Tissot ambassador Willie John McBride looks forward to round three

Round three of the Guinness Six Nations is almost upon us – and what a fantastic fixture list we have to take in.

Round three of the Guinness Six Nations is almost upon us – and what a fantastic fixture list we have to take in.

The weekend begins in Paris, where Scotland are looking to end 20 years of hurt against a France side itching to set the record straight after their defeat in Le Crunch.

Saturday night then sees the clash of the two remaining unbeaten sides in Cardiff as Eddie Jones’ England take on Warren Gatland’s Wales.

And then on Sunday, Joe Schmidt’s defending champions Ireland are in Rome to take on a resurgent Italy.

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 three, former Ireland and British & Irish Lions captain and Willie John McBride has cast his eye over all three encounters.

France might appear to be in a bit of a mess after that loss to England but France at home is always a very tough game.

In my day, it was probably the toughest because they had a superb side.

Their level might have dipped somewhat since then but you can be sure that Scotland are not going to have it easy in Paris this weekend.

Wales should have lost there in Round One, and just look at last year when Ireland won the Grand Slam – it took a heroic drop goal at the death from Johnny Sexton to get the win over Les Bleus.

But Scotland are a difficult team to beat nowadays. Ireland had to work very hard last weekend to see them off.

They have improved a great deal under Gregor Townsend, and while it has been 20 years since they last won in Paris, I fancy them to steal this one.

To be honest, it is very difficult not to see England winning this one.

Firstly, Wales and Warren Gatland would be the first to admit they have been anything but outstanding so far this Championship.

How they won that game in Paris in the first week, I will never know. And I’m not sure they do either!

Then, against Italy, they changed quite a few players and again struggled to hit the heights.

Contrast that with England who are flying at the moment and it is hard to see an area where Wales are stronger than their rivals.

Eddie Jones has got the squad depth, the scrum, the lineout, the kicking game, the defence – they are strong everywhere and I think they will go to Cardiff and win again on Saturday night.

From an Irish perspective, I hope that we can bounce back to the level that we were at last year.

We knew that it was going to be difficult to repeat a year like we had in 2018, winning a Grand Slam and beating every southern hemisphere team.

The England defeat was pretty tough to take but against Scotland in Round Two, we showed that we are returning to somewhere near that level.

We are not there yet though. There is still a way to go and this weekend against Italy is a good chance to continue that rise.

I am sure we will be too strong for Italy this weekend and that should keep us in with a chance of defending the Championship – at least for another week.