Ireland team announced for Six Nations clash with Wales

CJ Stander charges forwards against Wales in last year's Six Nations

CJ Stander charges forwards against Wales in last year's Six Nations Credit reuters

That three teams, with leaders Wales in pole position, can still win the tournament with a round to go is a case for leaving rugby union's self-styled "greatest championship" well-enough alone.

Indeed it was one of the rare occasions the normally equable temperament of Schmidt's has evaporated, in public at least, at a press conference two days before the teams met in Dublin past year.

Gatland recounted in his book in 2017 how he informed Schmidt he would be dropping by the Ireland camp to see him - about being a coach on the prospective Lions tour to New Zealand that year, an offer he declined - and sit in on a team meeting.

That plan could be scuppered, however, if the Six Nations accept a reported investment offer from former Formula One owners CVC Capital Partners.

But when it comes to the men's game, things are more complicated, with England, Wales, and Ireland all having a chance to take the title.

Warren Gatland's squad are the only unbeaten team in the tournament with four victories to their name.

Eddie Jones has heaped pressure on Wales ahead of Saturday's Grand Slam showdown against Ireland by claiming they are "tired".

"We've named an unchanged squad and rewarded the players for the last couple of outings and the last couple of victories".

"There is bound to be a bit of emotion on Saturday and that is something to embrace".

For Ireland it's much of the same, with Joe Schmidt also set to walk away after rugby's showpiece in Japan.

For the visitors, Tadhg Beirne will make his Six Nations debut while Rob Kearney and Sean O'Brien return to the starting line-up. "I even get more of a buzz when people write us off, which has happened on a number of occasions before".

"They're well coached and I'm sure they'll handle it and if they do, then it doesn't matter for us as we have to play (Scotland). And they've got a lot to prove haven't they in the last game?"

The Scots are also on a run of three straight defeats this Championship.

Italy and France begin Saturday's action with only pride to play for in Rome.

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