The second round of the 2024 Six Nations Championship promises enthralling rugby action across three intriguing test matches. On Saturday 10th February, Scotland will host France at Murrayfield Stadium while England face Wales at Twickenham. The round culminates on Sunday 11th February with Ireland taking on Italy at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
These long-standing rivalries are sure to produce thrilling contests with plenty of passion on display. Scotland will be seeking revenge after narrowly losing to France last year, while the England-Wales clash is steeped in history and guaranteed to be fiercely competitive. Ireland will be strong favorites to overcome Italy, but the Azzurri are a team on the rise capable of causing an upset.
With the table still wide open after just one round, the results of this weekend could set the tone for the rest of the tournament. Expect high stakes drama and top-tier rugby across the three Guinness Six Nations matches.
Scotland v France
Scotland will host France at the Scottish Gas Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh on Saturday 10th February during the second round of the 2024 Six Nations Championship.
France held off a Scotland fightback to earn a 32-21 bonus-point victory during the 2023 Championship.
Scotland and France have played each other on 102 occasions since their first meeting in 1910. France have won 59 of those matches, whilst Scotland have won 40 matches. There have also been three drawn matches between the two nations.
England v Wales
England will face Wales at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday 10th February during the second round of the 2024 Six Nations Championship. One of the fiercest and oldest rivalries in the competition, this match is sure to produce an epic contest.
England scored three tries as they battled to a 20-10 victory over Wales during the 2023 Championship.
England and Wales have contested a total of 141 rugby test matches since their first meeting in 1881. England have won 68 of those matches, whilst Wales have won 61 matches. There have also been 12 drawn matches between the two nations.
Ireland v Italy
Ireland will take on Italy at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Sunday 11th February during the second round of the 2024 Six Nations Championship. Kick-off is at 3:00pm and the match will be televised live on ITV in the UK and Virgin Media in the Republic of Ireland.
In their previous meeting during the 2023 Championship, Ireland were made to work hard for their 34-20 victory over Italy at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. Despite racing into a 17-3 lead after 30 minutes courtesy of tries from Mack Hansen and Bundee Aki, the Italians fought back through a score from winger Pierre Bruno. Further tries from Ireland’s Robert Baloucoune and Conor Murray made the result safe, although the Italians were aggrieved to have a late effort chalked off for a forward pass.
The two nations have faced each other on 36 occasions since their first meeting in 1988. Ireland have a dominant 32-4 head-to-head record over Italy, including 29 wins from the last 30 matches between the sides. Italy’s sole victory came in the 2013 Championship when they beat Ireland 22-15 on home soil. The Italians will arrive in Dublin hoping to repeat that rare feat.
Scotland Players to Watch
Stuart Hogg – The 31-year-old fullback is a veteran presence for Scotland. With over 90 caps for his country, Hogg provides leadership and experience in the backline. A threatening runner with the ball in hand, he’ll look to breach the French defense.
Hamish Watson – The dynamic 33-year-old openside flanker has been a mainstay in the Scotland team for years. Watson is superb over the ball at the breakdown and also poses a threat around the fringes with his quick feet. He’ll aim to slow down France’s possession.
Duhan van der Merwe – At 28 years old, van der Merwe is one of the most dangerous wings in world rugby. With his massive frame and rapid pace, he steamrolls through defenses. Scotland will look to get the ball wide early to unleash van der Merwe against the French.
France Players to Watch
Antoine Dupont (Scrum-half) – The reigning World Rugby Men’s 15s Player of the Year, Dupont is simply world class. His vision, speed and ability to create opportunities make him the focal point of France’s attack. Already with 40 caps at just 26 years old, expect Dupont to control the tempo of the match.
Romain Ntamack (Fly-half) – Pairing up with Dupont, the 23-year-old Ntamack has already established himself as France’s first-choice fly-half. His playmaking skills, kicking accuracy and ability to spot gaps in opposition defenses make him a key player. Ntamack will be tasked with getting the dangerous French backline firing.
Gregory Alldritt (No.8) – The powerful La Rochelle No.8 has been in outstanding form recently. Alldritt’s strength over the ball at the breakdown and his explosive running make him a force to be reckoned with. His battle with the Scotland back row could decide this match.
England Players to Watch
Marcus Smith (Fly-half)
Marcus Smith has established himself as England’s first-choice fly-half under head coach Steve Borthwick. The 24-year-old playmaker is a dynamic attacking threat, with quick feet, vision, and an ability to unlock defenses. Smith was instrumental in England’s Six Nations victory last year, scoring 44 points. He will be key to getting England’s dangerous backline firing.
Maro Itoje (Lock)
Maro Itoje is a world-class lock who makes his presence felt all over the pitch. Excellent in the lineout and a force at the breakdown, Itoje is disruptive on defense and carries strongly on attack. His leadership and work rate are invaluable to England. Still only 28, Itoje is already one of the most influential players in world rugby.
Freddie Steward (Fullback)
Freddie Steward has been a revelation for England since making his debut in 2021. The tall, athletic fullback has been lauded for his rock-solid defense and aerial prowess. With ball in hand, Steward breaks the line with power and has the pace to finish tries from halfway. The 22-year-old is already an integral part of England’s back three despite his young age.
Wales Players to Watch
Louis Rees-Zammit burst onto the international scene during the 2021 Six Nations. The electric winger has continued his rapid rise over the past few years, cementing his place as one of the most dangerous finishers in the game. With blistering pace and evasive footwork, Rees-Zammit has scored 19 tries in just 36 Test appearances for Wales. He will be a major threat in Wales’ backline during the 2024 tournament.
The veteran George North will add significant experience and physicality to the Wales backline. Since making his international debut as an 18-year-old in 2010, North has amassed 109 caps for his country while scoring 46 tries. His combination of size, strength and speed makes him incredibly difficult to defend against. Now in the latter years of his career, North remains a world-class operator who leads by example.
Dynamic scrum-half Tomos Williams has emerged as the first-choice No. 9 for Wales in recent seasons. An excellent running threat, Williams also provides quick service from the base of the ruck and clever kicking tactics. His fast-paced game suits the Welsh attacking style of play. Williams’ sharp passing and sniping around the fringes will be integral to Wales’ hopes of unlocking the England defense.
Ireland Players to Watch
Johnny Sexton (Fly Half)
At 38 years old, many thought Sexton was set to retire following the 2023 Championship, but the veteran playmaker remains a key figure in Ireland’s backline. His game management and composure is unrivaled and he remains one of the best kickers and distributors in the game. Sexton will look to get his dangerous backline firing early.
Tadhg Furlong (Prop)
A world class tighthead prop who is the cornerstone of Ireland’s formidable scrum. Furlong’s power in the contact area and skill at the breakdown is impressive for a front rower. He always puts in a huge defensive shift as well. One of the first names on head coach Andy Farrell’s teamsheet.
Hugo Keenan (Fullback)
The 26 year old fullback provides a reassuring presence at the back for Ireland. He is rock solid under the high ball and his kicking game has improved this season. Expect his trademark mean streak in defence. If he gets room to move in attack he can cut any defence open with his pace.
Italy Players to Watch
Michele Campagnaro has been a stalwart in the Italy midfield since making his international debut in 2014. The powerful center has scored 9 tries in 53 test appearances for the Azzurri. His strength and footwork make him a handful for opposition defenses. Campagnaro’s experience and leadership will be crucial if Italy are to spring an upset.
Scrum-half Stephen Varney has been instrumental since becoming eligible for Italy in 2020. The 21-year-old, who plays his club rugby for Gloucester, has added speed, dynamism and crisp passing to the Azzurri attack. Varney’s sharp delivery from the base of the ruck will be key to unleashing the Italian backline.
Flanker Sebastian Negri has become a vital performer for Italy thanks to his work rate and physicality. The 28-year-old is a tireless ball carrier who always fights for the extra yard. His ability to dent opposition defenses will be important if Italy are to make inroads up front. Negri’s prowess at the breakdown could also win some crucial turnovers.Sources Six Nations Guide