We Have A Winner
While we knew it was possible, it almost seemed unlikely that everything would go according to plan when it came to England claiming the 6 Nations title by the end of Round 4. But so it was, Wales showed up to see off Ireland and England demolished Scotland meaning they are a clear and unreachable 8 points ahead of second placed Ireland.
The rest of the table is extremely tight and the race for 2nd place is on. Round 4 was an exciting and thrilling contest packed full of tries and it gave England their second 6 Nations title in a row.
Check out our Review of Round 4 here.
Wales 22 – Ireland 9
A close and tense affair in Cardiff has put Wales back in contention for second place. It was a close match for nearly the whole match before a late try from Roberts put Wales out of reach of a frustrated Irish side.
Wales held onto a narrow lead throughout the second half thanks mainly to their solid defence, a bit of luck and some clumsy errors from Ireland. The visitors had the chance to pull ahead with a maul that was set to go over the line but were denied it when referee, Wayne Barns, ruled Henshaw’s late joining of the maul as illegal. Wales will be glad to have avoided losing to each of the other home nations and it was a more reassuring performance from a side that will be hoping to have a few men picked for the Lions.
Wales and Ireland both have tough games to claim second place next weekend, as Wales travel to Paris and Ireland host England.
Stand Out Players
George North: Back to his best this week in Cardiff. North was positionally perfect to end two great Welsh tries.
CJ Stander: A constant danger to the Welsh defence, Stander had some great runs that would often distract 3 players as they attempted to bring him down.
Italy 18 – France 40
A hugely contentious match, the Giuseppe Garibaldi Cup tie is one of Italy’s most hopeful fixtures at home having won it in 2011 and 2012 but it was France who claimed the honour this year. Again it was a bright start for the Azzuri who have performed well in their first halves in this tournament. An early try from Parisse had the hosts in high spirits. If Italy are able to hold that sort of compusure for a full 80 minutes they will become a team worthy of being in the 6 Nations.
In the second half however, France really opened up the home side, securing their bonus point. They did let their guard down in the final minutes, safely 29 points ahead, as Italy got the last try of the game. A small consolation for the home crowd.
Stand Out Players
Sergio Parisse: A great game for the Italian captain who got a try for himself. Some slick passing opened up France in the first half.
Virimi Vakatawa: A performance that reminded us what this huge winger can do, some fantastic runs made him a stand out player on the field.
England 61 – Scotland 21
Despite what the stats said and the history of Scottish performances at Twickenham, this match had been hyped as the title decider or the first Triple Crown for Scotland since 1990. It was not going to be a close game however. A shocking start for Scotland only got worse as England achieved a stunning record breaking victory overt the visitors.
From the off, Scotland lost Fraser Brown to the Sin Bin and England pounced and didn’t stop going after the Scottish try line until the final whistle blew. Matters were only made worse when Scottish talisman, Stuart Hogg was taken off injured to be replaced by Mark Bennett who was taken off minutes later, injured. The Scots were in disarray and England were clinical in exploiting the situation. And as Scotland scrambled to get some sort of gameplan together they knew that the impressive English bench hadn’t even been unleashed.
Only Huw Jones for Scotland offered any optimism with a fantastic performance but it wasn’t nearly enough.
This was an England performance not only deserving of a 6 Nations and Calcutta Cup win but also of matching the World Record set by the All Blacks for games won in a row. With a Grand Slam and a chance to set a new record on the table in Dublin, their still plenty of incentive for this English team to finish on a high next weekend.
Stand Out Players
Jonathan Joseph: His best performance so far this year, Scotland were totally unable to lock Joseph down who tore through their porous defence time and again. An incredible hat-trick scoring performance.
Huw Jones: Late in the second half he sometimes looked like the only Scottish player who believed they could bring it back. Two tries and a try saving tackle made him Scotland’s man of the match.
Super Saturday is just one week away! Who will claim the second place spot? Can England make it two Grand Slams in a row? Let us know in the comments or over on Twitter or Facebook. Plus tell us what player you think will make it into the British and Irish Lions here.