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

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
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Top 14
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne vs MontpellierClermont Auvergne vs Montpellier Preview
Saturday , August 30
La Rochelle vs Toulouse14:45
Castres vs Bayonne18:30
Lyon vs Brive18:30
Grenoble vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Oyonnax vs Stade Francais18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulon20:45
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Friday , August 29
Pumas vs SharksPumas vs Sharks Preview
Saturday , August 30
Griquas vs Cheetahs15:00
Blue Bulls vs Western Province17:05
Eastern Province Kings vs Lions19:10
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Friday , August 29
Wellington vs ManawatuWellington vs Manawatu Preview
Saturday , August 30
Counties Manukau vs Hawkes Bay14:35
Southland vs Otago17:35
North Harbour vs Waikato19:35
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Taranaki vs Bay Of Plenty14:35
Auckland vs Tasman16:35
Wednesday, September 3
Manawatu vs Bay Of Plenty19:35
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FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury 48 - 3 NorthlandCanterbury vs Northland Report
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato 17 - 46 TaranakiWaikato vs Taranaki Report
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu 7 - 35 AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Report
Bay Of Plenty 27 - 56 TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Report
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Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand 51 - 20 AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Report
Argentina 31 - 33 South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Report
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Top 14
Brive 6 - 21 Clermont AuvergneBrive vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Bayonne 38 - 12 Oyonnax
Bordeaux-Begles 30 - 21 Racing Metro Paris
Stade Francais 23 - 20 Lyon
Toulon 60 - 19 La Rochelle
Montpellier 20 - 17 GrenobleMontpellier vs Grenoble Report
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Currie Cup
Blue Bulls 30 - 25 Eastern Province KingsBlue Bulls vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Western Province 27 - 14 LionsWestern Province vs Lions Report
Sharks 19 - 16 CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Report
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ITM Cup
Northland 35 - 5 WellingtonNorthland vs Wellington Report
Counties Manukau 29 - 25 OtagoCounties Manukau vs Otago Report
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Friday , August 22
Toulouse 35 - 6 CastresToulouse vs Castres Report
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Pumas 33 - 15 GriquasPumas vs Griquas Report
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Waikato 27 - 58 CanterburyWaikato vs Canterbury Report
Hawkes Bay 29 - 26 TaranakiHawkes Bay vs Taranaki Report
Thursday , August 21
North Harbour 21 - 25 Southland
Sunday , August 17
Tasman 35 - 15 Hawkes BayTasman vs Hawkes Bay Report
Northland 23 - 28 Manawatu
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Saturday , August 16
Australia 12 - 12 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
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