Six Nations Fixtures 2014: Prediction and Preview Ahead of Crucial Round 4 Games

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Six Nations Fixtures 2014: Prediction and Preview Ahead of Crucial Round 4 Games
Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

The most exciting Six Nations Championship in many years continues this weekend as Round 4 of the fight for the title commences. 

Four teams lead at the top of the table on four points, as Ireland, England, Wales and France sit bunched together.

There is no Friday night game on this occasion, with two matches on Saturday and one on Sunday.

Italy travel to Dublin to face Ireland, while Saturday also boasts a war of attrition between France and Scotland. Sunday's game is the big showdown, as Wales cross the Severn Bridge to tackle a buoyant England team.

Here are the full fixture details and current standings in the championship, as well as a preview of each match:

Six Nations Rugby Championship Fixtures Round 4
Fixture Date Time (GMT) TV Info
Ireland vs. Italy March 8 2:30 p.m. BBC One
Scotland vs. France March 8 5 p.m. BBC One
England vs. Wales March 9 3 p.m. BBC One

BBC Sport

Six Nations Rugby Championship Table
Team Played Won Drawn Lost For Against Points
Ireland 3 2 0 1 64 22 4
England 3 2 0 1 57 36 4
Wales 3 2 0 1 53 47 4
France 3 2 0 1 62 61 4
Scotland 3 1 0 2 27 68 2
Italy 3 0 0 3 45 74 0

BBC Sport

 

Ireland vs. Italy

Paolo Giovannini/Associated Press

Ireland will be looking to banish their disappointment after recently falling to England at Twickenham by just three points.

The Italians are the perfect opponents for them at this time as they look to maintain their position at the top of the Six Nations table. With four teams tied at the top, points difference will become vital once the final matches are played.

The Italians have been beaten in all three of their contests, losing last time out in Rome to Scotland in the dying seconds of the game. They will offer little opposition to a dominant and powerful Irish team, as the squad in green look to further their chances of championship glory.

If the Italian side can get quickly to the ball, they might be able to retain some territory, but it will eventually be in vain. The Ireland pack is far too strong and experienced and will crush the team that looks destined for the ignominy of the Wooden Spoon.

It will be a comfortable day for Ireland as they look forward to a tougher match in the Parisian backyard of the French next. 

Prediction: Ireland win, 30-7

 

Scotland vs. France

Thibault Camus/Associated Press

Despite their poor showing during this championship, Scotland could be the spanner in the French works.

The Scots finally recorded a win in the last round when they defeated Italy, and they will be looking to shock a France team that have true title aspirations.

France have looked vulnerable at times and shocking on other occasions. They were dismantled by a rejuvenated Wales team in the last round and almost fell at the knees of a youthful English lineup, which pushed them all the way in Paris.

Scotland have the desire to beat a team as good as the French, but the joint leaders would need to have yet another poor day at the office for that to occur.

Their flair should see off a dogged host side, and they will leave Les Bleus just one game from possibly winning this year's Six Nations title. Surely that motivation alone will see the French haul themselves over the line.

Prediction: France win, 20-10

 

England vs. Wales

Alastair Grant/Associated Press

It has become one of the glamour ties of world rugby, as a Welsh team that have found their motivation take on an in-form England side at Twickenham.

Round 3 could have been the end of Wales' campaign when they faced France in Cardiff, but they found their old groove and played with passion and power. Led by their front five, they destroyed France and put themselves back in the mix to retain their title.

England have been the surprise package in some respects, playing a more open brand of rugby than predicted with their outstanding young talent.

Their chance of winning this year's championship bodes well for the 2015 World Cup, and a victory over Wales would see them travel to Italy with a shot at a points fest and the opportunity to become champions.

England offer Wales a different type of hurdle than that of France from Round 3, and you can bet that the English vitality will have a bearing on the result of this match. The hosts' energy at the breakdown will likely see Wales struggle for as much territory as they enjoyed at the Millennium Stadium.

Nevertheless, Wales have taken England to task previously, and that could well happen again. The Mirror's rugby union correspondent Alex Spink tweeted how England international Tom Wood believes England's thirst for victory could go against them, after Wales destroyed them last season:

The experience of the champions should see them through in a tight contest. England will run them close, but Wales will take a huge leap forward on Sunday afternoon.

The match could go either way, but the Welsh will reign supreme. 

Prediction: Wales win, 13-10

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