It’s the first of two fallow weekends in this year’s Six Nations Championship and rugby fans will have to wait one more week before the competition resumes for Round 3.
Thankfully there is an action-packed weekend of rugby regardless with the onset of the new Super Rugby season beginning this weekend in the South African conference – The Stormers host the Jaguares at Newlands before Super Rugby runners-up the Lions welcome the Sharks to Johannesburg.
Of course, there is also a full weekend of Guinness PRO14 and Aviva Premiership fixtures to get your teeth stuck into and there is plenty of international talent on display in the teams competing.
Many players have been released by their national sides to play for their clubs this weekend despite many getting minutes in the 6 Nations over the past two weekends:
George North and Josh Adams start for the Northampton Saints and Worcester Warriors, respectively, with both clubs in action on Saturday afternoon. James Davies and Justin Tipuric have both been released also and they line out for the Scarlets and the Ospreys this weekend.
George Kruis, Zach Mercer and Nick Isiekwe are all involved for their clubs in the Aviva Premiership this weekend while Manu Tuilagi will feature for the Leicester Tigers as they host Harlequins at Welford Road, a good performance from him there and he could well be in the reckoning for the Calcutta Cup clash at Murrayfield next weekend.
Alec Hepburn and Luke Cowan-Dickie return for the Exeter Chiefs while apprentices Marcus Smith and Gabriel Ibitoye will be involved for Harlequins as well as Kyle Sinckler.
Jordan Larmour who got a real taste of international rugby when he made his debut in the second half of Ireland’s win over Italy, starts for Leinster this weekend as they host the Scarlets at the RDS. Jordi Murphy and Luke McGrath also start that clash for Leo Cullen’s side while Rory Scannell starts for Munster.
Rob Herring goes straight into the starting line-up for Ulster as they host Edinburgh in Belfast.
Cornell Du Preez and John Hardie both start for Edinburgh in their clash with Ulster while there is good news for Gregor Townsend as WP Nel and Zander Ferguson both took part in training for Scotland today. Tim Swinson is also back for the Glasgow Warriors which will be good news for Townsend and the rest of his coaching staff.
It’s been a turbulent week for France after a number of players were removed from the squad for breaking curfew in Edinburgh. Baptiste Serin will play for Bordeaux this weekend after coming off the bench in the last two games for France while Hugo Bonneval and Baptiste Couilloud will be involved for Toulon and Lyon, respectively.
It’s been a disappointing opening two weekends for Italy as they fell to two heavy defeats to England and Ireland. Zebre welcome back Fly-half Carlo Canna, flanker Maxime Mbandà and hooker Oliviero Fabiani who all played against Ireland for their trip to Galway to take on Connacht while Giulio Bisegni, George Biagi and Renato Giammarioli will also feature for the Italian franchise.
Read More About: Six Nations 2018