Thursday, April 05, 2007

Six Nations championship weekend preview

March 16, 2007

The Six Nations tournaments wraps up Saturday with the three final matches and everything to play for. Rugby Planet has their last-minute previews up. Here are the excerpted details (click on links to view complete previews):

Italy vs. Ireland at Stadio Flaminio, Rome.

Italy: 15 Roland De Marigny, 14 Kaine Robertson, 13 Ezio Galon, 12 Mirco Bergamasco, 11 Matteo Pratichetti, 10 Ramiro Pez, 9 Alessandro Troncon, 8 Sergio Parisse, 7 Maurizio Zaffiri, 6 Alessandro Zanni, 5 Marco Bortolami, 4 Santiago Dellapè, 3 Carlos Nieto, 2 Carlo Festuccia, 1 Salvatore Perugini. Replacements: 16 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 17 Fabio Staibano, 18 Valerio Bernabò, 19 Josh Sole, 20 Paul Griffen, 21 Andrea Scanavacca, 22 Matteo Barbini.

Ireland: 15 Girvan Dempsey, 14 Shane Horgan, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Denis Hickie, 10 Ronan O'Gara, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Denis Leamy, 7 David Wallace, 6 Simon Easterby, 5 Mick O'Driscoll, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 John Hayes, 2 Rory Best, 1 Marcus Horan or Simon Best. Replacements: 16 Jerry Flannery, 17 Simon Best or Bryan Young, 18 Trevor Hogan 19 Neil Best, 20 Eoin Reddan, 21 Paddy Wallace, 22 Andrew Trimble.

Date: Saturday, March 17
Venue: Stadio Flaminio, Rome
Kick-off: 14:30 local (13:30 UTC/GMT) 09:30 am EDT (New York, Toronto)
Expected weather conditions: Scattered clouds, clearing, with a high of 18°C, dropping to 8°C and a freshening westerly of 14 km/h
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)
Touch judges: Tony Spreadbury (England), Malcolm Changleng (Scotland)
Television match official: David Changleng (Scotland)
Assessor: Steve Hilditch (Ireland)

Rugby Planet prediction: Ireland to win by 15 points.

France vs. Scotland at Stade de France, Paris.
France: 15 Clement Poitrenaud, 14 Vincent Clerc, 13 David Marty, 12 Yannick Jauzion, 11 Cédric Heymans, 10 Lionel Beauxis, 9 Pierre Mignoni, 8 Imanol Harinordoquy, 7 Julien Bonnaire, 6 Serge Betsen, 5 Jerome Thion, 4 Lionel Nallet, 3 Pieter De Villiers, 2 Raphael Ibanez (captain), 1 Olivier Milloud. Replacements: 16 Nicolas Mas, 17 Sebastian Bruno, 18 Pascal Papè, 19 Elvis Vermeulen, 20 Jean-Baptise Elissalde, 21 Damien Traille, 22 Christophe Dominici.

Scotland: 15 Chris Paterson (captain), 14 Sean Lamont, 13 Rob Dewey, 12 Andrew Henderson, 11 Nikki Walker, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Rory Lawson, 8 Johnnie Beattie, 7 Kelly Brown, 6 Simon Taylor, 5 Scott Murray, 4 Nathan Hines, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Gavin Kerr. Replacements: 16 Dougie Hall, 17 Allan Jacobsen, 18 Jim Hamilton, 19 Allister Hogg, 20 Chris Cusiter, 21 Marcus Di Rollo, 22 Rory Lamont.

Date: Saturday, March 17
Time: 16:30 local (15:30 UTC/GMT) 11:30 am EDT (New York, Toronto)
Venue: Stade de France, Paris
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Touch judges: David Courtney (Ireland), Taizo Hirabayashi (Japan)
Television match official: Simon McDowell
Assessor: Michel Lamoulie

Rugby Planet prediction: France to win by 12 points.

Wales vs. England at Millenium Stadium, Cardiff.
Wales: 15 Kevin Morgan, 14 Mark Jones, 13 Tom Shanklin, 12 Gareth Thomas (c), 11 Shane Williams, 10 James Hook, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 Ryan Jones, 7 Martyn Williams, 6 Alix Popham, 5 Alun Wynn Jones, 4 Ian Gough, 3 Chris Horsman, 2 Matthew Rees, 1 Gethin Jenkins. Replacements: 16 Rhys Thomas, 17 Duncan Jones, 18 Adam Jones, 19 Brent Cockbain, 20 Jonathan Thomas, 21 Mike Phillips, 22 Gareth Thomas.

England: 15 Mark Cueto, 14 David Strettle, 13 Mathew Tait, 12 Mike Catt (c), 11 Jason Robinson, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Harry Ellis, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Tom Rees, 6 Joe Worsley, 5 Tom Palmer, 4 Martin Corry, 3 Julian White, 2 George Chuter, 1 Tim Payne. Replacements: 16 Lee Mears, 17 Stuart Turner, 18 Louis Deacon, 19 Magnus Lund, 20 Shaun Perry, 21 Shane Geraghty, 22 Jamie Noon.

Date: Saturday, March 17
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Kick-off: 17:30 local (17:30 UTC/GMT) 01:30 pm EDT (New York, Toronto)
Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)
Touch judges: Alan Lewis (Ireland), Christophe Berdos (France)
Television match official: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assessor: Jim Bailey (Wales)

Rugby Planet prediction: England to win by 12 points.

If Rugby Planet's predictions come true, then France should win the competition by a single point on the tie-breaker (see immediate post below, plus "Calculators at the ready." ). That's how close it is. In fact, even Italy stands a chance to win the comp. Sure, they'd need help ~ France and England would have to lose, and Italy would have to beat Ireland by a cricket score. It begs the question of whether the Six Nations should adopt the "bonus-point" system implemented by SANZAR. The Telegraph's Mick Cleary investigates.

If you're in strife and need to know the results as they happen, check BBC for live audio and score tickers.


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