Two Rounds to Go
Check out our Review of Round 2 here
Just four points separate the top 3 teams in the 6 Nations, with just 160 minutes for each team left to play. Italy remain on 0 points despite some clever tactics while Wales and France will have to fight to reach the top 3. England have continued their unstoppable streak while Scotland and Ireland lurk just behind them.
It was a Round of surprises and comebacks, and as the competition drives past the half way mark, the possibilities of who can win have narrowed.
What the 2017 6 Nations Look in Numbers
Check out our review of the action below:
Scotland 29 – Wales 13
Scotland are starting to set their eyes on silverware after another victory at Murrayfield. It was their first win in 9 matches against the Welsh but it wasn’t a great start for the home team. The first half saw Wales dominating the proceedings in what had the potential to be a drubbing. An early try from the continually impressive Liam Williams gave the Welsh confidence but they were unable to properly capitalise on their pressure. The home team was lucky to just be 4 points behind Wales’s 13.
The second half, however, was a different story. Scotland took charge of the game with Russell capitalising on every conversion and penalty he was handed, scoring 19 points himself. Wales were denied a comeback whose try saving tackle kept Scotland in the clear. Visser later grabbed a try of his own in one of his best displays for Scotland to date.
Wales now have a big task on their hands to get in the top 3, with games against Ireland and France still to play. But could this be the year for Scotland? England are up next at Twickenham and will be the biggest challenge yet, but the men in blue have given themselves a strong chance.
Stand Out Players
Finn Russell – Russell will be happy to put memories of that rushed conversion in Round 2 to bed with this stellar performance.
Liam Williams – Top of the table for clean breaks in the championship, teams are having a very hard time locking Williams down. The stand out Welsh player of the tournament so far.
Ireland 19 – France 9
Ireland continue to improve with their first home game of the tournament. In the end, this was perhaps the closest game of the weekend as France continue to show signs of their real potential. France led early as the boot of Camille Lopez that brought ruin for Scotland in Paris, continued to be lethal. But Ireland had their own kicking talisman back from a calf injury and Sexton put in a great performance, including the first drop goal of the tournament.
Thanks to a knock on, a France team try was disallowed and Ireland held a 1 point lead at half-time. The next 40 minutes proved more productive for the home side. While they were unable to get a try by the French in the second half, the Irish stayed ahead with some solid kicking and scrambling defence.
Stand Out Players
Johnny Sexton – A great return for the Fly-half, Sexton created a lot of opportunities as well as reliably getting the ball between the posts.
Louis Picamoles – Still one of the best players of the tournament so far. Picamoles and Spedding led by example in this match.
England 36 – Italy 15
Last year against Italy, England led by two points at half-time. This year they were down by five. Had Italy been able to hold onto that lead it would have been the biggest upset since Japan beat the Springboks in the Rugby World Cup. Luckily for England, they did not.
As clear underdogs, Italy came to Twickenham with some ruck tactics that managed to confuse and anger the England team and management for the first 40 minutes. By not committing anyone to a ruck after a tackle, Italy were able to have every man on the line and made the offside rule irrelevant.
Coupled with the fact that Farrell had a bad day at the office, it was enough to put England off their stride and gain Italy the lead at the break. But after what must have been a fairly stern talking to from Eddie Jones, England came out and performed like we have come to expect. England ended up scoring 21 points in the last 10 minutes, enough to secure them their bonus point and continue their record-breaking winning streak. But this stumble and relatively low score against Italy could prove costly in the unlikely case that the tournament comes down to point difference.
England are well on their way to back Grand Slams but a game against Scotland next at Twickenham could prove trickier than anyone thought before the tournament started.
Stand Out Players
Michele Campagnaro – The Exter Chiefs centre has had a great season and this game reflected that.
Jack Nowell – The energy Nowell brings to the field is palpable and he seems to make something of space every time he’s granted it.