The TikTok Women’s Six Nations 2023 is set for a grandstand finish, and it is not only the Championship that is up for grabs on ‘Super Saturday’.
England and France have both confirmed their qualification for WXV 1 ahead of their record-breaking Grand Slam decider at Twickenham, but there is much for the teams beneath them to play for this weekend.
Saturday’s results will determine where Wales, Scotland, Italy and Ireland line up in WXV when the new annual global tournament kicks off later this year.
And with movement likely across ‘Super Saturday’ we run through the permutations to see where each of those teams could end up.
Wales travel to Parma on Saturday knowing they need to secure a solitary point to secure their place in WXV 1, alongside England and France, for its first two editions.
Should Ioan Cunnigham’s side lose to the Azzurre and fail to secure a bonus point at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, however, that could open the door to Scotland, who play Ireland in the final match of the 2023 Championship.
In that scenario, Scotland would need to beat Ireland with a bonus-point and a winning margin wide enough to overhaul Wales’ superior points difference.
Wales head into the weekend with a points difference of -43, meaning even if they lose without a bonus point in Italy, there would need to be a 67-point swing for Scotland (-110) to pip them to a place in WXV 1.
Scotland begin the weekend in fourth in the standings, meaning they occupy the automatic qualification spot for WXV 2.
By the time they kick off against Ireland, they will know what they need to do to guarantee they are still there at the end of ‘Super Saturday’.
Should Italy lose to Wales in the earlier match then the Scots may only need a bonus point to confirm their place in the second tier later this year.
If Italy win without a bonus point, then Scotland must beat Ireland to be sure of fourth place.
However, if Italy earn all five match points against Wales, then things will become much closer heading into the final match and Scotland would need to secure a bonus-point victory to claim fourth place and their ticket to WXV 2.
Perhaps crucially, Italy will start Saturday’s action with a considerably better points difference than their Scottish rivals (-64 as opposed to -110).
That means a bonus-point win against Wales will almost certainly enable the Azzurre to leapfrog Scotland should Bryan Easson’s side beat Ireland without scoring four tries.
There is an outside chance that Ireland could climb above both Italy and Scotland, but it would need Italy to lose without a bonus point and for the Irish to then win with a bonus-point and a winning margin of 16 points or more at DAM Health Stadium, while denying their hosts a bonus point of their own.
Ireland have lost all four of their 2023 Women’s Six Nations matches to date without picking up any bonus points. However, they can still avoid the wooden spoon and a guaranteed place in WXV 3.
Regardless of the earlier result in Parma, Ireland will move above Scotland in the standings if they beat their hosts by a winning margin of 16 points or more, while scoring at least four tries and denying them a bonus point of their own.
As noted above, such a victory could catapult Ireland as high as fourth in the standings depending on the earlier result between Italy and Wales.
Should the Azzurre lose without a bonus point then Ireland would leapfrog them with a bonus-point win against Scotland in Edinburgh.
Italy, though, realistically only need to pick up a bonus point against Wales to avoid the wooden spoon given their points difference (-64) is far superior to both Scotland’s (-110) and Ireland’s (-141).
Whichever team finishes fifth will face a play-off against Rugby Europe Women’s Championship 2023 winners Spain for a place in WXV 2. The loser of that match will line up in WXV 3.