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Six Nations Round 3 preview: Scotland face tough France trip

After winning both of their opening Six Nations matches, Scotland face a test of their title credentials when they travel to the Stade de France on Sunday to take on reigning champions France.

The Scots are second in the table heading into round three, level on points with leaders Ireland and only narrowly behind in the standings on points difference. 

A victory in France would be a huge moment for Gregor Townsend's side and it would keep their hopes of a first Six Nations title alive, something they are 9/2 to achieve in the To Win Outright market.  

Before that contest in Saint-Denis, Ireland will bid for another bonus-point victory when they take on Italy, who have lost both of their games but sit fifth in the table on one point, at the Stadio Olimpico at 14:15. 

In the 16:45 clash, England will aim to build from their first victory under head coach Steve Borthwick when they head to rock-bottom Wales, who appear to be in disarray.

Ireland to keep Grand Slam dreams alive

WhatItaly v Ireland
WhereStadio Olimpico, Rome
When14:15, Saturday 25th February
How to watchITV
OddsItaly 14/1, Tie 50/1, Ireland 1/50

Ireland have, so far, reaffirmed their position as the number one ranked side in the world with a 34-10 victory over Wales followed by a 32-19 triumph over France. 

Andy Farrell's side boast the best attack and defence in the tournament, scoring 66 points and conceding just 29, and they head to Rome looking to extend their winning run against Italy to 13 matches. 

The Irish did suffer a surprise 22-15 loss to the Azzurri in Rome back in 2013 - one of just four wins for Italy against Ireland - so Farrell will be wary his side don't lose concentration on Saturday. 

Leinster wing James Lowe has been a huge threat for Ireland and he is worth considering in the Anytime Tryscorer market. 

Last year's clash saw Ireland cruise to a 57-6 victory after Italy were reduced to 13 men inside the opening quarter in Dublin. It is 8/13 for there to be a yellow card in the game and 7/2 for a red card.

England to pile the misery on Wales

WhatWales v England
WhereMillennium Stadium, Cardiff
When16:45, Saturday 25th February
How to watchBBC
OddsWales 21/10, Tie 22/1, England 10/23

It has been a miserable time for Welsh fans over the past year with just two victories picked up since the beginning of the 2022 Six Nations, and that terrible run of form resulted in the sacking of Wayne Pivac in December last year. 

His predecessor Warren Gatland was brought back into the hot-seat but his return is yet to have the desired effect, with a 34-10 loss to Ireland followed by a 35-7 thrashing at the hands of Scotland. 

The Welsh are yet to put a point on the board, leaving them bottom of the table and 6/4 To Finish Bottom, and the off-field issues that nearly resulted in Saturday's contest being postponed have added to the woes.  

There doesn't seem to be a good feeling in the squad right now and even Gatland said he wished he had known the problems going on with Welsh rugby before taking the job again. 

All of this leads to what could be another miserable result against visiting England, who still have some work to do despite beating Italy 31-14 at Twickenham last time out. 

Borthwick's men opted for power in the forwards for the majority of the clash and domination at scrums and lineouts, and a similar approach could be adopted in Cardiff. 

The Red Rose still look a little lost when attacking, as they opted for little kicks through when in good positions, but it will take time for them to adapt to the methods of new head coach Borthwick. 

Still, the fact Wales have only scored 17 points and conceded 69 suggests England will get ample opportunities, and backing the visitors with a -8 Handicap at 11/10 in Alternative Handicap 2-Way looks like the way to go. 

First real test for Scotland

WhatFrance v Scotland
WhereStade de France, Saint-Denis
When15:00, Sunday 26th February
How to watchITV
OddsFrance 2/7, Tie 25/1, Scotland 3/1

Having started off with back-to-back victories over England and Wales, Scotland are brimming with confidence and they will fancy their chances of triumphing at the Stade de France for the second time in a row. 

The Scots pulled off a superb 27-23 victory in Saint-Denis in 2021 but France did gain revenge the following year when winning 36-17 at Murrayfield and Sunday's meeting promises to be an entertaining one. 

Les Bleus still have arguably the world's best player at scrum-half, Antoine Dupont, while centre Gael Fickou and fly-half Romain Ntamack boast huge quality. 

Scotland also have their attacking weapons and fly-half Finn Russell has been receiving huge accolades, while Stuart Hogg at full-back and Duhan van der Merwe on the wing add to the options at Townsend's disposal. 

This promises to be a high-scoring affair and the 4/5 available on 39 To 59 in Total Points 3-Way (Range) is very appealing, especially given the fact that three of the last four meetings have seen this bet land.

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