Family loyalty will go out of the window when England and Ireland do battle this weekend, and France face a major test of their Six Nations title credentials against Wales.
Ireland beat defending champions Wales 24-14 in Dublin last time out, while France also made it two wins out of two with a 35-22 triumph over Italy.
The joint-leaders will not have home comforts for the first time in the tournament, with the third round of matches seeing Les Bleus travel to Cardiff on Saturday and Ireland taking on England at Twickenham on Sunday.
England captain Owen Farrell could inflict a first defeat on his father, Andy, since he become Ireland head coach.
Winless Scotland and Italy do battle on Saturday at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, where the hosts go in search of their first points of the tournament.
We take a look at what promises to a be pivotal round of matches with some standout Opta data.
Wales v France in Cardiff….
— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) February 20, 2020
Italy v Scotland
– Scotland have won six of their last seven Six Nations games against Italy, their solitary loss in that spell coming at Murrayfield in 2015 – the Azzurri’s last victory against any side in the Championship.
– Seven of the last eight Six Nations meetings between Italy and Scotland in Rome have been decided by seven points or fewer.
– Italy have spent 40 minutes in possession in the Six Nations this year, longer than any other side, making the most carries (300) and metres (857) in the process; in contrast, Scotland have spent the least time in possession during this campaign (33m 56s).
– Scotland have missed just 25 tackles in this year’s Six Nations, fewer than any of their rivals and as a result boast the best tackle success rate (91 per cent).
Wales v France
– Wales have won eight of their last nine Test matches against France, this after winning just two of their previous 12 clashes with Les Bleus before that run.
– France and Scotland (7/7) are the only sides who boast a 100 per cent scrum success rate on their own feed in the Six Nations this year, while Wales have recorded the worst success rate at that particular set-piece – with 11 from 15.
– France’s Bernard Le Roux has made the most tackles of any player in the tournament with 38, one more than Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones.
– No player has beaten more defenders in the Six Nations this year than France’s Antoine Dupont (10, level with Stuart Hogg), while he also has the second-most offloads with seven.
England v Ireland
– Ireland are the only side to hold a winning record over England in the Six Nations (winning 11 and losing nine); however, they suffered a record 57-15 to the Red Rose in their last meeting before the Rugby World Cup.
– England have lost just one of their last 19 home games in the Six Nations (W17, D1). That one defeat came the last time they hosted Ireland in 2018.
– Ireland have won 95 per cent of their lineouts in the Six Nations this year (19/20), which is the best rate of any team. However, England have stolen the most lineouts (5) in the Championship.
– Maro Itoje has hit 74 rucks in the 2020 Six Nations, more than any other player, and has also won the most turnovers with six.
KEO.co.za News wire is powered by opta