It was a momentous day for the Scots, as they won their first game against Wales for a decade. The win also sets the scene for a long-awaited Triple Crown showdown at HQ on the 11th March. Scotland’s form, whilst still far from the finished article, shows a new confidence and energy that has eluded the team since it last won the Five Nations in 1999.
Wales took a marginal lead at half time, but Scotland’s ingenuity and high spiritedness overwhelmed Wales in the second half, dominating possession and keeping Wales firmly off the scoreboard. Man of the Match, Finn Russell, kicked meticulously and Barclay stepped into Laidlaw’s captaincy boots with decisive impact.
It was not a good day for Welsh rugby, with the result likely to lead to a slip in World Rugby rankings which will determine Rugby World Cup 2019’s pool group draws. And we all know how that turned out last time this happened…
France kicked off the match against the Irish with a fabulously French flourish, but it wasn’t long until fatigue took hold, leaving Ireland to assume control of the match. Conor Murray put in a Man of the Match performance, and the Irish certainly benefited from the return of talisman Sexton.
The win keeps Ireland’s dreams of a tournament title alive, and a victory in Cardiff next round would set the platform for a classic clash against Grand Slam seekers, England.
It proved an interesting game at Twickenham on Sunday, and “ruck-gate” was the name of the game. Italy’s cunning, yet controversial, tactic of not committing to the breakdown (thus allowing Italians to be legally offside and disrupting England’s attacking options) left the hosts dazed and confused for the opening minutes of the game, forcing Haskell and Hartley to seek unprecedented rule book clarification from match referee, Romain Poite. It was a bizarre spectacle for us home viewers, and pundits were divided on whether O’Shea should be applauded or reprimanded. Eddie Jones was livid, condeming the Italians of not playing rugby.
Despite Italy’s mischievous half time lead, England composed themselves for a fight back, scoring 5 tries after the break, securing the critical try bonus point against the Azzuri visitors.
Whatever your views, the game play certainly avoided a score sheet wipeout and there is no argument that Italy had to try something to justify their ongoing presence in the tournament.
The men in white could finally breathe a sign of relief: their winning streak remains in tact with only Scotland and Ireland standing in their way to Grand Slam glory.
1. England 13pts
2. Ireland 10pts
3. Scotland 9pts
4. Wales 5pts
5. France 5pts
6. Italy 0pts
It’s another break next weekend, but RBS6Nations action kicks off again on the 10th March as Wales host Ireland in Cardiff!