: 15 Edoardo Padovani 14 Pierre Bruno, 13 Juan Ignacio Brex 12 Leonardo Marin 11 Monty Ioane, 10 Paolo Garbisi, 9 Callum Braley; 1 Danilo Fischetti, 2 Giacomo Nicotera, 3 Pietro Ceccarelli, 4 Nicolo Cannone, 5 Federico Ruzza, 6 Giovanni Pettinelli, 7 Michele Lamaro (c), 8 Toa HalafihiReplacements: 16 Luca Bigi, 17 Ivan Nemer, 18 Giosue Zilocchi, 19 David Sisi, 20 Manuel Zuliani, 21 Alessandro Fusco, 22 Marco Zanon, 23. Ange CapuozzoScotland: 15 Stuart Hogg (c), 14 Darcy Graham, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Kyle Steyn, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ali Price; 1 Pierre Schoeman, 2 George Turner, 3 Zander Fagerson, 4 Sam Skinner, 5 Grant Gilchrist, 6 Rory Darge, 7 Hamish Watson, 8 Matt FagersonReplacements: 16 Stuart McInally, 17 Allan Dell, 18 WP Nel, 19 Jamie Hodgson, 20 Magnus Bradbury, 21 Ben Vellacott, 22 Adam Hastings, 23 Sione Tuipulotu


The winner of this clash will still be in with a chance of the title next week, the loser won’t, it’s as simple as that.

Should the home side manage to keep their recent Twickenham form alive and edge Andy Farrell’s men, then we will have essentially a straight shoot-out for the title in Paris next weekend.

Defeat to Scotland in the opening round of the Championship put England under pressure straight away, but they responded with victories over Italy and Wales to get their Championship back on track.

While Ireland fell in Paris, they scored big wins in Dublin either side against Wales and Italy.

England won the last battle at Twickenham 24-12 in February 2020, and also put in an eye-catching performance in 2019 in the Irish capital, but the hosts will have fond memories of Twickenham from their 2018 title triumph, when they blew England away with a stunning first half performance, sealing the Grand Slam with a 24-15 win.

England have made three changes from the side that beat Wales, with Jamie George coming in for the injured Luke Cowan-Dickie, while Sam Simmonds comes into the side to replace Alex Dombrandt at number eight and Joe Marchant starts at 13 in place of Elliot Daly.

Ireland have made six changes from the team that beat Italy, with Johnny Sexton returning to the side as captain.