France vs Wales LIVE: Six Nations 2023 updates and build-up as Les Bleus hunt title

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Wales have endured the most dramatic of Six Nations off the pitch but if they can finish with a win over France in Paris, then it will turn a horror show on the field into something more acceptable.

Amid all the drama of the threatened players strike ahead of the England game, Wales endured a nightmare start to Warren Gatland’s tenure with three straight defeats, but victory over Italy in Rome last time out will have buoyed Welsh fans.

France, who just demolished England and are the No 2 side in the world, are undoubtedly a huge step up but with many of their veteran stars playing in what is presumed to be their final Six Nations match, Gatland’s troops will have plenty of motivation.

For their part, Les Bleus can still win the title - although it will require an unlikely favour in Dublin from an England side still reeling from last weekend’s obliteration at Twickenham - but even if the trophy eludes them, Fabien Galthie’s men will be keen to head into a home World Cup later this year with four wins from five in the championship.

Follow live coverage from the Stade de France below after the conclusion of Scotland vs Italy:

France vs Wales - live Six Nations updates

  • Full live coverage of France vs Wales after the conclusion of Scotland vs Italy

  • France host Wales in the middle Six Nations game of Super Saturday

  • France still have an outside shot of winning the title if they beat Wales handsomely and England stun Ireland in Dublin

  • Wales are looking to build on their first win of the championship against Italy last week

  • Ireland vs England to come later

Scotland 19-6 Italy, 59 minutes

13:57 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A long period with the ball in play ends when a tired Scottish forward strays offside, enabling everyone to draw a much-needed breath.

A trio of changes for Scotland: enter Ali Price, Rory Sutherland and Scott Cummings; exit Ben White, Pierre Schoeman and Jonny Gray.

Scotland 19-6 Italy, 57 minutes

13:55 , Harry Latham-Coyle

There’s just a sense that some of the intensity has gone out of the contest with Murrayfield quiet and the game in a bit of a holding pattern. Italy can’t make much of possession near halfway and Paolo Garbisi’s purposeless left-ward lift won’t bring any joy, either.

Scotland 19-6 Italy, 56 minutes

13:54 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The Murrayfield surface churns up beneath 32 pumping feet as the two sets of forwards lock scrum horns. Danilo Fischetti is picked out as the cause of an eventual collapse.

After a typically busy afternoon, that is Fischetti’s final act - Federico Zani comes on, joined by prop partner Pietro Ceccarelli, who takes the place of Marco Riccioni.

Scotland 19-6 Italy, 55 minutes

13:51 , Harry Latham-Coyle

An intelligent cross-kick from Tommaso Allan finds Luca Morisi on the left, but Kyle Steyn scrags the centre and hauls him towards touch. Morisi manages to release a pass of sorts, and it bounces up into Simone Gesi’s hands, but not before travelling forward.

Scotland 19-6 Italy, 54 minutes

13:50 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Through the hands at the tail and a chance goes begging! A slight overthrow, maybe, and Matt Fagerson is sharply on to it to allow Scotland to clear.

Scotland 19-6 Italy, 53 minutes

13:49 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Italy’s maul still seems in good working order, chugging away up the right to earn the visitors a third penalty in quick succession. Paolo Garbisi asks his forwards to go again.

Scotland 19-6 Italy, 52 minutes

13:48 , Harry Latham-Coyle

We’ve got three sets of siblings out there, now - Alessandro Garbisi joins brother Paolo in Italy halves, with the brothers Fagerson and Cannone all still amongst things.

Italy win another penalty and kick into the Scotland 22.

Blair Kinghorn’s double has allowed Scotland to open up a significant lead early in the second half (Getty Images)
Blair Kinghorn’s double has allowed Scotland to open up a significant lead early in the second half (Getty Images)

Scotland 19-6 Italy, 51 minutes

13:46 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Matt Fagerson is introduced in the Scotland back-row and immediately infringes, catching Lorenzo Cannone high to gift Italy an easy clearance.

Scotland 19-6 Italy, 50 minutes

13:46 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Pierre Schoeman steals Italian possession on halfway and Scotland play. Sione Tuipulotu and Hamish Watson each meander in search of space, keeping things flowing as they bend left and right.

Kyle Steyn scythes through a tackle, before Tuipulotu drops ball to boot to intelligently spin the Italian defensive line. The ball tumbles out of play seven metres short of the line.

Scotland 19-6 Italy, 48 minutes

13:43 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A horrible final pass! Accuracy was Italy’s problem last week and it costs them again here, Alessandro Fusco deftly gliding through a hole around the fringes and looking to his left, where Simone Gesi waits for a pass. Fusco drills it three feet ahead of his wing, who has not a hope of claiming it. Head coach Kieran Crowley lifts his hands to his head.

Scotland 19-6 Italy, 47 minutes

13:41 , Harry Latham-Coyle

That’s Negri’s last involvement, with the back-row looking to be carrying a knock of some kind as promising back-row Manuel Zuliani relieves him. Edoardo Iachizzi is replaced, too - Niccolo Cannone returns after an earlier involvement in the encounter while the lock underwent an HIA.

TRY! SCOTLAND 19-6 Italy (Blair Kinghorn try, 45 minutes)

13:38 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A second try for Blair Kinghorn!

That’s what a six-foot-five fly-half can do! Scottish forwards bash booming fists on the Italian door, weakening the hinges before their ten crashes through. Kinghorn picks a spot between Juan Ignacio Brex and Sebastian Negri and shoulders their tackles to push through to the line.

Kinghorn converts from the tee and can go in search of a second Six Nations hat-trick against Italy.

Scotland 12-6 Italy, 43 minutes

13:38 , Harry Latham-Coyle

What a tackle from Lamaro! The openside piles in alongside Giacomo Nicotera to somehow hold Scotland short as the carrier appeared ready to ground over the line.

Scotland continue, though...

Scotland 12-6 Italy, 42 minutes

13:37 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Michele Lamaro looks totally perplexed. The Italian captain is penalised for going off his feet seconds after Angus Gardner appears to clear teammate Cannone’s turnover, Lamaro demanding a detailed explanation and not entirely satisified by the referee’s explanation.

Still, penalty to Scotland, who return to Italy’s 22.

Scotland 12-6 Italy, 41 minutes

13:35 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Enterprising play initially from Italy to start the half, Lorenzo Cannone carrying in a forthright manner and swift transfers then freeing Pierre Bruno to nearly escape Duhan van der Merwe’s clutches. But Scotland soon snaffle breakdown ball.

Second half...

13:33 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Scotland and Italy are back out there, Gregor Townsend and his staff re-taking their seats behind the desk in the home coaching box.

Blair Kinghorn will get things back underway.

An injured Stuart Hogg gives his half-time thoughts to the BBC

13:32 , Harry Latham-Coyle

“We’ll back ourselves to score points. There have been some good things and not so good things - the Italians are a gritty bunch. I think we’ll count ourselves lucky not to have conceded, to be honest.

“You’ve got to work really hard for your points. The Italians were incredibly disciplined in what they were doing. You could see how knackered they were at times. I love that Scotland at the end of the half could have easily kicked it off, but I loved the enthusiasm and energy to go for it.”

H/T: Scotland 12-6 Italy

13:29 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Italy survived the yellow card period for just the concession of that single score, which keeps them in the game. It looked early on as if Kieran Crowley had shifted his strategy slightly, with Tommaso Allan doing lots of early kicking from hand at first receiver, but later on in the half the Italian attack begin to work nicely with Paolo Garbisi controlling effectively.

But they’ve had to do a lot of defending so far: Danilo Fischetti and Federico Ruzza have both already made 14 tackles, and while this Italian side is fit, you could feel them fatiguing a little in that extended offensive movement towards the end of the first half.

H/T: Scotland 12-6 Italy

13:24 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Both coaches will feel a little disappointed with that half, each side guilty of wasting opportunities and time inside the opposition 22 - Scotland particularly so. The home side did score twice, with Duhan van der Merwe taking his score brilliantly before Blair Kinghorn capitalised on an under-resourced Italian defence to ensure a half-time Scottish lead.


13:21 , Harry Latham-Coyle

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Scotland 12-6 Italy, 43 minutes

13:19 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A try-saving intervening hand from Simone Gesi! We’ve seen so little of the debutant so far but that’s a vital moment in the first half’s throes, somehow getting back to deny a certain Scottish score.

It was lovely play from Scotland, Duhan van der Merwe used as a link-man off his wing to create an overlap which Kyle Steyn exploits. Steyn lobs an offload in the direction of Ollie Smith with line agape, but Gesi somehow lassos it, allowing his teammates to smother the ball into touch and take us to the interval.

Scotland 12-6 Italy, 42 minutes

13:18 , Harry Latham-Coyle

And Italy eventually run totally out of puff - Sebastian Negri looks exhausted as he falls into Zander Fagerson, who jackals strongly to win Scotland a penalty.

Scotland 12-6 Italy, 41 minutes

13:17 , Harry Latham-Coyle

One last go for the visitors before the half comes to a close. Their initial efforts don’t promise much but Paolo Garbisi, Juan Ignacio Brex and Tommaso Allan combine effectively, and the momentum is reloaded.

Danilo Fischetti hits a sharp line off Garbisi’s shoulder, but Alessandro Fusco is forced to go in to secure the ball, slowing Italy again.

Scotland 12-6 Italy, 40 minutes

13:16 , Harry Latham-Coyle

An extended passage leaves both sets of players gasping, with Scotland’s edges just starting to fray. Zander Fagerson waits to take a pass in a wider channel than the tighthead might usually occupy, and he can’t quite reach for it. Jamie Ritchie knocks on and plays the ball on the floor - penalty to Italy, who are then restored to full complement by the returns of Marco Riccioni and Simone Gesi.

Scotland 12-6 Italy, 39 minutes

13:15 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Italian hands knock the ball on in the air and a group of forwards had failed to retreat, too, prompting an arm of advantage from Angus Gardner. Scotland can thus play extravagantly, with Sione Tuipulotu among those adding the fancy touches.

Advantage is over as Sam Skinner thumps through a tackle to get towards the Italian 22.

Scotland 12-6 Italy, 36 minutes

13:13 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Three minutes left on Marco Riccioni’s sin-binning but Italy seem to be doing fine without their tighthead. They play with terrific patience, Alessandro Fusco picking his runners nicely and then going himself when a chance appears.

Around the corner come the coal trimmers, Edoardo Iachizzi and Federico Ruzza out of the engine room and ready to make dents, but the lock pair aren’t quite on the same page, with a short pass colliding with Ruzza’s forehead and ending back in Iachizzi’s hands. Scotland’s scrum for offside.

Scotland 12-6 Italy, 34 minutes

13:11 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Angus Gardner rewards Danilo Fischetti for his scrum-time efforts this time, with Italy happy to let some seconds tick by before Paolo Garbisi unfurls another lengthy punt to touch. The visitors return to advanced territory for the first time in a while, with Edoardo Iachizzi back amongst their number after passing his HIA.

Scotland 12-6 Italy, 32 minutes

13:09 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Smart thinking from Scotland, flinging the ball out to Kyle Steyn on the right wing knowing that Simone Gesi is off, allowing the former sevens star to make easy metres up the touchline.

Italy re-form well as Scotland spread to the left. But Jack Dempsey pops free, scurrying away from a pair of Italians after a messy breakdown and connecting with Duhan van der Merwe.

Bosh! Van der Merwe collides Sebastian Negri in a rather beefy meeting, with the Italian back-row getting the better of it. Knocked on - Italy’s scrum.

TRY! SCOTLAND 12-6 Italy (Blair Kinghorn try, 30 minutes)

13:05 , Harry Latham-Coyle

At last, Scotland go over!

A midfield scrum leaves Italy in all sorts of defensive bother having sacrificed a back. Ben White picks the left, holding the inside defenders by threatening a carry and then finding his half-back partner. Blair Kinghorn steps inside Alessandro Fusco and through Michele Lamaro’s low tackle to score Scotland’s second. He knocks through the conversion, too.

Scotland 5-6 Italy, 29 minutes

13:04 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Poor Simone Gesi has played half-an-hour of international rugby and his first major involvement will be a ten-minute removal to allow the introduction of Pietro Ceccarelli as Scotland call for another scrum.

Yellow card! Marco Riccioni is sent to the sin bin! Scotland 5-6 Italy, 29 minutes

13:04 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Down it goes again, and off Riccioni will go. That feels very harsh on the Italian tighthead - it looked like the scrum went down first on the other side, with Zander Fagerson looking to turn in under pressure from Danilo Fischetti. But you felt Angus Gardner’s mind might already have been made up - the Australian referee retrieves his yellow card and dispatches the Saracens prop for a ten minute sit-down.

Scotland 5-6 Italy, 27 minutes

13:02 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Marco Riccioni is pinged again. The Italian tighthead and his front-row mates are summoned for a stern warning from Angus Gardner, with captain Michele Lamaro told a card may be coming.

Scotland 5-6 Italy, 27 minutes

13:01 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A scrum penalty for Scotland as Italy once again draw Angus Gardner’s whistle with an early transference of weight into Scottish shoulders.

Jamie Ritchie doesn’t fancy three. Down again for another engagement.

Scotland 5-6 Italy, 26 minutes

13:00 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Scotland build the phases again, seven, eight, nine and still five metres short. Lorenzo Cannone leads a counter-ruck and the ball pops into Italian hands, but not before a little knock-on on the floor.

Scotland get another chance. They could do with another moment of magic like their opening score:

Scotland 5-6 Italy, 24 minutes

12:58 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The scrum goes down, with referee Angus Gardner delivering some instructions to both front rows in an attempt to solve the issues. He asks for better height on the reset.

Free kick to Scotland - too much weight on from Italy. The hosts tap and go...

Scotland 5-6 Italy, 23 minutes

12:57 , Harry Latham-Coyle

And Italy survive again! Jamie Ritchie is hoisted early but George Turner’s throw comes late, and the Scotland captain knocks on in the air with no Italian competing.

That’s an extended period in the opposition 22 without points for Scotland. All a little too wasteful from the home side.

Scotland 5-6 Italy, 22 minutes

12:56 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Edoardo Iachizzi will need an HIA after his head collided with Schoeman’s knee. Niccolo Cannone joins his younger brother Lorenzo in the Italy pack.

Scotland 5-6 Italy, 21 minutes

12:55 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Scotland’s maul is once more stalled so it is back to their mighty wing menace, Duhan van der Merwe drawing three Italian defenders and still proving tough to stop.

Ben White snipes to within a matter of inches. Pierre Schoeman waits to biff over...dropped with the line in sight! Schoeman was just a little static as he paused to take a pop pass, and a firm contact to the ball knocks it loose.

Hang on - TMO Brett Cronan believes Edoardo Iachizzi hasn’t quite wrapped his arms. Scotland get a penalty for a no-arms tackle, Schoeman gets a reprieve.

Scotland 5-6 Italy, 19 minutes

12:52 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Maul, and George Turner breaks away...a metre shy. Jonny Gray lumbers it up, and then Zander Fagerson too.

Now wide, behind George Turner to Blair Kinghorn and then on to Ollie Smith. Kinghorn again...bundled towards touch.

Kinghorn managed to hurl a desperate offload infield just before his boots were chalked - an Italian leg sent the ball out so Scotland will throw a five-metre lineout on the opposite touchline.

Scotland 5-6 Italy, 18 minutes

12:51 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Italy’s accuracy again lets them down, though, and Scotland pour through, driving Italy back. That’s not a good sight, either - Danilo Fischetti is staggering about with an apparent injury.

Italy’s chasing forwards are then offside as Paolo Garbisi’s kick fails to make the touchline. Edoardo Iachizzi is also struggling with an injury of some kind, but both he and tight five colleague Fischetti will form part of the defensive Italian lineout as Scotland kick to the right corner.

Scotland 5-6 Italy, 17 minutes

12:49 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Italy’s restart drill is competent enough and Allan boots the ball long into the Scottish backfield, from where the hosts will run it back.

Thrice forward carriers are stalled, so it is to the air for Ben White, too, flighting his box slightly too far and allowing Paolo Garbisi to step elegantly beyond two chasers.

Tommaso Menoncello also puts some lively footwork on, but is just about hauled down as Simone Gesi begins to get excited outside his centre.

PENALTY! Scotland 5-6 ITALY (Tommaso Allan penalty, 16 minutes)

12:47 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Neatly popped through by Tommaso Allan, now hitting the fairways after that early errant effort. Italy back in front.

Scotland 5-3 Italy, 15 minutes

12:46 , Harry Latham-Coyle

I think it would be safe to say that restarts will be a work-on for virtually all the Six Nations coaches after this campaign - every side in the competition has struggled at times with kick receipt after scoring. Jack Dempsey isolates himself as he runs away from his support in to a brace of Italian front rowers, Giacomo Nicotera dumping him on his back and allowing Marco Riccioni to lock over the top of the ball.

Tommaso Allan gestures for the tee for a third time in these opening 15 minutes.

TRY! SCOTLAND 5-3 Italy (Duhan van der Merwe try, 13 minutes)

12:43 , Harry Latham-Coyle

What a finish from Duhan van der Merwe!

Superb from the giant wing! Huw Jones skips away from the Italian defence and fades to the outside, creating room to pass flat to Van der Merwe on the run.

Paolo Garbisi rushes across and collides with the far larger man, sending his feet spinning out into the Firth of Forth, but Van der Merwe reaches a long right arm back in to play, contorting around the corner flag to place firmly and score before his toes hit the deck.

Scotland 0-3 Italy, 12 minutes

12:42 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Hint of an overlap...away from the waiting players! Italy just about rush up in time to hassle Blair Kinghorn playing the link out the back, with the fly-half’s flick missing two teammates outside him.

But Scotland daren’t dally - George Turner taps and goes quickly, and has Van der Merwe managed to acrobatically dot down in the corner?

Scotland 0-3 Italy, 11 minutes

12:41 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Italy’s maul defence is rather better formed than their hosts’ was a few minutes ago, but Duhan van der Merwe ensures Scotland retain some form of momentum by skipping by a couple of would-be tacklers.

Sione Tuipulotu shows brightly on a couple of occasions, niftily shifting on from his chest to Van der Merwe as he is tackled low. Advantage coming; pressure building...

Scotland 0-3 Italy, 9 minutes

12:40 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Italy have kicked possession every time they’ve had it so far, but there’s the adventure we’ve so associated them with during this tournament, forwards and backs playing to width inside their own 22. A wayward pass hits the deck to end that particular exploration, and Alessandro Fusco is forced to rather hurry a box kick away.

It fails to find touch and back come Scotland, with Edoardo Iachizzi pinged for grabbing Ben White before the scrum-half has hands on the ball. Scotland poke the penalty into the Italian 22.

PENALTY! Scotland 0-3 ITALY (Tommaso Allan penalty, 8 minutes)

12:38 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Indeed he does. From just right of centre inside the Scotland 22, Allan puts Italy ahead.

Scotland 0-0 Italy, 6 minutes

12:37 , Harry Latham-Coyle

That’s a statement of intent from the Italian maul - forwards they march, with Scotland struggling to halt them legally. George Turner is penalised for falling beneath it, and with the advantage coming Italy spread it.

Two more penalisable infringements against Scotland - might Angus Gardner consider a card? No, just back for the penalty as Juan Ignacio Brex’s wide fling evades Simone Gesi.

Italy aren’t tempted to try again at the lineout; Tommaso Allan will surely this time knock through the three.

Scotland 0-0 Italy, 5 minutes

12:35 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A defensive breakdown infringement gives Italy another penalty in not dissimilar position, but Paolo Garbisi takes charge and will punt down into the Scottish 22.

Lovely kick. Giacomo Nicotera will throw 12 metres out.

Missed penalty! Scotland 0-0 Italy, 4 minutes

12:34 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Not the best of starts from the tee from Tommaso Allan, once of Scotland’s Under-20s. A bit of a snap hook, and away to the left from 40 metres out.

Scotland 0-0 Italy, 2 minutes

12:33 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Juan Ignacio Brex carves on an outside arc before straightening, well held by a crabbing Kinghorn. Tommaso Allan steps in at first receiver and launches an up-and-under.

A couple more kicks and Italy get over the ball as Scotland take contact, Danilo Fischetti knifing in after Scotland’s initial clearers fail to protect a tackled Duhan van der Merwe. Italy will have first go at starting the scoring.

Scotland 0-0 Italy, 1 minute

12:31 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Sharp start from Jack Dempsey, catching and shimmying to find Italy a little short on the left, allowing Duhan van der Merwe to go thumping up the touchline.

Scotland soon test Italy’s aerial acumen. A couple of phases later and Italy also look to the skies, with Blair Kinghorn taking with a juggle and launching a useful touch-finder from inside his own 22. Italy’s lineout inside their own half.

Off we go...

12:30 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The best part of seven hours of almost non-stop rugby ahead of us - are you ready?

Paolo Garbisi is the opening act on this Super Saturday. The Italy fly-half has the ball, Angus Gardner blows his whistle, and Scotland vs Italy is underway!

Scotland vs Italy - Match Officials

12:28 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Referee: Angus Gardner (Aus)

ARs: Matthew Carley (Eng) & Craig Evans (Wal)

TMO: Brett Cronan (Aus)

Flower of Scotland

12:28 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Ben Healy delivers what I believe is his first on-field rendition of “Flower of Scotland” - the Ireland-born fly-half qualifies through his Scottish mother, and this will be a mighty proud day for the whole Healy family.

Typically delightful from the Murrayfield chorus.

Scotland vs Italy - Il Canto degli Italiani

12:26 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Much of the Italian squad claps their right fist across their heart. Danilo Fischetti closes his eyes and lifts his chin, a melodious delivering of the notes, before opening the eyelids and his mouth to roar out the final crescendo.

Scotland vs Italy

12:25 , Harry Latham-Coyle

This final Saturday is always a test of endurance - three high-class contests back-to-back-to-back, with seven anthem singings to be delivered during the day, too.

Italy’s crowd-pleaser will kick us off.

Scotland vs Italy

12:24 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Out of the tunnel come the players, ready for their final fully competitive international fixture before the autumn’s World Cup. Jamie Ritchie asnd Michele Lamaro, pillars of solidity in the back row, lead the lines, faces fixed in focus.

Scotland vs Italy

12:19 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The absent Stuart Hogg has been snared by the BBC today for some pitchside punditry, revealing that the expected recovery for his ankle injury is about four to six weeks. This is the first time Scotland have started a Six Nations game without Finn Russell and Hogg in more than a decade - the rest of the Scottish backline has performed very well during this tournament but it is a significant test.

Sione Tuipulotu, by the way, has been rewarded for his excellent tournament with the vice-captaincy. I’m looking forward to seeing he and Huw Jones spar with Tommaso Menoncello and Juan Ignacio Brex.

Kieran Crowley hopes Italy can replicate Wales win

12:13 , Harry Latham-Coyle

“I’d like to think so,” the Italy head coach chuckles when asked if his side can repeat their final-day heroics of last year. “It’s a different tournament and a different team. We weren’t good enough last week in our execution. We’ve focussed on that this week.

“We’ve taken the mindset that we’ve got to be a little bit better each week. Hopefully if we The more you get in those positions and the more you succeed in those positions, the better you are. We haven’t had that yet.”

Italy beat Wales in Cardiff last year for a first Six Nations win since 2015 (Action Images via Reuters)
Italy beat Wales in Cardiff last year for a first Six Nations win since 2015 (Action Images via Reuters)

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend speaks to the BBC

12:11 , Harry Latham-Coyle

“It’s all in the performance today. It is our last game of the Six Nations and we have put a lot of work into this championship to get our best ever performance. That’s what the goal is today.

“We are very wary. They were close to beating Ireland and France, they move the ball from everywhere. They have nothing to lose. At this stage last year they went to Cardiff and played a great game, and won that game. We need to make sure we impose our game on Italy.”

Jamie Ritchie demands big finish as Scotland aim for third place in Six Nations

12:10 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Jamie Ritchie believes a strong performance against Italy and a third-place finish behind the top two sides in the world will seal a positive Six Nations campaign for Scotland.

Back-to-back defeats by France, ranked second in the world, and the top-ranked Ireland mean Scotland can no longer claim silverware from a tournament that started with wins over England and Wales.

But Ritchie feels there is still plenty at stake going into Saturday’s campaign finale at BT Murrayfield as Gregor Townsend’s side bid to make it three wins out of five and finish third for the first time since 2018.

“I outlined our goal of five good performances and I think we’re at three and a half just now,” said the captain. “To get it up to four and a half would be good so we’re looking for a strong performance. To secure that third place outright would be a positive.”

Jamie Ritchie demands big finish as Scotland aim for third place in Six Nations

Look to the looseheads

12:07 , Harry Latham-Coyle

If you were asked to pick out two of the most quietly impressive performers of this Six Nations, then today’s looseheads would probably come quickly to the mind. Both Pierre Schoeman and Danilo Fischetti have stood out in the loose and tight throughout this tournament, continuing to grow their burgeoning international reputations.

They are different sorts of props, Schoeman broader of shoulder with Fischetti more of a bustler, but each possesses plenty of punch in the carry and offers a live breakdown threat. Quietly, the number one shirt is filled by a lot of high quality performers across this championship – Cyril Baille has been back to somewhere near his best in the last couple of weeks, Ellis Genge has led the way in England’s best moments and Andrew Porter has been a cornerstone amid Ireland’s front row chaos.

Simone Gesi gets a shot on the wing

12:02 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Struggling with Ange Capuozzo withdrawal symptoms? May I introduce you to Simone Gesi, making his international bow for Italy and offering much of the same diminutive danger as his absent potential future back three colleague. The Zebre wing is a couple of inches taller and two years younger than Capuozzo but is explosive and elusive in much the same way, with a fierce fend adding to his threat.

He still has a little way to go defensively and aerially, but Gesi has been carving up defences in the United Rugby Championship this year. His inclusion on the wing is another sign of Kieran Crowley’s commitment to playing an exciting brand of rugby. Italy created plenty of chances against Wales but snatched at them a little, but there is little indication they’ll at all temper their attacking verve.

11:58 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The key decision for Gregor Townsend this week would have been where best to slot Blair Kinghorn into his side. Townsend likes the Edinburgh man’s potential as an international fly-half, but the 26-year-old was a little disappointing at the position during his autumn opportunities and has been very good off the bench in the back three during this campaign.

Townsend is down three fly-halves, really, with both Adam Hastings and Ross Thompson also currently unavailable, but the Scotland head coach suggested this week he would have had no qualms with starting Ben Healy. Recruiting the Munster fly-half away from the Irish system feels like a bit of a coup for Scottish rugby, with Healy already offering a developed sense of game control. But he has not been in Townsend’s set-up for long, with limited opportunities to run alongside the rest of an impressive backline, so for now it is Kinghorn’s show.

“We’ve seen him train and how well he’s stepped up as first receiver,” Townsend said of his chosen fly-half. “His session last Wednesday, when Finn didn’t train at all, was outstanding. I believe now, with how we are playing, it will suit Blair even more. He has the defence focused on the people outside which will open up opportunities for him.”

The versatile Blair Kinghorn scored a hat-trick from the wing against Italy in 2019 but starts at fly-half today (Getty Images)
The versatile Blair Kinghorn scored a hat-trick from the wing against Italy in 2019 but starts at fly-half today (Getty Images)

Team News - Italy

11:54 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Italy’s worst performance of the Six Nations does prompt some changes from Kieran Crowley, though the New Zealander largely keeps faith with the side that disappointed against Wales. Up front, Marco Riccioni and Edoardo Iachizzi are promoted to start at tighthead and in the second row respectively.

Behind the scrum, there’s a new scrum half in the form of Alessandro Fusco, while the rather exciting Zebre wing Simone Gesi is set to make his debut after an impressive URC season. Another potential debutant is replacement hooker Marco Manredi, while Alessandro Garbisi could form a half-back partnership with elder brother Paolo for the first time this Six Nations if used from the bench.

Italy XV: Danilo Fischetti, Giacomo Nicotera, Marco Riccioni; Edoardo Iachizzi, Federico Ruzza; Sebastian Negri, Michele Lamaro (capt.), Lorenzo Cannone; Alessandro Fusco, Paolo Garbisi; Simone Gesi, Tommaso Menoncello, Juan Ignacio Brex, Pierre Bruno; Tommaso Allan.

Replacements: Marco Manfredi, Federico Zani, Pietro Ceccarelli, Niccolo Cannone, Giovanni Pettinelli, Manuel Zuliani; Alessandro Garbisi, Luca Morisi.

Team News - Scotland

11:52 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A long and gruelling tournament has taken a significant toll on the Scottish squad, shorn of three key pillars for this final game. Finn Russell, Stuart Hogg and Richie Gray all miss this final encounter.

Without Russell and Hogg, a place for Blair Kinghorn in the starting side was a certainty, and it is at fly-half that Gregor Townsend elects to install the long-striding back, who has impressed off the bench throughout this campaign. That allows a place for Ollie Smith in the back three, while Sam Skinner and Hamish Watson start in the forwards.

Edinburgh-bound, Tipperary-born playmaker Ben Healy is primed for a debut off the bench, offering Townsend more of a controlling fly-half option, while Ewan Ashman, Rory Sutherland and Cameron Redpath return to the fold among the replacements.

Scotland XV: Pierre Schoeman, George Turner, Zander Fagerson; Sam Skinner, Jonny Gray; Jamie Ritchie (capt.), Hamish Watson, Jack Dempsey; Ben White, Blair Kinghorn; Duhan van der Merwe, Sione Tuipulotu, Huw Jones, Kyle Steyn; Ollie Smith.

Replacements: Ewan Ashman, Rory Sutherland, WP Nel, Scott Cummings, Matt Fagerson; Ali Price, Ben Healy, Cameron Redpath.

Six Nations Super Saturday: Scotland vs Italy

11:49 , Harry Latham-Coyle

But we’ll deal with all the title permutations more fully a bit later, because there is rapidly-approaching business to attend to in Edinburgh. After a disappointing showing against Wales, Italy have one last shot at a 2023 Six Nations win, while Scotland will be keen to finish with a flourish and hold on to third spot in the table.

Kick-off is less than 45 minutes away - let’s check in on the two teams...

Jamie Ritchie is ready to lead Scotland as Six Nations Super Saturday begins (Getty Images)
Jamie Ritchie is ready to lead Scotland as Six Nations Super Saturday begins (Getty Images)

Six Nations Super Saturday: Title permutations

11:46 , Harry Latham-Coyle

An Ireland win will, of course, seal Andy Farrell’s men a championship they would richly deserve, but we do technically still have a title fight on our hands. France’s drubbing of England last weekend, and Ireland’s failure to earn a bonus point at Murrayfield, leaves last year’s winners four points back in the table, ready to pounce on any unlikely Irish slip-up this evening.

Six Nations Super Saturday: Prospect of Irish Grand Slam should leave England green with envy

11:42 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Yes, we’ve made it, one final day of men’s Six Nations action for 2023, the action crammed in to one Super Saturday. Italy are in Edinburgh and Wales re-acquainting themselves with Paris, but all eyes are on Dublin, where things have worked out rather nicely for Ireland...

Prospect of Ireland’s dream weekend should leave England green with envy

Six Nations Super Saturday

11:30 , Luke Baker

Welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of the finale to the 2023 Six Nations.

Super Saturday has rolled around once more and by 7pm we’ll know whether Ireland have claimed just a fourth grand slam - and the first sealed at home - in their history. Only an England team in disarray stand in their way.

Before that, Scotland take on Italy and Wales travel to France as the 2023 championship reaches its conclusion.

Stick with us for full live coverage across the day