A packed weekend awaits as the Six Nations and Super Rugby overlap for the first time this year, while there is also domestic action to keep an eye on.
Round 3 of the Six Nations is headlined by France’s trip to Dublin, with both teams hoping to keep their title hopes alive, while Scotland are hoping to defeat Wales for the first time in a decade.
With another weekend of Six Nations upon us, why not check out our latest betting preview for our friends at Betsafe.
Elsewhere in Super Rugby there’s an inriguing trans-Tasman clash between the Crusaders and Brumbies, while last season’s finalists the Hurricanes and Lions get their campaigns underway against the Sunwolves and Cheetahs respectively.
Preview: Laidlaw’s leadership, and more importantly his kicking game, are sure to be missed at Murrayfield this weekend.
Prediction: Vern Cotter may have been able to turn the tide of Scotland’s depressing history against Wales if he had a healthy crop of players to pick from. Unfortunately for the Scots, only Rob Howley has that privilege. Expect his side to bounce back. Wales by seven.
Preview: After two rounds of matches both sides have already suffered a loss and know that another defeat will ruin their chances of winning the championship. So, with the stakes being so high, something’s got to give this weekend.
Prediction: Although France have shown great improvement, it will be difficult to get the better of Ireland in their own backyard. Ireland to win by six.
England v Italy
Preview: At the moment England are favourites to retain their crown and a win this weekend would a remarkable 16th in a row, 15 under Eddie Jones.
Prediction: Italy will be looking to keep the scoreboard as tight as possible but that will only last so long. England to pull away by 35.
Prediction: Such a tough start for the Sunwolves with the Hurricanes expected to carry on from where they left off. Having never faced a New Zealand outfit before, the Sunwolves will learn a lot, but the lesson might be painful. Hurricanes by 30.
Prediction: It’s now eight years since the Brumbies last chalked up a win over the Crusaders, and heading into Christchurch this weekend it seems as though that wait is set to continue. Expect the Crusaders’ young back to shine while the pack get the job done upfront. Crusaders by 18!
Prediction: The Force will be competitive but the hosts have too much firepower and will take the spoils. Waratahs to win by eight points.
Prediction: This should be a cracking game as both sides employ expansive game-plans and don’t be surprised if it goes down to the wire. Homeground advantage will be crucial so we’re backing the Cheetahs to win by three points!
Prediction: The Kings should be a much stronger outfit but the experience and momentum of the Jaguares should be too much for them. Jaguares by 15.
Prediction: The North-South derby is always a titanic clash and expect a nail-biter, but the Stormers should take it at home. Stormers by four.
Harlequins v Leicester Tigers: Tigers by 8
Saracens v Sale Sharks: Saracens by 9
Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons: Exeter by 9
Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors: Saints by 5
Bristol v Bath: Bath by 10
Wasps v Gloucester: Wasps by 12
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues: Edinburgh by 3
Newport Gwent Dragons v Leinster: Leinster by 12
Munster v Scarlets: Munster by 9
Treviso v Connacht: Connacht by 14
Zebre v Ulster: Ulster by 20
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors: Ospreys by 10