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Has it really been two weeks since everyone was talking about the
Italian confusing tactics against England. Since Scotland got that big
win over Wales and Ireland kept alive their title hunt with the
dominant performance over France. The drama kicks off again here the
night in Cardiff, welcome to Inside Six Nations.
Welcome to Friday night rugby here in Cardiff.
We are under the roof of the principality Stadium, the music is
arm and Friday night vibe is just getting started. Ireland know only a
win will do to give themselves the best chance of lifting this trophy
again. I am joined by former Irish captain, Keith Wood who will be
lending his expertise. Before we speak to you, thank you for coming
to talk to us, let's look at some of the highlights from week three
including those Italian confusing tactics that had England so rattled.
The first home appearance of the championship for Ireland. Try given.
Ireland when the one tried. Their title challenge is still alive.
Scotland at home against Wales. Two Leigh Halfpenny. Lee Williams, first
try of the game. Scotland make it under Lee Groves.
The middle weekend of the six Nations championship of 2017. We
both know what the exact rule is. An extraordinary first half and an
extraordinary Italian performance. Italy take the lead. England are
going to finish in style. England have played three and they have won
three. What around it was. This round, round four, possibly the most
pivotal weekend of the tournament so far. Before we get into the
nitty-gritty, let's look ahead and have a look at the table as it
stands. England, the only team left unbeaten in the tournament. Ireland,
who play tonight against Wales in second on ten points. Scotland, who
go to Twickenham for the Calcutta Cup tomorrow, in third on nine
points. England know if results and bonus points go their way, they
could wrap up the six Nations title in Twickenham at Twickenham Surrey,
again Scotland tomorrow. The Scots haven't won there in 34 years. It
could be a title deciding weekend. We will see how this result goes
between Wales and Ireland at the principality stadium. Standing
patiently on the sidelines is the former Ireland captain, Keith Wood.
Let's look back at some of the highlights from week three. What did
you make of the controversy about Italian tactics, refusing to form
the offside line up the breakdown, causing the confusion and rattling
England? No controversy, it was tactically very strong and very
astute. It upset England because they didn't know what to do. They
should know what to do. All the teams around at the moment would
know it is an option. It is never used to the fall extent that Italy
used it. I thought England came off badly out of it. Did you think they
sounded unsportsmanlike, Eddie Jones saying it wasn't rugby? It was a bit
sour, but he was standing up for his team, his team struggled on the
field. Ultimately, it didn't work out but it could have been closer if
they had put over a few more kicks, Italy. I don't want to see it every
week, I don't think we need to change the rules on it, but it was a
great opposing question for the Six Nations. What about Scotland, the
amazing win over Wales, they go to Twickenham for the Calcutta Cup
tomorrow resurgent and possibly in with a chance of causing an upset? I
have been going to Murrayfield for the last ten years and Scotland
haven't had a great period of time. But in the last two years it is
better and better. They beat Ireland by being the better team on the
field and they beat Wales by blowing them away in the second half. Wales
will be disturbed and upset by the lack of energy in the second half.
But Scotland are riding on the crest of a wave. I don't know if it is
enough to go to Twickenham and Brake 34 years of grief. England have won
all their matches, but they haven't sparked yet. Let's have a look at
how the home nations teams have been preparing for this weekend. Starting
here in Cardiff where we have spent the week with team Wales. Interim
head coach Rob Howley has made a total of zero changes to the side
that lost to Scotland. There was some speculation that the Lupe Fala
Tower, fit after recovering from injury will be brought in. But Ross
Moriarty keeps his place alongside Justin Tipuric and Sam Warburton in
the back row. Luke Charteris also tipped to be brought into the site,
but he remains on the bench. International rugby is about winning
rugby. This game is no different to the game last Saturday, and England
a week before. Every international game is about winning. For me, that
is the same consistent message to our players. It is win or bust for
Ireland against Wales, anything less and a victory could signal the end
of their hopes of securing a third Six Nations title in four years.
They are three points behind England, who they will face next
weekend, which could be a championship decider. They have
named an unchanged starting 15 for the clash in Cardiff where they are
expecting an intimidating atmosphere. Regardless of the roof
being closed, it will be really loud. It is probably one of the best
stadiums to play in because the atmosphere is electric. If you feel
you are shouting at your fellow players during a normal game, you
have to scream at each other because it will be hard to each other. Eddie
Jones will have thought long and hard before putting the league and a
polar straight back in, but he has been named on a powerful looking
bench. The likes of Billy and Mako Vunipola and Benatia will be
unleashed on Scotland in the final quarter. It looks like England's
strongest 23 in this championship. Have they been riding their luck so
far in the Six Nations, or are they due a big performance to set up the
Grand Slam showdown in Dublin next weekend. We will just concentrate on
ourselves. We have had a great two week preparation, fantastic week at
Oxford. We have had two good days of training here. We are looking
forward to playing in the historic Calcutta Cup. Scotland haven't won
here at Twickenham since 1983. In fact, they have only one in four
matches here. In pursuit of a fifth victory, stands by the team that
beat Wales with one exception. Hamish Watson comes into the injured
John Hardy. They have a formula that is working very well. Coming on and
finishing games of in the last ten minutes. It is something we are
aware of and I think they will comfortably move through the gears
as the game goes on and we have to stay with them. We are about an hour
and a half away from kick-off in the first of the fixtures in what is
likely to be a pivotal weekend of Six Nations rugby. Keith Wood,
Wales, Ireland here at the principality stadium on a Friday
night, always a fantastic fixture. Do you think Ireland will win this
one? I know you have a bit of bias, but will they do enough to cling on
to the championship dreams? This is a great crowd, the friendliest of
the lot. Ireland have no fear coming here. If Ireland can get a few
points on the board early, they will have a comfortable win. Maybe it is
too much of a bias, but I've never want to give a sucker an even break.
Wales are struggling at the moment and if they get a bit of confidence
up, they will be hard to beat. England, the favourite to win the
men's title. Similar in the women's as well.
When you have waited seven years for a Six Nations win, it is worth
celebrating. In means the world to every single one of us. We have
worked so hard for it. Blood, sweat and tears. We have bonded and gelled
as a team. It goes on from here. Scotland had been facing a familiar
feeling of defeat, falling behind the Wales. But Rhona Lloyd put them
within touching distance. 12/14 down in the final minutes, it fell to
Sarah Law to kick for victory. She slotted home. The wind, by a single
point, but they will take it. Ireland kept their 100% record
intact. Grinding out a win over the defending champions, France. England
had it easy against the Italians, running in five tries. Vicky
Fleetwood scored a hat-trick to get the winning bonus point. Thanks to
the superior points difference, England top the table above Ireland.
If they both win this weekend, it comes down to a Grand Slam decider
between them on St Patrick's Day in Dublin.
So the first match for the women this weekend see Wales
host Ireland tomorrow morning just next door at Cardiff Arms Park
with England against Scotland at the Stoop tomorrow afternoon.
Highlights of all the women's matches are on Sunday on BBC Two
with some regional variations so check your listings.
To the men, Wales against Ireland tonight of course
Tomorrow at half one, Italy host France and then
England against Scotland, the Calcutta Cup, kicks off at
four, coverage of that one on Radio Five Live and highlights
of all the fourth round matches again on BBC Two on Sunday night.
There is always something special about rugby on a Friday night,
especially here in Wales. Wales have posted six out of the seven Friday
night fixtures and they are always pretty fiery affairs. Let's hope for
another one tonight. Thanks for watching. Goodbye.