Tissot ambassador Scott Hastings looks ahead to Round Four

INPHO_02 Sco vs Irl 1987
Round Four of the Championship is almost upon us and it is still all to play for in a thrilling 2019 Guinness Six Nations.

Round Four of the Championship is almost upon us and it is still all to play for in a thrilling 2019 Guinness Six Nations.

Scotland host unbeaten Wales on Saturday before England look to bounce back against Italy at Twickenham.

And on Sunday, defending champions Ireland welcome a resurgent France to the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

TISSOT, the Official Timekeeper of the Guinness Six Nations, has invited some rugby experts and legends to share their views on the games and the teams throughout the Championship.

And ahead of Round Four, former Scotland centre Scott Hastings has cast his eye over all three encounters.

What a Championship it has been so far, every game has had its twist and turns and I am confident there are still more to come.

Wales are deservedly out in front at the moment, a superbly well-coached side who – as Warren Gatland has been saying – have forgotten how to lose.

My #TopMoment of the Championship so far is undoubtedly Alun Wyn Jones’ enormous celebration at the final whistle in Cardiff after beating England.

There is a guy who has played over 130 Tests in his stellar career, celebrating like that was his first one ever! It sums up this Championship and what is means to play this game we love.

Let’s hope for more of the same in Round Four:

Wales laid down a marker for this Championship with their remarkable fightback in Paris on the opening night.

They have been rolling ever since, and in sport momentum is just so important.

They are playing with real unity and belief and it will be a massive test for Scotland this weekend at BT Murrayfield.

Gregor Townsend’s side have hardly fired a shot this year and, in marked contrast to their opponents this weekend, the cracks were exposed as early as week one when they leaked those three tries in the final quarter against Italy.

We can all look at the injuries, Stuart Hogg and Finn Russell are obviously important but there have been a number of other experienced players in the team that really haven’t hit their straps.

At the start of the Championship I had marked down Scotland for three home wins, they can’t get that now but if they can find some momentum I still think they can beat Wales.

It will be an upset of the formbook and I am sure my heart is ruling my head a bit, but I think Scotland can do it this weekend.

If they come out and play the type of rugby that we know they can, I bet it comes down to the final five minutes.

I’ve already said that there is still a sting in the tail of this Championship, and I hope it comes in Scotland on Saturday…

England set this Championship alight in Round One with their win in Dublin.

And the coaching against France, the way they peppered that left-hand channel, was a masterclass.

They are a very difficult team to stop on a roll but the defeat in Round Three has certainly slowed the chariot.

Eddie Jones will hope that the loss to Wales is only a blip, and he will task his team to come out and put Italy to the sword.

But Conor O’Shea is a very clever coach and they have proven under him that they improve over the course of a Championship.

On this occasion, I think England are a bit more wary of what Italy can do than when they were taken a bit by surprise in 2017.

The Azzurri can make life difficult for teams but ultimately I think that the English power game, with Owen Farrell pulling the strings, and the threat of Jonny May in the outside channels will be too much and I fully expect them to deliver at home again.

They will be hurting big time from the loss in Cardiff and want to finish it off strongly.

They are still very much in contention for the whole thing, they know full well that that a big win will stand them in good stead for the final game against Scotland where the Championship may still be up for grabs.

It has been an early spring with this unseasonably mild weather and I think France have been showing the green shoots of recovery.

I thought they were tremendous in the opening half of their opening game against Wales.

That obviously gets a bit forgotten after the fatal errors that followed in the second half and in Le Crunch, but they really did put Scotland to the sword in Round Three as well.

Their power game caught my eye and they will head to Dublin with a little bit of confidence.

When I look back to my own playing career, you just cannot underestimate what a win means to a team.

With one under their belt now, Les Bleus can go to Dublin with a real attitude and produce a real performance.

It’s not beyond the realms of possibility to get a win at a place where they have had plenty of success before.

It’s hard to know what to make of Ireland right now. Have they been found out and lost their unity and fluidity a bit? I think it’s far too early to write them off.

Teams have to adapt to what is front of them and they have managed to secure two away wins in Edinburgh and Rome which is no mean feat.

Now they are back at home, keen to put on a show for their fans after the England loss, and that could be the key in the end.