RUGBY UNION - Undefeated Wales start off by taking on a revamped Italy side in Cardiff on Saturday, followed by Tommy Bowe’s attempt at a 6N try scoring record in the “Battle Of The Hookers”. On Sunday, England will try to find their own try scoring spark as France will attempt to beat England with a pair of unproven halfbacks. Click below to find out more key statistics.
Saturday 10 March, 15:30 CET, Cardiff, Wales v Italy
> Wales have won all four 6N matches against Italy during Warren Gatland’s tenure as coach, winning by five and eight point margins in Rome, however triumphing by 39 and 23 respectively at home.
> Wales have already clinched the Triple Crown, for the 20th time in history and the third time in the Six Nations Era (2000-present). They also won the Triple Crown in 2005 and 2008 and on both occasions they also won the Grand Slam.
> Leigh Halfpenny is the competition’s leading points scorer on 44. The only Wales player that finished a Six Nations season as the competition’s top scorer is Stephen Jones, who achieved that feat in 2004 and 2010. However, the 74 points by Neil Jenkins in 2001 are the most by a Wales player in a Six Nations season.
> Italy have made seven changes to their starting XV, the most by the Azzurri in successive matches within the same 6N season.
Saturday 10 March, 18:00 CET, Dublin, Ireland v Scotland
> For the first time since 2001 (Ireland v Italy), a Six Nations match will start with two hookers captaining their side.
> Tommy Bowe has scored at least one try in each of his last four Six Nations matches (six tries in total). The 6N record for scoring tries in successive matches is five. It was set by France’s Philippe Bernat-Salles in 2001 and later equalled by Wales’ Shane Williams (2008-2009).
> Bowe’s try tally in the 2012 Six Nations has reached five. The 6N single season record for tries by an individual player is six. It was set by England’s Will Greenwood in 2001 and later equalled by Wales’ Shane Williams in 2008 and England’s Chris Ashton in 2011.
> Scotland have won only one of nine Six Nations matches in which Nick De Luca started, the 23-20 victory at Ireland in 2010.
Sunday 11 March, 16:00 CET, Paris Saint-Denis, France v England
> There have been 12 previous 6N meetings between these two. England have won seven times and France have won five times. No team other than England has beaten France more than four times in the competition.
> Wesley Fofana has become only the third player in Six Nations history to score at least one try in each of his first three 6N matches. England’s Will Greenwood (2001) and Ireland’s Shane Horgan (2000-2001) crossed over at least once in each of their first four Six Nations appearances.
> England have scored fewer tries (two) than any other nation in the 2012 Six Nations.
> If England concede 17 points, they will become the last of the six nations to have conceded 1,000 in the competition.