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Six Nations 2020 permutations: Who can still win the title on Super Saturday?

Will Macpherson
·3-min read
Thrilling finale: There is plenty at stake on the final day of a delayed 2020 Six Nations (AFP via Getty Images)
Thrilling finale: There is plenty at stake on the final day of a delayed 2020 Six Nations (AFP via Getty Images)

The Six Nations will name their teams for Super Saturday over the next 24 hours.

This has been a tournament like no other, taking nine full months to complete - beginning on February 1 and ending on October 31.

There are still three teams that can take the title and plenty of permutations, so here is how each team is shaping up...

The contenders

Table-toppers Ireland are without the injured Garry Ringrose. That is a blow to their pursuit of a four-try victory in Paris, where Ireland - who are beginning to evolve under Andy Farrell - head with their destiny in their own hands after thrashing Italy.

They will take the field knowing exactly what they need to do, because England v Italy will have finished. Secure that bonus-point win and the title is theirs.

England name their team for Rome tomorrow and Eddie Jones’s side is the biggest mystery of the weekend for a couple of reasons. First, they are the only team not to have played a game this campaign due to the cancellation of the Barbarians fixture, so are coming in cold after nine months out.

Secondly, they are missing a raft of regulars, particularly in the backs, where they are without George Ford, Manu Tuilagi and Elliot Daly. Back-up scrum-half Willi Heinz also misses out with a leg injury, leading to a call-up for Northampton's Alex Mitchell.

It will be a test of England and the Premiership’s huge depth. Jones has nine debutants in his squad and several of them can expect game-time, at least from the bench. They should be strong enough to get the bonus point they need to keep themselves in the hunt.

Do not rule out France. They need to match England’s result, then better their points difference by just three to take the title.

Ireland's destiny is in their own hands after a 50-17 win over Italy in Dublin last weekendAP
Ireland's destiny is in their own hands after a 50-17 win over Italy in Dublin last weekendAP

France’s improvement under Shaun Edwards this year has been the most heartening sight of the Championship, even if Mohamed Haouas’s red card against Scotland ended their Grand Slam hopes and derailed their title chase.

Antoine Dupont is in spectacular form in their young, exciting backline. Discipline remains a problem but Bernard Le Roux is somehow off the hook, despite appearing to drop his forearm into Alun Wyn Jones’s face in the win over Wales on Saturday. Teddy Thomas will miss the Ireland game with injury.

The rest

Scotland and Wales meet in Saturday’s opener in Llanelli, and they arrive with their confidence levels very different.

Scotland beat Georgia well on Friday, with Finn Russell being reintegrated off the bench after his tiff with Gregor Townsend this year.

Could Russell start this week? Scotland would look a tasty side if he did. A third win would make this an excellent campaign for them.

Finn Russell's return following a fall-out with head coach Gregor Townsend is a major boost for ScotlandAFP via Getty Images
Finn Russell's return following a fall-out with head coach Gregor Townsend is a major boost for ScotlandAFP via Getty Images

Wales are desperate to end their losing run of four matches and to give Jones a fitting celebration of his 148th cap (he is set to become Test rugby’s most-capped player, overtaking Richie McCaw).

They are struggling to balance keeping the solid foundations of the Warren Gatland era with playing a more expansive game under Wayne Pivac. Rhys Webb is a doubt with a knee injury.

Italy shipped 50 points against Ireland and will be desperately trying to prevent hungry but undercooked England doing the same in Rome.

Coverage in association with QBE Insurance. QBE Insurance helps businesses build resilience through risk management and insurance. For more information go to QBEEUROPE.COM

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