Women’s Six Nations: The state of play heading into Round 4

After last weekend’s break from Women’s Six Nations action, the players return refreshed and ready to go for three big games in Round 4.

After last weekend’s break from Women’s Six Nations action, the players return refreshed and ready to go for three big games in Round 4.

With just two games left for each side, the final standings are beginning to take shape and we have a look at the current state of play.   SHOWDOWN IN GRENOBLE

In terms of determining who will be crowned Women’s Six Nations champions on March 16, this Saturday’s clash between France and England is decisive.

These two sides lead the way, with three bonus-point wins apiece from their opening three games.

England are in front on points difference, but a victory for either side would put them in the perfect position to go on and lift the 2018 Championship.

Jessy Trémoulière was the standout performer with 22 points as France eased past Italy last time out, running in eight tries and winning 57-0.

Les Bleues have conceded just three points in the Championship so far and another mean defensive display will be crucial against defending champions England.

The Red Roses enjoyed a 43-8 triumph over Scotland in Glasgow in Round 3, with Charlotte Pearce and Danielle Waterman scoring two tries each.

England will be looking to add to the 22 tries they have scored in the Championship so far.   IRELAND LOOKING TO PUSH ON AGAINST SCOTLAND

Following their Round 1 defeat to France, Ireland have enjoyed back-to-back wins, over Italy and Wales.

A third successive victory, against Scotland in Dublin, would keep the Irish in touching distance of the top two.

Ireland pulled away from Wales in Round 3 to win 35-12, with Claire Molloy scoring twice and Sene Naoupu putting in an excellent performance.

Scotland, meanwhile, will be looking for their first win of the Championship, after a one-point loss to Wales in Round 1 and subsequent defeats against France and England.

Scotland matched the Red Roses in the first 20 minutes of their Round 3 defeat at Scotstoun, before the visitors pulled away.

A victory in Dublin might ease the pressure on the Scots ahead of their trip to Italy in Round 5.   WALES HOPING TO BOUNCE BACK

Wales will be looking to return to winning ways after successive Women’s Six Nations defeats, to England and Ireland.

The Welsh began their campaign with a battling 18-17 triumph over Scotland and will be targeting Saturday’s visit of Italy to earn their second win of the Championship.

Second-half tries from Amy Evans and Sioned Harries gave Wales a foothold against Ireland in Round 3, before the home side pulled away.

Italy have suffered three defeats so far and will be desperate to secure a first win of the 2018 Championship.

They came up against an excellent French side last time out, but will be hoping to find a way past Wales in Round 4 in their quest for a first point.