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An exciting 2023 Six Nations comes to a close with three games back to back on Saturday. The first clash sees third placed Scotland welcome bottom of the table Italy to Murrayfield. Although Scotland can not win the Six Nations, there is still a possibility that they can finish as high as second. For Italy, they must win to open up the possibility of lifting themselves to a fifth placed finish.
There was a huge buzz around Scotland after they defeated England at Twickenham and then Wales in Edinburgh over the first two rounds. The Triple Crown was being talked about with even whispers of a Grand Slam also! However, successive defeats to France and Ireland mean that Scotland are out of the running for the Six Nations ahead of this game. And with star players, Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg out with injuries, this could be a very tough afternoon for the hosts.
Italy have been one of the most entertaining sides of the tournament, but only have losses to show for their efforts. They will need to show a new pragmatic approach in this game if they are to pick up an end of season win for the second season running.
These odds from Ladbrokes were correct at the time of writing.
Scotland vs Ireland – Match Prediction
Let’s take a closer look at our two recommended bets for Scotland vs Ireland below.
Italy to Win @ 11/2 (6.50)
We can understand the raised eyebrows after seeing this tip but listen in. Scotland are without their two best players, Stuart Hogg and Finn Russell, the latter who has scored 32 points in this campaign, the second highest of any player in the tournament. Italy have given France and Ireland a scare or two in their matches and we think they are good value at the above price to cause an upset in Edinburgh.
First Tryscorer Hugh Jones @ 9/1 (10.00)
The 29 year old back, who plays his domestic rugby for Glasgow Warriors, has scored the most tries (four) across all teams in the 2023 Six Nations. Italy’s defence is rarely tight and we expect Jones to take advantage early in the game.
Scotland vs Italy Preview
The coaches of both sides have announced there will be four changes to their starting teams ahead of this Round 5 fixture.Scotland
Not even the best rugby union teams in the world would be able to lose Stuart Hogg and Finn Russell from their XV without seeing a drop in performance. Ollie Smith, Blair Kinghorn, Sam Skinner and Hamish Watson all come into the team for this match.
Scotland XV: 15 Ollie Smith, 14 Kyle Steyn, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Sione Tuipulotu, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Blair Kinghorn, 9 Ben White, 1 Pierre Schoeman, 2 George Turner, 3 Zander Fagerson, 4 Sam Skinner, 5 Jonny Gray, 6 Jamie Ritchie (c), 7 Hamish Watson, 8 Jack Dempsey
The four new faces in the Italy team are Simone Gesi, Alessandro Fusco, Marco Riccioni and Edoardo Iachizzi. Head coach Kieran Crowley will be hoping that these changes will inspire Italy to a final round away win in the same way that they beat Wales in Cardiff last year.
Italy XV: 15 Tommy Allan, 14 Pierre Bruno, 13 Juan Ignacio Brex, 12 Tomasso Menoncello, 11 Simone Gesi, 10 Paolo Garbisi, 9 Alessandro Fusco, 1 Danilo Fischetti, 2 Giacomo Nicotera, 3 Marco Riccioni, 4 Edoardo Iachizzi, 5 Federico Ruzza, 6 Sebastian Negri, 7 Michele Lamaro (c), 8 Lorenzo Cannone
Scotland vs Italy Head to Head
Although Scotland are the team who Italy have their strongest Six Nations record against, the hosts come into this match looking for their 12th successive victory in this fixture. Italy last beat Scotland in 2015 and trail in the head to head 26-8.
Scotland vs Italy Match Details
- Date and time: Saturday 18th of March at 12:30 GMT.
- Venue: Murrayfield, Edinburgh, Scotland
- How to watch Scotland vs Ireland Six Nations in the UK: BBC.