Edoardo Padovani scored a last-gasp try as Wales' Six Nations campaign ended with a shock 22-21 defeat against Italy at the Principality Stadium.

Josh Adams had appeared to spare the blushes of the lacklustre when he crossed 11 minutes from time to put Wales ahead.

Kieran Crowley's Italy looked set for a 37th successive defeat in the competition at that stage, but there was to be one final twist in Cardiff.

Ange Capuozzo burst away from the tiring Welsh defence and offloaded to Padovani, who went in under the posts before Paolo Garbisi converted to complete a remarkable victory.

England boss Eddie Jones has rung the changes ahead of the team's Six Nations trip to Paris on Saturday, as his side attempt to deny France a first Grand Slam since 2010.

George Furbank will replace Freddie Steward at full-back, with Steward moving to the wing after playing the former role in each of England's previous four games. 

The Northampton man's introduction represents one of five changes made by Eddie Jones, with Ben Youngs, Nick Isiekwe, Sam Underhill, and Will Stuart the other players to be introduced, as Tom Curry, Harry Randall, Kyle Sinckler, and the suspended Charlie Ewels all drop out.

Max Malins, meanwhile, has been dropped from the squad entirely after playing every minute of the previous four Six Nations outings, as the visitors look to salvage some pride from a disappointing campaign.

Jones, who has won three Six Nations titles since taking the England reigns in 2015, has been faced with speculation regarding his future in recent days, with the team facing the prospect of finishing fifth in consecutive Six Nations campaigns, having done so in 2021.

However, the 62-year-old, while disappointed to be out of contention for the trophy, was looking forward to seeing how his much-changed side faired against Les Blues.

"This is our strongest 23 for the game against France," he said.

"We are disappointed not to be in the contention for the trophy, but last week's effort against Ireland was full of pride, energy and tactical discipline.

"We have focused on refreshing the team this week and we are ready to empty the tank on Saturday."

Only one of the last nine Six Nations meetings between France and England has been won by the visiting team, with England prevailing 31-21 back in 2016.

 

England: George Furbank, Freddie Steward, Joe Marchant, Henry Slade, Jack Nowell, Marcus Smith, Ben Youngs; Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Will Stuart, Maro Itoje, Nick Isiekwe, Courtney Lawes, Sam Underhill, Sam Simmonds.

Replacements: Nic Dolly, Joe Marler, Kyle Sinckler, Ollie Chessum, Alex Dombrandt, Harry Randal, George Ford, Elliot Daly.

Finn Russell has been dropped to the bench for Scotland's final game of the 2022 Six Nations, as coach Gregor Townsend makes two changes to his starting XV for the trip to Ireland.

The Racing 92 half-back, a talismanic presence for his country, has suffered faltering form across the Championship and makes way for Blair Kinghorn.

Exeter Chiefs second-rower Jonny Gray replaces clubmate Sam Skinner in the only other change made by Townsend as his side look to deny their hosts a shot at the title at Aviva Stadium.

Ireland can keep themselves in contention with victory on home soil, along with a win for England against France, with coach Andy Farrell making three swaps for the crunch clash.

Iain Henderson, Jack Conan and Mack Hansen are all drafted in, with the former a direct replacement for James Ryan after he was ruled out with a head injury.

At home, Ireland have won 10 of their 11 Six Nations matches against Scotland, save a loss at Croke Park in 2010, leaving the visitors needing to buck history to finish on a high.

 

Ireland XV: Hugo Keenan, Mack Hansen, Garry Ringrose, Bundee Aki, James Lowe, Johnny Sexton, Jamison Gibson-Park; Cian Healy, Dan Sheehan, Tadhg Furlong, Tadhg Beirne, Iain Henderson;,Caelan Doris, Josh van der Flier, Jack Conan.

Replacements: Rob Herring, Dave Kilcoyne, Finlay Bealham, Kieran Treadwell, Peter O'Mahony, Conor Murray, Joey Carbery, Robbie Henshaw.

Scotland XV: Stuart Hogg, Darcy Graham, Chris Harris, Sam Johnson, Kyle Steyn, Blair Kinghorn, Ali Price; Pierre Schoeman, George Turner, Zander Fagerson, Jonny Gray, Grant Gilchrist, Rory Darge, Hamish Watson, Matt Fagerson.

Replacements: Fraser Brown, Allan Dell, WP Nel, Sam Skinner, Josh Bayliss, Ben White, Finn Russell, Mark Bennett.

France winger Damian Penaud has returned to Fabien Galthie's squad ahead of Saturday's Six Nations clash with England.

The Clermont star was ruled out of the week-four match with Wales after testing positive for COVID-19, but has now completed his isolation period and is back in the fold as France go in search of a Grand Slam.

Centre Yoram Moefana drops out of the 23-man selection as Les Bleus favour a six-two split between forwards and backs on the bench for the fixture at Stade de France.

Romain Taofifenua also returns among the replacements following his own positive coronavirus test earlier this month.

The hosts will complete a first Grand Slam since 2010 if they defeat Eddie Jones' visitors, and could still win the championship for the first time in a dozen years even in defeat.

Galthie will know what his side must do by the time they take to the field, with lone title rivals Ireland set to play before them against Scotland in Dublin.

France: Melvyn Jaminet, Damian Penaud, Gael Fickou, Jonathan Danty, Gabin Villiere, Romain Ntamack, Antoine Dupont, Gregory Alldritt, Anthony Jelonch, Francois Cros, Paul Willemse, Cameron Woki, Uini Atonio, Julien Marchand, Cyril Baille

Replacements: Peato Mauvaka, Jean-Baptiiste Gros, Mohamed Haouas, Romain Taofifenua, Thibaud Flament, Dylan Cretin, Maxime Lucu, Thomas Ramos

England lock Charlie Ewels has been given a three-match ban for the red card he received early on against Ireland last weekend.

The 26-year-old was dismissed just 82 seconds into Saturday's 32-15 defeat at Twickenham after clashing heads with opposite number James Ryan.

That red card was the earliest ever in the Six Nations, with each of the three quickest in the competition's history each coming in the last two editions.

Ewels will now miss England's final game of this year's tournament against France in Paris, as well as Bath's Premiership fixtures against Sale Sharks and Worcester Warriors.

However, he can undertake a Coaching Intervention Programme to have that suspension reduced to two matches, meaning he will be available to face Worcester on March 30.

Ewels was facing a possible ban of up to six weeks, but that was halved due to mitigating factors such as an early acceptance of the red and his remorse.

 

England's defeat to Ireland means they cannot finish any higher than third in this year's tournament.

Next opponents France are two points better off than Ireland, who host Scotland in the final round of fixtures, and are one win away from a first title and Grand Slam since 2010.

Two of France's three previous Grand Slams have been completed with a win over England in the final round, in 2004 and 2010.

England head to Paris aiming to avoid losing three games in a single edition of the competition for a third time under Eddie Jones, previously doing so in 2018 and 2021.

Dan Biggar and Alun Wyn Jones are in line to claim their 100th and 150th Wales caps when Wayne Pivac's side host Italy in the Six Nations on Saturday.

Wales sit fifth in the table after falling to a third defeat in four outings following a 13-9 loss to France last Friday, with their only win coming against Scotland on February 12.

However, Pivac's team will be boosted by the return of Jones, who comes back into the starting side for the first time since suffering a shoulder injury against New Zealand at the end of October.

Biggar retains the captaincy despite 36-year-old Jones returning, with the former set to become the seventh Welshman to win 100 caps for his country.

Coach Pivac, who has made seven changes to his team that lost against table-toppers France, believes the pair deserve to share their milestone appearances together.

"We've said with other players reaching 100 appearances what an achievement that is and for Dan I know he's been looking forward to this moment for a long time," Pivac told reporters on Tuesday.

"For him to achieve it with Al, who is also getting the milestone of 150 caps – which no other player has ever done – I think it's fitting for those two to share the day.

"They've played a lot of rugby together and have a healthy respect for each other. They've given so much for the game in Wales."

Gareth Davies is in line for his first start in this year's Six Nations, with Johnny McNicholl, Louis Rees-Zammit and Willis Halaholo all recalled in the backline as well.

Meanwhile, Dewi Lake, Dillon Lewis and last year's Lions captain Jones are the forwards who come in, with Ryan Elias, Alex Cuthbert, Jonathan Davies, Tomas Francis,  Liam Williams, Tomos Williams and Will Rowlands dropping out of the starting side.

On the changes, Pivac added: "We've made a few changes this week. With one game to go there are some players we need to see out there and put them in the matchday 23.

"We've certainly selected a side which we think can get the job done. Clearly that's what we're here for. There's an opportunity to move up that table, so we think this is an exciting team and one we're looking forward to seeing out there.

"Italy are a side that's improving, they've had some bad luck here and there and with a new coach transitioning we know it takes a bit of time.

"But we know they've got some very good rugby players and as you saw against Scotland they troubled them in that second half and for long periods of the first. So we're going to have to be on our game and we're very much looking forward to playing at home again this weekend.

"We had a good result against Scotland, gave the fans something to cheer about and came very close against an in-form France. Obviously disappointed we couldn't get across the line for our fans there and we hope we can do that this weekend and finish on a high."

Wales team: Johnny McNicholl, Louis Rees-Zammit, Owen Watkin, Uilisi Halaholo, Josh Adams, Dan Biggar, Gareth Davies; Gareth Thomas, Dewi Lake, Dillon Lewis, Adam Beard, Alun Wyn Jones, Seb Davies, Josh Navidi, Taulupe Faletau.

Replacements: Bradley Roberts, Wyn Jones, Leon Brown, Will Rowlands, Ross Moriarty, Kieran Hardy, Callum Sheedy, Nick Tompkins.

England head coach Eddie Jones insists questions surrounding his future are "part of the job" after defeat to Ireland at Twickenham in the Six Nations last Saturday.

The 32-15 loss means England can no longer win this year's tournament and could even finish in fifth place again if they are beaten by leaders France in Paris in their final match this weekend.

It was announced on Monday that Jack Willis has been included in the squad for the first time in over a year for Saturday's clash.

The flanker suffered a serious knee injury against Italy in February last year and only returned to action for Wasps last month.

Speaking to BBC Radio Five Live, Jones said his nationality may not help matters, but that questions of his suitability are part of the role.

"I took on the job of England and I knew this was going to be the case," he said. "I don't think it helps being an Australian but that's part of the deal. When I decided to do another [World Cup] cycle, I knew that would be more intense.

"The longer you're in the job, the more people probably don't want you to be in the job. It's all part of the job that we have."

Jones took the job in 2015 and has enjoyed success, winning three Six Nations titles and reaching the 2019 World Cup final, ultimately losing to South Africa in Japan.

The team's form has dipped since then, finishing fifth in last year's Six Nations and potentially doing the same this time.

However, Jones believes his side is developing, adding: "It's for other people to judge whether we're growing as a team.

"I've got my own internal assessment and I like what I see. I like to see the growing spirit of this team. We're moving in the right direction but I'm sure other people have their own judgement."

Ireland will have to do without James Ryan and Ryan Baird in their crunch Six Nations showdown with Scotland on Saturday.

Ryan was unable to return to the field after he was floored by a dangerous tackle from Charlie Ewels only 82 seconds into Ireland's 32-15 win over England at Twickenham last weekend.

Ewels was shown a red card for clashing heads with Ryan, who failed a subsequent head injury assessment.

Lock Ryan will not be available when Andy Farrell's side do battle with Scotland at the Aviva Stadium on the final day of the tournament.

Fellow second row Baird also missed the encounter in Dublin due to a back injury, so Ross Molony and Joe McCarthy have been called up to train with the squad.

Second-placed Ireland are two points adrift of leaders France and must win to keep their hopes of winning the title alive, with Les Bleus facing England in Paris later in the day.

 

Jack Willis has been included in England's squad for the first time in over a year for Saturday's Six Nations clash with France.

The flanker suffered a serious knee injury against Italy in February last year and only returned to action for Wasps last month.

With Tom Curry ruled out of the contest at Stade de France with a hamstring problem sustained in the 32-15 defeat to Ireland, Willis has a chance of featuring.

Kyle Sinckler was also part of the 34-player squad named by Eddie Jones on Monday and will follow return-to-play protocols after being concussed against Ireland.

England are out of contention for the Six Nations title ahead of their final match of this year's tournament after winning two and losing two of their first four games.

Opponents France are top of the standings as they seek a first title and first Grand Slam since 2010.

England players described their pride even in defeat to Ireland on Saturday after playing more than 78 minutes of the Six Nations match with 14 men.

The Red Rose's championship hopes were ended by the 32-15 reverse at Twickenham – their heaviest ever home Test loss to Ireland – but few fans had any issues with the team's fight and desire.

Charlie Ewels was shown a red card after just a minute and 22 seconds for his dangerous tackle on James Ryan – the earliest dismissal in a Six Nations match – giving England a huge uphill battle.

Eddie Jones' men still might have upset title-chasing Ireland, who were all square at 15-15 heading into the closing stages before taking the match away from their hosts.

Rather than rue their failure to take their championship challenge to Grand Slam candidates France for their fifth and final game, England's battlers preferred to reflect upon a heroic effort.

Hooker Jamie George said: "Right up to that last try, I genuinely had belief, and I think that says a huge amount about the character we have in the squad.

"This sounds ridiculous but it's one of the proudest days I've had in an England shirt. I genuinely feel that. I feel quite emotional from this game and the feedback we had from the crowd.

"Playing a team like Ireland, they're respected as one of the best teams in the world. To play like that with 14 men for 78 minutes takes some doing, and I'm proud to be part of the group."

Full-back Freddie Steward suggested this performance should set the standard for England sides moving forward.

"You come into a game, and you never expect that to happen," he told BBC Radio 5 Live. "The boys responded really well.

"It would have been easy for us to lose a man and for heads to drop and them to walk all over us. I think that shows the spirit of this team. We fought, we dug in, the boys gave it everything. There's a lot to learn from that."

Steward added: "We sat in at half-time and we had a genuine belief that we could go and win the game. The boys came out in that second half and wanted to do it, we wanted to do it.

"Unfortunately, on 60, 70 minutes, we ran out of steam at the end there.

"But I think this team is one that is not going to give up. We're not going to not fight, and we went to the trenches for each other today."

Ireland coach Andy Farrell was all smiles after his side came through a testing Six Nations encounter with 14-man England thanks to a late show at Twickenham.

A bonus-point 32-15 win saw Ireland pull to within two points on France at the top of the standings, keeping their championship hopes alive ahead of the final round of matches.

England were always on the back foot after a red card for Charlie Ewels after just 82 seconds, but they pulled the contest back to 15-15 in the 60th minute after opening the second half with consecutive penalties.

A heroic victory proved beyond the home side, however, as Ireland scored 17 unanswered points – including 14 in the final 10 minutes.

Despite a perhaps lacklustre performance with a man advantage, the barnstorming finish had Farrell chipper when speaking with the media post-match.

"It was never in doubt, was it?" he joked to RTE.

"At 15-all, the game's in the balance there. When you have 15 against 14, I thought the boys have done really well in some really tough situations.

"They dug deep for one another and came out with what we know is unbelievably hard to do – coming here and getting a bonus point.

"Rolling onto next week with something to play for is what we came to do, and we managed to do that.

Scotland coach Gregor Townsend said he was "delighted" with his team's hard-fought Six Nations win against Italy in Rome on Saturday.

Chris Harris scored a first-half double as Scotland beat the Azzurri 33-22 in an entertaining encounter at the Stadio Olimpico, recovering from back-to-back defeats at the hands of Wales and France.

The victory not only secured the Cuttitta Trophy but also moved Scotland above Wales into fourth place as the visitors ran in five tries in Italy.

Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland after the game, Townsend said he was happy with the win, but also reserved praise for Kieran Crowley's team, who scored 22 points for the first time since also doing so against France in 2020's tournament.

"We're delighted with the win, it's been a tough venue for Scottish teams for a number of years," said Townsend.

"I felt we built the victory in the first half and the players played really well up to around the 50-minute mark. After that, we weren't as good. I have to say that's the best I've seen Italy play over the last couple of seasons.

"Maybe we expected them to crack but you have to be accurate and keep the intensity up against all opposition if you want a complete performance. That's a frustration but all credit to Italy, they were the better team in the last quarter of the game.

"It's hard when Italy come at you. I've been there as a player and a coach when we've allowed Italy to get into the game. We didn't do that today. We managed the game really well and executed at times. We just need to do that for 80 minutes."

Scotland have now won each of their past seven matches against Italy in the Six Nations, with six of those seven victories coming by 10 or more points.

Sam Johnson scored the opening try for Scotland before Harris crossed twice, with Darcy Graham and Stuart Hogg getting one each after the break.

Callum Braley grabbed his first international try for Italy in the first half, and Ange Capuozzo also scored a double on debut.

Italy's Michele Lamaro bemoaned costly errors from his team, saying after the loss: "It's tough, we have to learn from this.

"Today, Scotland knew how to put pressure on at the breakdown. In that area, they have got players who are very capable and we really struggled all game. Against Wales, it will probably be a similar situation. We will have to work hard on it this week."

Italy have lost their past 36 games in the Six Nations, the longest losing run by any nation in the competition's This was their narrowest loss in the Six Nations since losing by 11 against France in 2019.

Scotland beat 40 defenders in the win, just the sixth time any side has beaten 40 or more in a Six Nations game and just the second time any nation has managed it away from home, after France who beat 55 in Italy in 2017.

Charlie Ewels was sent off after only 82 seconds as Ireland secured a 32-15 bonus-point victory at Twickenham to stay in the hunt to win the Six Nations and end heroic England's hopes of claiming the title.

Ewels was shown the earliest red card in championship history for a dangerous tackle on James Ryan and it looked like the Red Rose would be in for a painful evening when James Lowe crossed early on.

Yet Eddie Jones' side, roared on by a raucous crowd, produced an inspired display despite being a man down, only trailing 15-9 at half-time in an absorbing contest following three Marcus Smith penalties and a Hugo Keenan try for the visitors.

Smith's fourth and fifth penalties brought a spirited England level, but a Johnny Sexton penalty 15 minutes from time put Ireland back in front before late tries from Jack Conan and Finlay Bealham sealed a victory that moved Andy Farrell's men two points adrift of leaders France.

Ireland are at home to Scotland in their last match of the tournament next Saturday and will be hoping for a favour from England when they do battle with Les Bleus in Paris. 

Ewels' participation was over soon after it started, with referee Mathieu Raynal giving the lock his marching orders after he clashed heads with Ryan attempting a tackle.

With a dazed Ryan unable to continue, Sexton slotted over the resulting penalty and Lowe raced down the left to score the opening try in a dramatic start after taking a pass from Josh van der Flier.

Caelan Doris had a try ruled out due to a Garry Ringrose knock-on and Tom Curry limped off before England started to dictate the game despite being a man down, Smith reducing the deficit with two penalties and also missing one.

The Red Rose pack dominated – wing Jack Nowell playing his part in the scrum – but Jamison Gibson-Park's quick free-kick opened the door for Keenan to crash over before Smith's third penalty on the stroke of half-time made it 15-9.

There was another blow for England when Kyle Sinckler failed a head injury assessment at half-time, Will Stuart replacing him, but another Smith penalty left them only three points down.

Fly-half Smith brought them level midway through the second half with another penalty won in a ferocious scrum, but Sexton booted Ireland back into the lead and converted after Conan crashed over from close range after 71 minutes.

Bealham added insult to injury as the pressure told on weary England late on, barging over in the corner and Sexton took his points tally with the boot to 12 by adding the extras.

Ewels gives England a mountain to climb

After a huge build-up to what Eddie Jones had billed as a semi-final, losing Ewels right at the start meant England were always going to be up against it.

Although there was no malice in his tackle on Ryan, French official Raynal felt he had no option but to dismiss the England man. The Red Rose, driven on by a powerful pack, showed great character to make a brilliant game of it and the scoreline did not tell the full story.

Gibson-Park makes Ireland tick

This was certainly not a vintage Ireland performance as they made far too many errors and showed indiscipline, but they looked dangerous every time they attacked and were ruthless as England tired.

Gibson-Park made them tick and has been a revelation at scrum-half, making 59 passes and setting up a try for Keenan that came at an important time late in the first half.

What's next?

Ireland take on Scotland at the Aviva Stadium in the second game of the final weekend before England do battle with Les Bleus in a decisive last match in Paris.

Chris Harris scored a first-half double as Scotland beat Italy 33-22 in an entertaining Six Nations encounter at the Stadio Olimpico.

Smarting from defeats at the hands of Wales and France, Gregor Townsend's side ran in five tries to win the Cuttitta Trophy in Rome on Saturday and move above Wales into fourth place.

Sam Johnson scored the opening try before Harris crossed twice, with Darcy Graham and Stuart Hogg getting in on the act after the break.

Callum Braley went in for a first international try in the first half and Ange Capuozzo scored a debut double, but the Azzurri's losing Six Nations run was extended to 36 matches on the penultimate weekend of the tournament.

Paolo Garbisi's penalty gave Italy an early lead, but Scotland were in front when Johnson finished in the right corner after George Turner had powered down the other flank to put Italy on the back foot.

Ali Price was the architect for a second try on the break after 21 minutes, intercepting Braley's pass deep inside his own half and bursting forward before whipping a pass out to Kyle Steyn, whose clever kick over the top enabled Harris to touch down.

Finn Russell added the extras, but Italy cut the gap to only two points after Pierre Bruno's brilliant offload on the touchline in the right corner put a try on a plate for Braley and Garbisi sent an excellent conversion between the posts.

Italy's joy was short-lived, though, as Harris surged over for his second score late in the first half to round off a well-executed Scotland move.

Graham showed pace and power when racing through the middle to reward more Scotland pressure with another try early in the second half and Hogg darted over in the left corner after taking a fine pass from the impressive Price.

Russell expertly converted from wide on the left for a fourth time and the points continued to come, with Capuozzo wriggling his way over twice in a promising cameo off the bench, but Scotland were comfortable winners.

Italy pay the Price

Scrum-half Price was outstanding as he made Scotland tick before he was replaced late on.

The number nine showed great awareness for the interception that led to Harris' opening try and threw a great pass for Hogg to score, pulling the strings in a lively display.

Clinical Harris

Harris was on hand to help himself to a brace, firstly showing great speed to get on the end of Steyn's well-weighted kick over the top and then running a great line for his second score.

What's next?

Scotland end their campaign with a trip to face Ireland at the Aviva Stadium next Saturday, when Italy take on Wales in Cardiff.

Fabien Galthie says France are in the "dream scenario" as they stand on the brink of a Grand Slam but knows the Six Nations leaders face a massive test against England.

Anthony Jelonch scored the only try of an almighty battle with Wales at the Principality Stadium, where Les Bleus won 13-9 on Friday to maintain their 100 per cent record.

France defended magnificently to keep the holders at bay in Cardiff and have a first title since 2010 in their sights.

England will arrive at Stade de France determined to spoil the party and can also be crowned champions with a win in the French capital if they beat Ireland at Twickenham on Saturday.

France head coach Galthie sees his side as a work in progress and is prepared for a tense evening in Paris.

"The dream scenario is to win the games, Four wins after four rounds, that was our ambition. We have learned from the past, this is still a team in progress," said Galthie.

"We have managed to balance things in this competition in terms of our efforts. Four wins, that is what you dream of. Now we will turn our attention to the final match against England.

“It’s England, the finalists from the last World Cup, a huge rugby nation. We can't make a mistake about our opponent.

"We have to start the preparation in a pleasant way, while enjoying this [win over Wales] and this weekend. We will flip on Monday and prepare with our method and our conviction. There will be a match to play, as always."

It was not pretty as France dug in to defeat Wales and Galthie was delighted with the way they went about their business.

He added: "The key is to win, differently, agreed, but it's good to win. The winning streak is the hardest thing to do, especially here against a very good tactical side.

"We had a week with the players suffering from the flu and we were hit by Covid. Despite a number of players missing time, the team came and got the win and that is important.

"We won five turnovers at the breakdown, while being disciplined and conceding just eight penalties. The know-how of our defensive line, with big tackles, good entries into the rucks and playing the ball, that's a box that is ticked by the players collectively and individually."

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