It's D-day for the 2014 Six Nations tournament, with three matches left and the title still up for grabs.
Ireland will travel to Paris with a chance to make history and a victory over the French squad would all but guarantee the Irish team the trophy. But Les Bleus have only lost to Ireland on home soil once since 1972, and they'll be looking to continue that run as the title is still a mathematical possibility.
England will travel to Rome to take on Italy and will need to score a lot of points if they wish to keep matters in their own hands. A more realistic scenario involves an English win coupled with a loss from Ireland to give the young English team a surprise Six Nations championship.
Wales will host Scotland in a battle for bragging rights, as both teams have been eliminated from championship contention.
France vs. Ireland
Much has been made of Ireland's terrible run on French soil, with the squad only managing a single victory over the hosts since 1972.
The last Irish win at the Stade de France came in March of 2000, when the now-retiring Brian O'Driscoll scored a hat-trick of tries in an epic match that lives on in the memories of Irish fans.
As shared by TAB Sport, the Irish centre is hoping to use the emotional baggage of that moment and his final match in the Irish shirt to drive his team to victory:
History may not be on the side of Ireland, as France have won 55 out of a possible 91 Test matches since 1909, according to ESPN Scrum, but Oddschecker has the Irish squad at 5/6 (54.55 percent) to beat France, with the French squad currently sporting 5/4 (44.44 percent) odds to emerge victorious.
Wales vs. Scotland
The hosts are currently on a six-game win streak over Scotland and have won 67 matches out of a possible 118 dating back to 1883. According to The Western Mail's Simon Thomas, the team is very much looking forward to continuing that run:
As reported by The Sport Review, Wales are looking to change things up as the team will be introducing six new players to the squad that lost to England at Twickenham, perhaps opening the door for Scotland to take advantage of a new Welsh lineup and come away with the win.
Oddschecker has Scotland at 13/2 (13.33 percent), with the Welsh favoured at 1/7 (87.5 percent).
Italy vs. England
England are heavy favourites against the winless Italians, having never lost to the hosts in 19 matches.
The visitors chase leaders Ireland on point differential and will be looking to score early and often in Rome, and The Telegraph's Will Greenwood thinks the team shouldn't be afraid to believe they could hang as many as 50 points on the Italians:
This is why I love Italy. I want them to do well. I respect their players and their coaches for what they have achieved and what they can go on to achieve.
And yet, if I was an England player, I would put all that aside and dream big.
Not least because there is a real weakness in Italy’s game; they concede tries in the second half of a match and, most importantly, in the third quarter.
In those crucial 20 minutes, Italy’s defence has more holes than a spaghetti drainer. In this Six Nations, they have conceded 14 tries, the most by any nation (the second most is Scotland on eight).
England stood up last week both on and off the pitch, so why not go a step further? Why not see if you can throw a cat among the Irish pigeons.
Winning by more than 50 points would truly be a remarkable feat for the English squad, but at 1/25 (96.15 percent), the odds to win are definitely in their favour. Italy come in at an even 20/1 (4.76 percent).
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