This weekend’s sport landscape is dominated by Six Nations rugby, as England’s record-breaking squad march ever onward. Italy are expected to provide little resistance, so coach Eddie Jones may look to shuffle his deck and give some of his lesser-used players a runout.
Ben Te’o will make his first start for the Red Rose in Sunday’s clash. Te’o, 30, has won five caps as a replacement, but has been named at outside centre for the meeting with the Azzurri. Elsewhere among the backs, Danny Care will partner George Ford at half-back, with Owen Farrell at inside centre and Elliot Daly on the wing.
Murrayfield hosts an intriguing matchup between a resurgent Scotland side and Wales on Saturday afternoon. The reverse fixture produced a narrow 27-23 win for the Welsh last year, but Scotland’s hopes of gaining revenge have been dealt a blow with news that Greig Laidlaw, their captain and instrumental scrum-half, is injured for the remainder of the tournament.
The remaining fixture of round three sees France travel to the Aviva Stadium to take on an Ireland side who ran up 63 points against Italy last time out. Neither team can afford a defeat by more than seven points if they are to remain in contention for the 2017 title, but Ireland’s impervious home form makes them strong favourites to claim the win.
Sunday sees football’s first showpiece event of the season as Manchester United and Southampton compete in the EFL Cup Final at Wembley. The Saints defence has been watertight en route to their first major final in 14 years, having not conceded a single goal in a run that saw them eliminate Arsenal and Liverpool among others.
United’s manager Jose Mourinho has an enviable record in cup finals. The ‘Special One’ has won 10 out of 12 cup finals since 2003 – a feat which has seen him pick up silverware at Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid. An interesting note is that six of those 12 finals have gone to extra time, so perhaps it wouldn’t be a surprise to see this game end with a penalty shoot-out.
Premier League leaders Chelsea welcome Swansea to Stamford bridge in a fixture that the West Londoners are expected to take all three points. But the Welsh side have shown their mettle in recent weeks by winning three of their last four games including a stunning 3-2 victory over Liverpool so Antonio Conte’s men will have to be fully-focused to avoid slipping up.