The TikTok Women’s Six Nations is set-up for a grandstand finish this weekend as players, coaches and fans get ready for what promises to be a thrilling Round 5.
All three matches take place on Saturday afternoon, with the main event coming in ‘Le Crunch’ where France host England, with the winner claiming the Grand Slam and the TikTok Women’s Six Nations title for 2022.
Both sides have won all four games to date, with England racking up more points and conceding fewer, although that may count for little on Saturday night.
As if that wasn’t enough, Round 5 also brings us Wales against a rejuvenated Italy, and a showdown between fourth-placed Ireland and Scotland.
Here’s all you need to know ahead of what promises to be a thrilling final weekend.
WALES V ITALY – Saturday 30 April, Cardiff Arms Park – KO 12pm
Italy come into their Round 5 meeting with Wales rejuvenated after a first win against Scotland in Parma last time out.
And they will also take heart from the fact that their last win in the Championship against a team other than last week’s opponents, came on this very ground in 2020.
Italy won an entertaining match 19-15 that day, and will hope for a repeat performance on Saturday lunchtime as they bid to end their season on a high.
Wales have performed well so far to sit third in the Championship table with only one round to go, however Ireland still could overhaul them in the final round of games, meaning Ioan Cunningham’s side still have work to do.
They come into this one after a tough defeat at home to an in-form France side, but did manage to get on the scoreboard thanks to a late try from Sioned Harries.
— TikTok Women’s Six Nations (@Womens6Nations) April 28, 2022
You have to go back to the 2017 edition for the last time Wales beat Le Azzurre, when three tries in Iesi ensured they recorded a 20-8 win.
Both teams have come a long way in the last five years and should provide a high-quality contest to kick-off Super Saturday.
Italy head coach Andrea di Giandomenico has made three changes, including a return to the starting line-up for scrum-half Sara Barattin, Italy’s most capped player.
Elisa Giordano is also back in the XV and Silvia Turani makes her first start of the campaign.
Wales have named three new starters with Kelsey Jones, Cara Hope and Niamh Terry making their first starts of the season – at hooker, loosehead prop and full-back respectively.
Italy: 15 Manuela Furlan (C), 14 Aura Muzzo, 13 Michela Sillari, 12 Beatrice Rigoni, 11 Maria Magatti, 10 Veronica Madia, 9 Sara Barattin, 1 Silvia Turani, 2 Melissa Bettoni, 3 Lucia Gai, 4 Valeria Fedrighi, 5, Giordana Duca, 6 Beatrice Veronese, 7 Ilaria Arrighetti, 8 Elisa Giordano
Replacements: 16 Vittoria Vecchini, 17 Gaia Maris, 18 Sara Seye, 19 Sara Tounesi, 20 Isabella Locatelli, 21 Francesca Granzotto, 22 Alyssa D’Incà, 23 Vittoria Ostuni Minuzz
Wales: 15. Niamh Terry, 14. Lisa Neumann, 13. Hannah Jones, 12. Kerin Lake, 11. Jasmine Joyce, 10. Robyn Wilkins, 9. Ffion Lewis, 1. Cara Hope, 2. Kelsey Jones, 3. Donna Rose, 4. Siwan Lillicrap (C), 5. Gwen Crabb, 6. Alisha Butchers, 7. Alex Callender, 8. Sioned Harries
Replacements: 16. Carys Phillips, 17. Caryl Thomas, 18. Cerys Hale, 19. Natalia John, 20. Bethan Lewis, 21. Keira Bevan, 22. Lleucu George, 23. Kayleigh Powell
FRANCE V ENGLAND – Saturday 30 April, Stade Jean Dauger – KO 2.15pm
The 2022 Championship will be decided in the Basque region on Saturday afternoon when Bayonne plays host to France’s clash with England.
Both sides have won all four games to date to set up a mouth-watering finale at Stade Jean Dauger between the World Rugby’s first and third ranked sides.
England, who have already secured the Triple Crown, maintained their own Grand Slam ambitions with a comfortable 69-0 win over Ireland in Round 4, crossing the whitewash on 11 occasions in the process.
So far Simon Middleton’s team have scored more points than their opponents in the decider, 258 to 140, and if they win will be champions for the fourth year in a row.
France were the last team other than England to lift the title, winning the 2018 edition, securing an 18-17 win over England along the way.
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) April 29, 2022
This year they have also been in red-hot form and come into the decider fresh from a 33-5 bonus-point win over a resilient Wales.
And if they can take those performance levels into Round 5, coach Annick Hayraud will believe her side can be the first to beat England in 22 matches.
Although England have won the last nine encounters between the two sides, they have often been close with six decided by a score.
France’s team selection has been boosted by the return from injury of fly-half Caroline Drouin.
She will combine with the influential Laure Sansus in the in the halves, while Audrey Forlani comes into the second row, having come off the bench last week in the Wales win.
In the back row, Celine Ferer joins captain Gaëlle Hermet on the flank, with Romane Menager at No.8.
Meanwhile, England will be missing regular skipper Sarah Hunter, who was ruled out with a rib injury sustained in the win over Ireland, with Poppy Cleall coming in at No.8. Emily Scarratt will captain the side.
France: 15. Chloé Jacquet, 14. Caroline Boujard, 13. Maëlle Filopon, 12. Gabrielle Vernier, 11. Marine Ménager, 10. Caroline Drouin, 9. Laure Sansus, 1. Annaëlle Deshaye, 2. Agathe Sochat, 3. Clara Joyeux, 4. Madoussou Fall, 5. Audrey Forlani, 6. Céline Ferer, 7. Gaëlle Hermet (C), 8. Romane Ménager
Replacements: 16. Laure Touyé, 17. Coco Lindelauf, 18. Yllana Brosseau, 19. Julie Annery, 20. Emeline Gros, 21. Alexandra Chambon, 22. Jessy Trémoulière, 23. Emilie Boulard
England: 15. Helena Rowland, 14. Lydia Thompson, 13. Emily Scarratt (C), 12. Holly Aitchison, 11. Jess Breach, 10. Zoe Harrison, 9. Leanne Infante, 1. Vickii Cornborough 2. Lark Davies, 3. Sarah Bern, 4. Zoe Aldcroft, 5. Abbie Ward, 6. Alex Matthews, 7. Marlie Packer, 8. Poppy Cleall
Replacements: 16. Amy Cokayne, 17. Hannah Botterman, 18. Maud Muir, 19. Rosie Galligan, 20. Sarah Beckett, 21. Sadia Kabeya, 22. Natasha Hunt, 23. Ellie Kildunne
🗣️ “We really appreciate the support we’re getting from the different parts of the country.”
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) April 29, 2022
IRELAND V SCOTLAND – Saturday 30 April, Kingspan Stadium – KO 8pm
The 2022 Championship concludes with a Saturday night showdown between Ireland and Scotland in Belfast.
Ireland will be hoping to finish with a flourish and take advantage of any Wales slip-up in the battle for third, while Scotland are searching for a first win after a 20-13 reverse in Parma against Italy last week.
But while Scotland are yet to taste victory, they did win the last meeting between these two back in September, on their way to securing qualification for the rescheduled 2021 World Cup in New Zealand.
On a thrilling night in Parma, Chloe Rollie’s last-gasp converted try sealed a 20-18 and dramatically end Ireland’s Rugby World Cup hopes.
The teams last faced each other in the TikTok Women’s Six Nations two years ago, when tries from Cliodhna Moloney, Sene Naoupu and Beibhinn Parsons helped Ireland to an 18-14 victory.
For the latest clash, head coach Greg McWilliams has made three changes to the Ireland XV.
Sam Monaghan, Player of the Match in the win over Italy in Round 3, is back from injury in the second row, while Nikki Caughey and Vicky Irwin, making her debut, also come in to the side.
Meanwhile, visitors Scotland are unchanged from last weekend, although Bryan Easson has added back-row Eva Donaldson, half-back Mairi McDonald and centre Emma Orr to his options from the bench.
Ireland: 15. Vicky Irwin, 14. Aoife Doyle, 13. Sene Naoupu, 12. Enya Breen, 11. Molly Scuffil-McCabe, 10. Nikki Caughey, 9. Kathryn Dane, 1. Linda Djougang, 2. Neve Jones, 3. Christy Haney, 4. Nichola Fryday (C), 5. Sam Monaghan, 6. Dorothy Wall, 7. Edel McMahon, 8. Hannah O’Connor
Replacements: 16. Emma Hooban, 17. Chloe Pearse, 18. Katie O’Dwyer, 19. Aoife McDermott, 20. Grace Moore, 21. Maeve Og O’Leary, 22. Ailsa Hughes, 23. Michelle Claffey
Scotland: 15 Chloe Rollie, 14 Rhona Lloyd, 13 Lisa Thomson, 12 Helen Nelson, 11 Shona Campbell, 10 Sarah Law, 9 Caity Mattinson, 1 Molly Wright, 2 Lana Skeldon, 3 Christine Belisle, 4 Emma Wassell, 5 Sarah Bonar, 6 Rachel Malcolm (C), 7 Rachel McLachlan, 8 Evie Gallagher
Replacements: 16 Jodie Rettie, 17 Leah Bartlett, 18 Katie Dougan, 19 Louise McMillan, 20 Eva Donaldson, 21 Mairi McDonald, 22 Emma Orr, 23 Megan Gaffney