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Six Nations 2024 LIVE: England name Immanuel Feyi-Waboso in starting side plus Ireland and Scotland team news

After almost two weeks off, the fourth round of the 2024 Six Nations is nearly upon us with another enticing trio of matches lined up for the weekend as the championship heads towards its conclusion.

Ireland will look to continue their search for historic consecutive Six Nations grand slams when they take on England at Twickenham. Andy Farrell’s men have been unbeatable in the tournament so far and dominated Wales 31-7 in their last outing.

Meanwhile, Steve Borthwick’s side have something to prove following a 30-21 loss to Scotland in the Calcutta Cup and a headline-grabbing victory over the Irish could be just the thing to get their campaign back on track. Alex Mitchell returns to the side at scrum half and Immanuel Feyi-Waboso is handed a first start on the wing but Marcus Smith is only given a place on the bench.

Italy, fresh off a 13-13 draw with France, host Gregor Townsend’s Scotland who will be thinking about ending their campaign on a high after regaining their momentum against England. Intriguingly, France travel to Wales where Warren Gatland’s young side hope to transfer decent performances into winning results.

Follow below for today’s team announcements and all the latest news ahead of the third round of matches this weekend:

Six Nations news and updates live

  • The Six Nations has reached the penultimate round with three more matches this weekend

  • England take on grand slam-chasing Ireland, Italy host Scotland and Wales face France

  • Immanuel Feyi-Waboso handed first start as Steve Borthwick makes three changes to England side

  • Ireland opt for continuity with Hugo Keenan fit to return at full back

  • Cameron Redpath replaces injured Sione Tuipulotu and George Horne handed rare start for Scotland

  • Louis Lynagh to make Italy debut against Scotland after leaving Harlequins

  • George North dropped as Warren Gatland makes big calls for Wales clash with France

It’s been class – Sam Underhill delighted to be back as main man for England

16:31 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Sam Underhill is savouring his England revival having feared his international career might already be over.

Underhill is poised to win his 34th cap in Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations clash with Ireland at Twickenham after returning to favour under Steve Borthwick – a comeback he views as a personal triumph.

Still only 27, the big-hitting Bath flanker missed 20 successive Tests from the second match of the 2022 tour to Australia because of a combination of concussion and selection.

But a sliding doors moment arrived when Jack Willis sustained a neck injury in last autumn’s World Cup and Underhill was propelled straight into the back row for the bronze final against Argentina.

A defensive masterclass consisting of 24 tackles resulted in the man of the match award and now that he has played four consecutive Tests, he grants himself a moment of recognition.

It’s been class – Sam Underhill delighted to be back as main man for England

Centre Huw Jones: I was ‘tempted’ by move to France before committing to Glasgow

16:15 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Scotland centre Huw Jones revealed he was “tempted” by the prospect of a move to France but he ultimately felt that remaining with buoyant Glasgow was the right decision for his career overall.

The on-form 30-year-old was the subject of recent interest from Top 14 side Montpellier and was also linked with Bayonne.

However, he ended speculation about his future last week by signing a new two-year deal to commit his future to Warriors until 2026.

Jones, whose partner is expecting a baby at the start of April, admitted the prospect of following Scotland colleagues Blair Kinghorn and Ben White to France did hold some appeal.

“I’ve said in the past that I’d be open to a move to France, so, yeah, it was certainly tempting,” he said, speaking from the Scotland camp ahead of Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations match away to Italy.

Centre Huw Jones: I was ‘tempted’ by move to France before committing to Glasgow

Former great Diego Dominguez believes in bright future for Italy

16:00 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Diego Dominguez, Italy’s highest-ever points scorer, played a major role in their Six Nations beginnings and, despite their struggles since, is optimistic for Italian rugby‘s future.

Dominguez scored 983 points and without him Italy may not even be involved in the Six Nations today. He helped Italy to wins over Ireland, Scotland and France in the 90s, which paved the way for their inclusion.

Italy made their Six Nations debut in 2000 against Scotland in Rome, where Dominguez kicked 29 points as they pulled off a surprise 34-20 win.

“It was an extraordinary game, for Italy’s rugby movement, for the team on the field, for the people who watched in the stands,” Dominguez told Reuters.

“We were underdogs and Scotland arrived as champions, but that day they found a very united team, with a lot of character, where many things came easily.”

Things do not come so easily these days. Italy go into Saturday’s game at home to Scotland still without a victory this year, but Dominguez has seen plenty of positives and believes they should have won in France.

A late penalty miss meant the game ended in a 13-13 draw after Paolo Garbisi almost ran out of time when the ball fell from the tee as French players advanced illegally and his kick hit the post.

“They clearly broke the laws which are very clear. It was a young referee, his first Six Nations game, but this was a serious mistake,” Dominguez said.

“It wasn’t just once, they advanced two or three times. The kick wasn’t difficult, but the ball falls, they come in front of him, anyway, Italy deserved to win.

“Next is Scotland, who for me were one of the favourites before the championship started. We’ll have a full stadium in Rome and two very motivated teams.”

Italy were inches away from a famous victory against France (Getty Images)
Italy were inches away from a famous victory against France (Getty Images)

Six Nations round four match officials

15:45 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Italy v Scotland (Saturday 9 March, Rome)

Referee: Angus Gardner (Aus)

ARs: Karl Dickson (Eng) & Adam Leal (Eng)

TMO: Marius van der Westhuizen (SA)

England v Ireland (Saturday 9 March, Twickenham)

Referee: Nika Amashukeli (Geo)

ARs: Andrea Piardi (Ita) & Craig Evans (Wal)

TMO: Ben Whitehouse (Wal)

Wales v France (Sunday 10 March, Cardiff)

Referee: Luke Pearce (Eng)

ARs: Andrew Brace (Ire) & Damian Schneider (Arg)

TMO: Ian Tempest (Eng)

Six Nations referees: Who are the match officials for the tournament?

Steve Borthwick: ‘Ireland are the best team in the world'

15:30 , Harry Latham-Coyle

“Ireland are the best team in the world,” Steve Borthwick said earlier. “They might not have won the World Cup, but they are the best team in the world. Their attack is probably the best in the world. We are going to be really tested there and I’m looking forward to seeing our defence go against that test.

“We’ve forced teams to make a lot of errors, and we’ve started to capitalise on those. But if they are allowed to get into their rhythm, they are a very strong side.”

Rory Best explains exactly how Andy Farrell has taken Ireland to the brink of history

What do Ireland need to win the Six Nations against England this weekend?

15:15 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Ireland could secure successive Six Nations crowns with a game to spare as they travel to Twickenham to take on England in round four this weekend.

Andy Farrell’s side remain unbeaten in this year’s championship and will hope to make history as the first men’s team to secure back-to-back grand slams since the tournament’s expansion to six teams.

After taking on England on Saturday, Ireland host Scotland at the Aviva Stadium on Super Saturday — but the title could be sewn up before then.

What do Ireland need to win the Six Nations against England this weekend?

George Horne handed rare start as Scotland make three changes for Italy clash

15:04 , Luke Baker

Scrum half George Horne has been handed a surprise start for Scotland’s Six Nations showdown with Italy in Rome on Saturday, with Gregor Townsend making three changes to his starting XV.

The 28-year-old Glasgow back has been given the nod to wear the number nine jersey for the first time since the 2019 World Cup. Regular starter Ben White is rested and drops out of the squad altogether, with Ali Price – who has played no part in the tournament – promoted to the bench.

Saracens flanker Andy Christie is handed his first international start in place of Jamie Ritchie, who is among the substitutes.

Bath centre Cameron Redpath made a positive impact off the bench in the 30-21 victory over England and replaces Glasgow’s Sione Tuipulotu, who will miss the remainder of the championship with a knee injury.

Back-rower Matt Fagerson, who dropped out of the 23 altogether for the last match, returns to the bench, with Townsend switching from a 5/3 split to a 6/2.

George Horne handed rare start as Scotland make three changes for Italy clash

More from Steve Borthwick on the England team

15:00 , Harry Latham-Coyle

“Continuity in selection is one very important factor. As we build this team, it is an important factor. We know in the Scotland game that there were errors, and it was the first time in a while I’ve seen the shirt feel heavy on the players. We made some errors and then started playing in a different way. And when you start deviating from the way you want to play, it leads to more errors.

“But I believe in these players, and they are determined to put in a performance this weekend. I’ve sensed determination since that final whistle [at Murrayfield].

“We are trying to make an environment here where the players enjoy it. We know mistakes will be made but we want to keep doing the right thing. I back the players. We are disappointed in the performance and the result, but this is a group that has made enormous progress over the last year. It’s not always helped the team to have lots of changes regularly, and I think this is the right team for this weekend.”

 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

Ireland recall ‘world-class’ Hugo Keenan in only change for England clash

14:46 , Luke Baker

Ireland have recalled “world-class” Hugo Keenan for Saturday’s clash with England but will be without lock James Ryan for the remainder of the Six Nations.

Fit-again full back Keenan replaces Ciaran Frawley in the only change to Andy Farrell’s starting XV after overcoming the knee issue which caused him to miss the 31-7 round-three win over Wales.

Lock Ryan, who has been reduced to a peripheral role during the championship, suffered a “freak” bicep injury in training on Wednesday and will sit out the trip to Twickenham, in addition to next week’s finale against Scotland.

Ireland recall ‘world-class’ Hugo Keenan in only change for England clash

Jamie George on his close mate Danny Care, who is set to win his 100th cap

14:35 , Harry Latham-Coyle

“I’m incredibly proud of him as a mate. We are very close and he’s had to work incredibly hard to get to this milestone. He made his professional debut in 2003! An incredible guy, an amazing player, and he deserves this moment. Hopefully we make it special for him.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Steve Borthwick on England’s selection

14:34 , Harry Latham-Coyle

“Everyone was available for selection. It’s great that Marcus Smith and Alex Mitchell have returned to fitness. Fin Smith took a knock in the Scotland game but trained fully today.

[On Immanuel Feyi-Waboso]: “He was full of gratitude. We see these young players with incredible ability and determination, each time you throw a challenge at them, they seem to relish that challenge. We’ve seen him progress brilliantly and he has earned this opportunity.

“The blend of players is important. Manny came on to the field two weeks ago and had an incredible impact. He is a player who wants the ball.”

Danny Care set to win 100th cap

14:20 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The other headline news from that England selection is that Danny Care is in line to win his 100th cap from the bench, becoming his country’s sixth male centurion. We spoke to him ahead of the Scotland game to find out how he keeps himself going.

Danny Care is not done yet – England’s survivor on Scotland and ‘freedom’

Louis Lynagh to make Italy debut as Azzurri team named to face Scotland

14:20 , Luke Baker

Team news galore now as Italy have named their side to take on Scotland. Louis Lynagh will make his debut on the wing, winning his first cap after recently moving to Benetton from Harlequins.

The son of Australia legend Michael Lynagh was also eligible for the Wallabies and England but has opted to tie his international colours to the Azzurri mast

Immanuel Feyi-Waboso to make first start as England confirm team for Ireland clash

14:12 , Luke Baker

Immanuel Feyi-Waboso will make his first international start as Steve Borthwick makes three changes to the England team to face Ireland.

Exeter wing Feyi-Waboso replaces Elliot Daly in the starting side after making his Test debut against Italy in round one.

The 21-year-old scored his first try for England off the bench against Scotland a fortnight ago and earns promotion, while George Martin is also brought in to beef up the pack, with Ollie Chessum moved to the blindside.

Alex Mitchell returns from injury at scrum half and a fit-again Marcus Smith provides extra quality on the bench.

Immanuel Feyi-Waboso to make first start as England confirm team for Ireland clash

Ireland opt for continuity for England clash

14:06 , Luke Baker

A little bit more on the Ireland team. Ciaran Frawley drops to the bench as Hugo Keenan is fit again, so takes back the No 15 jersey, joining Calvin Nash and James Lowe in the back three.

Robbie Henshaw and Bundee Aki continue in the centres, with no Garry Ringrose in the 23, while Iain Henderson replace the injured James Ryan on the bench as second row cover.

Ireland XV: 15. Hugo Keenan, 14. Calvin Nash, 13. Robbie Henshaw, 12. Bundee Aki, 11. James Lowe, 10. Jack Crowley, 9. Jamison Gibson-Park; 1. Andrew Porter, 2. Dan Sheehan, 3. Tadhg Furlong, 4. Joe McCarthy, 5. Tadhg Beirne, 6. Peter O’Mahony (captain), 7. Josh van der Flier, 8. Caelan Doris

Replacements: 16. Ronan Kelleher, 17. Cian Healy, 18. Finlay Bealham, 19. Iain Henderson, 20. Ryan Baird, 21. Jack Conan, 22. Conor Murray, 23. Ciaran Frawley

Ireland name team to take on England

14:01 , Luke Baker

Double team news time as Ireland’s squad has also dropped.

 (Irish Rugby / Twitter)
(Irish Rugby / Twitter)

Immanuel Feyi-Waboso starts as England confirm team to face Ireland

13:59 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Immanuel Feyi-Waboso will make his first international start with England head coach Steve Borthwick making three changes for the clash with Ireland.

The Exeter wing replaces Elliot Daly in the starting side, with Alex Mitchell fit to return at scrum half.

George Martin is promoted to the starting side to partner Maro Itoje in the second row. Ollie Chessum starts on the blindside.

England XV: 1 Ellis Genge, 2 Jamie George (capt.), 3 Dan Cole; 4 Maro Itoje, 5 George Martin; 6 Ollie Chessum, 7 Sam Underhill, 8 Ben Earl; 9 Alex Mitchell, 10 George Ford; 11 Tommy Freeman, 12 Henry Slade, 13 Ollie Lawrence, 14 Immanuel Feyi-Waboso; 15 George Furbank.

Replacements: 16 Theo Dan, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Will Stuart, 19 Chandler Cunningham-South, 20 Alex Dombrandt; 21 Danny Care, 22 Marcus Smith, 23 Elliot Daly.

England and Ireland preparing to announce teams for Twickenham showdown

13:49 , Luke Baker

Not long now until our next two team announcements this afternoon, with England and Ireland both due to be naming their sides at 2pm. The pair will face off in a Twickenham showdown on Saturday and we’re expecting a couple of changes in the England side with the likes of wing Immanuel Feyi-Waboso, scrum half Alex Mitchell and lock George Martin all pushing to be included in the starting XV.

Huw Jones outlines Italy challenge faced by Scotland

13:37 , Luke Baker

Huw Jones retained his place in the centres for Scotland’s trip to Rome on Saturday, although he will have a new midfield partner with Cam Redpath replacing the injured Sione Tuipulotu.

In an interview with scottishrugby.org, Jones has discussed the championship so far and what to expect from the Azzurri on Saturday as they look to build on a 13-13 draw with France last time out.

Jones said: “They’ve got attacking threat, great shape and they have talented players. I think from that perspective they’re a threat with ball in hand but are also managing games well.

“They are strong tacklers who are good under the ball and at winning turnovers. As a team we’ve previewed them, we know how they play and what their strengths are. We’re going to have to be at our best to beat them over there but it’s a challenge we’re looking forward to”.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

RFU teaming up with Alzheimer’s Society to increase dementia awareness

13:25 , Luke Baker

The RFU has teamed up with the Alzheimer’s Society in a bid to increase awareness of dementia. An Alzheimer’s Society information stand will be located in the Twickenham fan zone on Saturday for England’s Six Nations clash with Ireland as the RFU backs the charity’s Sport United Against Dementia campaign.

Alzheimer’s Society chief executive officer Kate Lee said: “Alzheimer’s Society is proud to be working alongside the RFU to reach supporters who might be worried about dementia, but are unsure where to turn.

“We hope fans will drop into our stand at Twickenham to chat about any of their concerns. Thousands of people are living with undiagnosed dementia, unsure of the symptoms and too afraid to visit a GP. Getting a diagnosis can be daunting, but only then can you unlock the door to potential treatments, care and support.”

One in three people born in the UK today will develop dementia in their lifetime and by 2025 one million will be living with the condition, the charity says.

RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney said: “Dementia impacts so many individuals and their families and we’re pleased to be able to support the vital work of raising awareness, with the many thousands of people in the stadium as well as those watching at home.”

Alzheimer’s Society funds research into whether elite rugby players show more early warning signs of dementia than the general population and, if so, why. The PREVENT:RFC study follows 50 former elite rugby players, including ex-England and forward Leicester Ben Kay, and is part of a wider study involving hundreds of people.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

George Horne handed rare start as Scotland make three changes for Italy clash

13:15 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Scrum half George Horne has been handed a surprise start for Scotland’s Six Nations showdown with Italy in Rome on Saturday, with Gregor Townsend making three changes to his starting XV.

The 28-year-old Glasgow back has been given the nod to wear the number nine jersey for the first time since the 2019 World Cup. Regular starter Ben White is rested and drops out of the squad altogether, with Ali Price – who has played no part in the tournament – promoted to the bench.

Saracens flanker Andy Christie is handed his first international start in place of Jamie Ritchie, who is among the substitutes.

Bath centre Cameron Redpath made a positive impact off the bench in the 30-21 victory over England and replaces Glasgow’s Sione Tuipulotu, who will miss the remainder of the championship with a knee injury.

Back-rower Matt Fagerson, who dropped out of the 23 altogether for the last match, returns to the bench, with Townsend switching from a 5/3 split to a 6/2.

George Horne handed rare start as Scotland make three changes for Italy clash

Rory Best explains qualities that make Jamie George ideal England captain

13:00 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Rory Best and Jamie George hit it off on the 2017 British and Irish Lions tour, with the two hookers escaping the trip to New Zealand as friends - something that the former Ireland captain says is mightily rare.

“It’s quite unusual for hookers to come away from a tour still friendly!” Best told The Independent. “There’s always something, because it is such a combative position. But I took a lot from him on that tour in how to lead people off the pitch.

“He’s a cracking guy and I think he is going to be so important for England for the next few years. They have a lot of good young players but you need this core of people who have been there and done it and are still playing at the top level. Like Maro Itoje, like Jamie, like George Ford, even Dan Cole and Joe Marler – you need that core of players to buy in to what Steve is about and Jamie is going to pivotal to that.”

 (PA Wire)
(PA Wire)

Chandler Cunningham-South pleased to be reaping the rewards after a ‘big step’

12:45 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Chandler Cunningham-South is relishing every minute of the Six Nations maelstrom as he prepares to play a part in England’s daunting clash with back-to-back Grand Slam chasers Ireland at Twickenham on Saturday.

Cunningham-South’s gamble in leaving New Zealand, where he had lived since the age of four, to return to the UK two years ago has paid off handsomely with his ascendancy to the full England squad for the first time this year.

His debut off the bench in the opening win over Italy, and subsequent appearances against both Wales and Scotland, have appeared to make the Harlequins flanker an integral part of head coach Steve Borthwick’s long-term plans.

“It has been a really big step up for me and I think I have done all right,” said Cunningham-South. “I think I am the youngest in the squad and I have been taken under a few people’s wings.

“I like it. Especially when we were up in Edinburgh getting off the bus – all the heckling and yelling. That sort of stuff motivates me and gives me an extra bit of energy.”

Chandler Cunningham-South pleased to be reaping the rewards after a ‘big step’

Wales forward Mackenzie Martin hopes to be a role model for the Ely community

12:30 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Mackenzie Martin hopes he can be a “trailblazer” to inspire young people in Cardiff’s Ely community after making his Wales debut following just nine games of professional rugby.

The 20-year-old featured as a replacement in Wales’ 31-7 Guinness Six Nations defeat against Ireland.

Ely, a western Cardiff suburb, has not always enjoyed positive headlines and was the scene of major riots in 1991 and 2023.

Martin grew up on the estate’s Grand Avenue, and he is the latest sportsman to emerge from an area that can boast a portfolio containing Ryan Giggs, Steve Robinson and his fellow boxer Nicky Piper.

“I hope I can be a trailblazer,” Cardiff back-row forward Martin said. “I hope the kids are going to look up to me.”

Wales forward Mackenzie Martin hopes to be a role model for the Ely community

Women’s Six Nations around the corner...

12:15 , Harry Latham-Coyle

There are just two rounds left in the men’s competition, but the Six Nations fun doesn’t end after next weekend, with an eagerly anticipated Women’s Six Nations arriving in just over a fortnight. England begin life under John Mitchell hot favourites to retain their crown, but all six competing teams showed signs of real encouragement at WXV in the autumn and will hope to test the Red Roses.

Here’s the fixture list:

Gregor Townsend discusses Scotland selection

12:05 , Luke Baker

Some more from Scotland coach on his team selection for Saturday’s clash with Italy. Flanker Andy Christie, scrum half George Horne and centre Cam Redpath all coming into the team.

Scotland have two wins from three in this year’s championship with that controversial loss to France their only defeat, from which they bounced back to impressively down England in the Calcutta Cup last time out.

“Happy-ish,” said Townsend, reflecting on the campaign so far. “You’ve obviously got to be delighted for the team to beat England and retain the Calcutta Cup.

“But in terms of performance, we’re a little bit away from what we know we can deliver. The first 45 minutes against Wales is probably still the best we’ve played.

“We had elements of control throughout much of the France game and for the last 60 minutes of the England game. But there’s still a lot more to come from us.

“We feel Ben [White, dropped scurm half] has played a lot of rugby, he’s only missed one game since October. Going back and forward to Toulon during this period, something’s got to give in terms of a rest at some point, and we feel this week is the best week for him to recharge.

“And also with the form and experience of the two other scrum-halves in our squad who have been training really well. George [Horne] has been on the bench and Ali [Price] has been excellent during this period so we want to give those two an opportunity.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

What are smart mouthguards and how are they being used in the Six Nations?

12:00 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Round two of the Six Nations featured a historic moment as Scotland hooker George Turner became the first player in the championship’s history to be removed after his smart mouthguard detected a collision which could have caused a concussion.

Turner was removed from the pitch during the first half of Scotland’s defeat to France for a head injury assessment after his mouthguard alerted medical staff of a significant head acceleration event after a tackle made on Charles Ollivon. The front rower passed his assessment and returned to the field.

The mouthguards, also known as gumshields, have been incorporated into the existing HIA protocols as another tool designed to support the drive towards better player welfare with a particular focus on brain injuries.

What are smart mouthguards and how are they being used in the Six Nations?

Six Nations 2024: Match officials for this weekend’s fixtures

11:45 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Italy v Scotland (Saturday 9 March, Rome)

Referee: Angus Gardner (Aus)

ARs: Karl Dickson (Eng) & Adam Leal (Eng)

TMO: Marius van der Westhuizen (SA)

England v Ireland (Saturday 9 March, Twickenham)

Referee: Nika Amashukeli (Geo)

ARs: Andrea Piardi (Ita) & Craig Evans (Wal)

TMO: Ben Whitehouse (Wal)

Wales v France (Sunday 10 March, Cardiff)

Referee: Luke Pearce (Eng)

ARs: Andrew Brace (Ire) & Damian Schneider (Arg)

TMO: Ian Tempest (Eng)

Six Nations referees: Who are the match officials for the tournament?

Centre Huw Jones: I was ‘tempted’ by move to France before committing to Glasgow

11:30 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Scotland centre Huw Jones revealed he was “tempted” by the prospect of a move to France but he ultimately felt that remaining with buoyant Glasgow was the right decision for his career overall.

The on-form 30-year-old was the subject of recent interest from Top 14 side Montpellier and was also linked with Bayonne.

However, he ended speculation about his future last week by signing a new two-year deal to commit his future to Warriors until 2026.

Jones, whose partner is expecting a baby at the start of April, admitted the prospect of following Scotland colleagues Blair Kinghorn and Ben White to France did hold some appeal.

“I’ve said in the past that I’d be open to a move to France, so, yeah, it was certainly tempting,” he said, speaking from the Scotland camp ahead of Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations match away to Italy.

Centre Huw Jones: I was ‘tempted’ by move to France before committing to Glasgow

Pete Horne gives insight into Scotland wing Duhan Van Der Merwe’s driven mindset

11:15 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Pete Horne has given an insight into the driven mindset of record-chasing Scotland wing Duhan Van Der Merwe ahead of the Guinness Six Nations showdown with Italy in Rome.

The 28-year-old’s match-defining hat-trick against England a week past Saturday took him to 26 international touchdowns, within one of Stuart Hogg at the top of the Scots’ list of all-time try-scorers.

Van Der Merwe could equal or break the record if he crosses the whitewash at the Stadio Olimpico this weekend.

But assistant coach Horne revealed how the combative wing returned to camp last Thursday – just five days after his Calcutta Cup heroics – and immediately wanted to start working on becoming stronger in contact and not getting turned over as often.

Pete Horne gives insight into Scotland wing Duhan Van Der Merwe’s driven mindset

Six Nations 2024 LIVE: What do Ireland need to win the championship this weekend?

10:55 , Luke Baker

Ireland are on the brink of another Six Nations crown, and could even secure it at Twickenham on Saturday. What do they need? Here’s how things stand:

What do Ireland need to win the Six Nations against England this weekend?

Sam Underhill delighted to be back as main man for England

10:45 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Sam Underhill is savouring his England revival having feared his international career might already be over.

Underhill is poised to win his 34th cap in Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations clash with Ireland at Twickenham after returning to favour under Steve Borthwick – a comeback he views as a personal triumph.

Still only 27, the big-hitting Bath flanker missed 20 successive Tests from the second match of the 2022 tour to Australia because of a combination of concussion and selection.

But a sliding doors moment arrived when Jack Willis sustained a neck injury in last autumn’s World Cup and Underhill was propelled straight into the back row for the bronze final against Argentina.

A defensive masterclass consisting of 24 tackles resulted in the man of the match award and now that he has played four consecutive Tests, he grants himself a moment of recognition.

It’s been class – Sam Underhill delighted to be back as main man for England

George Horne handed rare start as Scotland make three changes for Italy clash

10:38 , Luke Baker

Scrum half George Horne has been handed a surprise start for Scotland’s Six Nations showdown with Italy in Rome on Saturday, with Gregor Townsend making three changes to his starting XV.

The 28-year-old Glasgow back has been given the nod to wear the number nine jersey for the first time since the 2019 World Cup. Regular starter Ben White is rested and drops out of the squad altogether, with Ali Price – who has played no part in the tournament – promoted to the bench.

Saracens flanker Andy Christie is handed his first international start in place of Jamie Ritchie, who is among the substitutes.

Bath centre Cameron Redpath made a positive impact off the bench in the 30-21 victory over England and replaces Glasgow’s Sione Tuipulotu, who will miss the remainder of the championship with a knee injury.

George Horne handed rare start as Scotland make three changes for Italy clash

Immanuel Feyi-Waboso set for first England start against Ireland

10:30 , Harry Latham-Coyle

England will confirm their team to face Ireland at 2pm GMT this afternoon, with Steve Borthwick set to speak to the media at 2.30pm. The Independent understands that young wing Immanuel Feyi-Waboso is set to be included on the wing for a first start at international level, with Elliot Daly dropping out and George Martin due to bolster the starting pack after making his return from injury off the bench against Scotland.

Immanuel Feyi-Waboso made his England debut against Italy (Adam Davy/PA) (PA Wire)
Immanuel Feyi-Waboso made his England debut against Italy (Adam Davy/PA) (PA Wire)

Kevin Sinfield reveals key attribute returning Marcus Smith has brought to England training

10:20 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Fin Smith is a major doubt for England’s clash with Ireland on Saturday with Marcus Smith ready to step into the breach for the penultimate round of the Six Nations.

Fin Smith was the solitary member of Steve Borthwick’s squad to miss training on Tuesday as he recovers from a calf injury and with only Thursday’s main session left before the Twickenham showdown, time is running out to prove his fitness.

The 21-year-old fly-half has won his first two caps in his breakthrough season for England, coming on as a replacement for George Ford against Italy and Scotland, but could now slip out of the 23.

“We have tried to look after him the last couple of days and we are hoping he will be in full training on Thursday. We are looking after him,” skills and kicking coach Kevin Sinfield said.

If Fin Smith is unable to convince Borthwick on Thursday that he is capable of facing Grand Slam-chasing Ireland, Marcus Smith is available to take his place on the bench.

Kevin Sinfield reveals key attribute returning Marcus Smith has brought for England

Rory Best explains exactly how Andy Farrell has taken Ireland to the brink of history

10:10 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A grand slam is the ultimate goal for Ireland, though, as they look to become the first men’s team to complete back-to-back Six Nations clean sweeps. It would be a remarkable achievement for Andy Farrell, a man who arrived in Ireland in 2016 with his reputation in need of rebuilding. Rory Best was Ireland captain when Farrell first arrived on Joe Schmidt’s staff, and we caught up with the former Ireland hooker to find out how Farrell built one of the great sides in championship history.

Rory Best explains exactly how Andy Farrell has taken Ireland to the brink of history

Gregor Townsend explains Scotland selection calls.

10:01 , Luke Baker

A few words from Scotland coach Gregor Townsend about the selection calls he’s made – and those three changes in particular.

On Cameron Redpath in for the injured Sione Tuipulotu: “It’s disappointing news that Sione is injured. He is a key part of our team, both in terms of how he plays and how he leads. Cam is in really good form in training and also when he’s had the opportunities this year. He has a conenction with Finn [Russell] from club level which should mean the cohesion is still there, even though we’ve made that change.”

On George Horne starting at scrum half over Ben White: “We made that decision for two reasons really. Firstly, to reward George and Ali [Price, named on the bench] who have been in very good form for us and with their clubs as well. Also it was to give Ben a rest – he’s played a lot of rugby since September/October and a lot of rugby through this period as well, so we feel he needs a recharge this week. I’m looking forward to George having a start and Ali bringing his experience on at some point.”

On Andy Christie starting in the back row: “Andy Christie played a lot of rugby before the Six Nations, he was consistent with Saracens and knocking hard on the door for selection for us. He’s come off the bench in the last two games and really made a difference. He’s added energy, did well in defence and as part of our attack, so he’s earned the right to start.”

 (PA Wire)
(PA Wire)

Three changes for Scotland to face Italy

09:46 , Luke Baker

Let’s delve a little more into that Scotland team just announced by Gregor Townsend. There are three changes to the side that impressively beat England last time out as Andy Christie, Cam Redpath and George Horne all come into the line-up.

Christie is preferred to Jamie Ritchie in the back row, where he’ll line up for his first Scotland start alongside co-captain Rory Darge and Jack Dempsey, while Redpath comes in for the injured Sione Tuipulotu to form a midfield partnership with Huw Jones and Horne starts at scrum half, as Ben White drops out of the 23 entirely with veteran Ali Price the chosen No 9 replacement.

Scotland XV: 15. Blair Kinghorn, 14. Kyle Steyn, 13. Huw Jones, 12. Cameron Redpath, 11. Duhan van der Merwe, 10. Finn Russell (co-captain), 9. George Horne; 1. Pierre Schoeman, 2. George Turner, 3. Zander Fagerson, 4. Grant Gilchrist, 5. Scott Cummings, 6. Andy Christie, 7. Rory Darge (co-captain), 8. Jack Dempsey

Replacements: 16. Ewan Ashman, 17. Alec Hepburn, 18. Elliot Millar-Mills, 19. Sam Skinner, 20. Jamie Ritchie, 21. Matt Fagerson, 22. Ali Price, 23. Kyle Rowe

Scotland name team for Italy clash

09:37 , Luke Baker

Scotland are the first team this morning to name their side for the weekend. They face Italy in Rome on Saturday afternoon

Six Nations 2024 LIVE: Ireland welcome back key quartet ahead of England showdown

09:35 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Garry Ringrose, Hugo Keenan, Iain Henderson and Oli Jager are in contention for Ireland’s Six Nations clash with England after training on Tuesday.

Leinster centre Ringrose is yet to feature in this year’s championship because of a shoulder injury.

Full back Keenan and lock Henderson missed the round-three win over Wales due to a knee issue and a dislocated toe respectively.

Munster prop Jager made his Test debut as a replacement in that 31-7 success on February 24 before sustaining a knee problem.

Grand Slam-chasing Ireland, who play at Twickenham on Saturday before completing their campaign at home to Scotland seven days later, reported a clean bill of health ahead of holding a more physical training session on Wednesday.

Ireland welcome back key quartet ahead of England showdown

Six Nations 2024 LIVE: George North and Nick Tompkins not rocked by shock omission

09:20 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Wales boss Warren Gatland has sprung a major selection surprise by omitting established centres George North and Nick Tompkins from his line-up for Sunday’s Guinness Six Nations clash with France.

But Wales assistant coach Mike Forshaw says both players have “jumped back on the horse” after being left out, with a new midfield pairing of Joe Roberts and Owen Watkin preferred.

While North and Tompkins have 155 caps between them – North is Wales’ most experienced Six Nations squad member – 23-year-old Scarlets centre Roberts will make his first tournament start and Watkin is recalled after featuring against opening opponents Scotland.

“I think it is an opportunity to have a look at Joe,” Forshaw said. “I think Joe was unlucky not to go to the World Cup.

“We just felt if we were going to have a look, this was the game to do it. He (Roberts) is a really promising young 13 going forward, and Owen Watkin has a lot of experience.”

George North and Nick Tompkins not rocked by shock omission – Mike Forshaw

Six Nations 2024 schedule in full: Fixtures, kick-off times and results

09:08 , Luke Baker

The Six Nations is back with Ireland looking to defend their grand slam crown and finding the perfect start with emphatic wins over France, Italy and Wales

The start of a new cycle has seen a significant change to the six competing unions since a thrilling Rugby World Cup in France.

England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France all began the campaign with new captains at the helm, while Italy have made a promising start to life under Gonzalo Quesada after a post-World Cup coaching change.

Scotland, denied cruelly against the French in round two, will be hoping to build on a third-placed finish a year ago as they look to deny Ireland back-to-back triumphs. Here’s everything you need to know:

Six Nations 2024: Fixtures, schedule, kick-off times and results

Six Nations 2024 LIVE: George North dropped as Warren Gatland makes big calls

09:03 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Wales have already confirmed their team for Sunday’s encounter with France, with Warren Gatland again going early with his line-up. There’s big news, too, with both Nick Tompkins and George North dropped as Gatland looks at a new centre partnership, and captain Dafydd Jenkins deployed in a new position.

George North dropped as Warren Gatland makes big calls in Wales team for France

Six Nations 2024 LIVE: England, Ireland, Scotland and Italy set to confirm line-ups

08:34 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A very good morning and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of a big day of Six Nations team news. England, Ireland, Scotland and Italy will confirm their line-ups for Saturday’s games today ahead of a crucial round of fixtures.

We’ll have all the latest team news and reaction throughout the day.