The penultimate chapter of the 2019 Women’s Six Nations will be penned this weekend, with the destination of the title still up in the air.
England have risen to the top of the pile in the opening three rounds of the Championship but a number of other sides are all still in the hunt.
Three more compelling showdowns are on the cards in Round Four and it’s do-or-die time.
Scotland v Wales
There’ll be far more than just pride on the line when the two teams currently fifth and sixth respectively in the Championship standings go head-to-head in the opening offering of Round Four.
Both Shade Munro’s Scotland and Rowland Phillips’ Wales are yet to taste victory in the 2019 Women’s Six Nations and a win at Scotstoun on Friday night could go some way to either avoiding the wooden spoon come the Championship’s end.
Last time out, Scotland were stung by a wounded animal as 2018 Grand Slam winners France bounced back from defeat at the hands of England and ran out 41-10 winners in Lille, Rhona Lloyd’s try coming as little more than a consolation.
Meanwhile, Wales were beaten 51-12 by England at Cardiff Arms Park.
There was just a single point in it when these two teams met in Round One of the 2018 Women’s Six Nations, Wales winning 18-17 – could this one be just as much of a nail-biter?
England v Italy
England have marked themselves out as the team to beat during the first three rounds of the 2019 Women’s Six Nations.
They top the table with three wins from three, having accounted for Ireland, reigning champions France and Wales thus far – but a challenging test is on the cards at Sandy Park in Exeter.
Italy have made waves so far during the 2019 Women’s Six Nations and are the only other unbeaten side in the Championship.
Andrea Di Giandomenico’s charges are chasing down their best-ever finish in the Women’s Six Nations, with third in 2015 the current gold standard, but can they upset a side setting such a breakneck pace?
Ireland v France
A French resurgence got off the ground with victory over Scotland in Round Three but to keep their hopes of defending their crown alive, Les Bleues must conquer Dublin.
Third in the table and four points behind England, France lock horns with Ireland at Energia Park, with the visitors attempting to stay on an upward curve following victory over Scotland last time out.
Adam Griggs’ fourth-placed Ireland, meanwhile, suffered an agonising 29-27 loss to Italy in Round Three and have the opportunity to reel in Les Bleues if they can make the most of home advantage.
In 2018, France were comfortable 24-0 winners when these two teams met in Toulouse and in Gabrielle Vernier, they boast this year’s top try-scorer – and top points-scorer – so far.
Ireland will be keen to give little away on home turf, however.