Planet Rugby

Preview: Women's Six Nations, Round 5

14th March 2013 11:02

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Ashleigh Baxter for Ireland Women

Held: Ashleigh Baxter

Ireland have been crowned maiden Six Nations champions and are looking to secure their first ever Grand Slam victory this weekend in Milan.

As the competition ladder tightens up and we recover from our rugby hangover there is still plenty to play for as we enter the final round.

France will not be happy at the result of their last outing but can be proud knowing they were fearless in their approach and gained some valuable experience in high pressure situations. They will need to use this experience and be completely ruthless, outmuscle and bully Scotland into submission if they are to have any hopes of finishing second on the ladder. They will need to replicate England's 76-0 scoreline to stand a chance.

Scotland on the other hand, whilst remaining winless are really challenging sides this year and if they can retain the majority of this squad, they will definitely be contenders in the years to come. Head coach Karen Findlay will want the team to focus on their basic skills to put in a complete 80 minute performance. If they can do that, they may just pull off one of the possible major upsets of the weekend.

In order to automatically qualify for the Rugby World Cup in 2014, Italy must defeat Ireland and hope that England convincingly beat Wales. Italy, with home ground advantage, will be absolutely pumped for this game after being held scoreless by England in their last outing. The forward pack will need to really contest and challenge at the breakdown. More importantly their defensive patterns will need to be on point if they are to contain Ireland's potent backline.

Ireland will need to remain extremely focused on the task at hand and not let the potential Grand Slam victory become bigger than the game itself. Whilst on the cusp of greatness for their country, they still need to do all the simple, little things right and the results will follow. Already having played in high stakes last weekend, Ireland are sure to be confident they can work hard and grind out to win this game by minimizing their basic handling errors and correcting their line-out at set-piece time.

This will be the game to watch this weekend, depending on which side of the fence you sit. It can be a great day for the Italians to make the upset of the tournament and qualify for the Rugby World Cup or be a part of the green machine in Ireland's first ever Grand Slam victory.

England and Wales are both looking to finish their tournament on a high after both winning their last two Tests. For Wales, they are looking to create the possible upset that will see them qualify for the Rugby World Cup ahead of Italy. Whilst for England, they are now playing for pride as the realisation that they will not be hoisting the Six Nations trophy for the first time in eight years sets in.

With nothing to lose and everything to gain, expect to see some real attacking running rugby in this match. There will be a very open feel as both teams exchange blows and the team that plays down the right end of the field and minimizes their error rate should win on the day. Whilst this all sounds simple, we all know how extremely complex rugby can be - these ladies just make it look effortless.

By Amanda Love

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Sunday , September 21
Newcastle vs NorthamptonNewcastle vs Northampton Preview
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London Welsh vs Gloucester19:45
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Saracens vs Sale15:00
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South Africa vs Australia16:05
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Saturday , September 27
Toulon vs Montpellier18:00
Stade Francais vs La Rochelle18:00
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Friday , September 26
Cheetahs vs Blue Bulls19:10
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Sharks vs Eastern Province Kings14:00
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Sunday , September 21
Otago vs WaikatoOtago vs Waikato Preview
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Saturday , September 20
Sale 46 - 8 London WelshSale vs London Welsh Report
Harlequins 26 - 23 WaspsHarlequins vs Wasps Report
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Bath 45 - 0 LeicesterBath vs Leicester Report
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Newport Gwent D'gons 13 - 33 GlasgowNewport Gwent D
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Racing Metro Paris 27 - 16 ToulouseRacing Metro Paris vs Toulouse Report
Grenoble 24 - 15 Bayonne
Clermont Auvergne 43 - 12 LyonClermont Auvergne vs Lyon Report
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La Rochelle 26 - 29 Bordeaux-Begles
Castres 27 - 18 Oyonnax
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Western Province 36 - 12 GriquasWestern Province vs Griquas Report
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Eastern Province Kings 22 - 37 CheetahsEastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs Report
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Hawkes Bay 36 - 17 Bay Of Plenty
Auckland 32 - 7 North HarbourAuckland vs North Harbour Report
Manawatu 36 - 17 Southland
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Friday , September 19
Gloucester 22 - 25 ExeterGloucester vs Exeter Report
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Munster 31 - 5 ZebreMunster vs Zebre Report
Connacht 10 - 9 LeinsterConnacht vs Leinster Report
Cardiff Blues 9 - 26 UlsterCardiff Blues vs Ulster Report
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Top 14
Brive 13 - 53 ToulonBrive vs Toulon Report
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Lions 29 - 15 Pumas
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Counties Manukau 20 - 28 CanterburyCounties Manukau vs Canterbury Report
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PosTeamPPts
1Bath314
2Saracens313
3Exeter310
4Leicester Tigers39
5Harlequins38