Round 2 is wrapped up and the table has started to take proper shape. Ireland and England remain joint at the top and Wales and Scotland will need to beat them in Round 3 to balance things out. The 3 matches were full of great rugby but were not without controversy. Re-live or catch-up on Round 2 below.
IRELAND 56 V ITALY 19
After 40 minutes, things looked dire indeed for the Italian visitors. 28 points to zero, and with the reputation of things only getting worse later in the game, it was a grim outlook for the men in blue. Ireland scored their first try around 10 minutes in and then just ran rampant. 4 tries and the excellent boot of Sexton, locked down the game before half-time.
But it wasn’t all glory for Ireland. Italy would not be humiliated and came close to securing their bonus point in the second half, scoring 3 tries which will certainly give coach Joe Schmidt something to think about. Given how tight the top of the table is now, this leaky defence could prove crucial.
Stand Out Players:
Robbie Henshaw: Two tries before being taken off injured early in the second half, this will be last chance to highlight Henshaw in this championship. Surgery on his shoulder has ruled him out for the rest of the tournament.
Tommaso Allan: For a second week, Parrisse wasn’t the most impressive player on the Italian side. Allan put a good defence of his selection with solid kicking, a try and resilience throughout the game.
ENGLAND 12 V WALES 6
The nerviest and most error-strewn game of the weekend, England v Wales was still a sight to behold. It was a dream start for England, when May went over after just two minutes for his first Six Nations try. He went over again thanks to a well-worked team try just over 15 minutes later, for what would be the last (allowed) try of the game.
The big talking point of the game was a TMO decision to rule a wild scramble for the ball between Anscombe and Watson as a no try. That wasn’t the end of the welsh misery. Scott Williams was inches from scoring when replacement Sam Underhill somehow pulled the diving player into touch. Wales kept up the pressure in the second half but errors and a solid English defence meant it was never enough. England keep their home record and remain on target for their record-breaking streak of 3 championships in a row.
Stand Out Players:
Jonny May: Instrumental on the board and the pitch, May had a cracking game showing how his pace and ability to finish means he’s a starter.
Gareth Anscombe: Filled in some big boots for Leigh Halfpenny who was ruled out that morning due to an infection and continued to impress when switched to 10. He kept Wales within touching distance of turning the game around.
SCOTLAND 32 V FRANCE 26
After being hammered by Wales in Cardiff, Scotland had a point to prove in their first home game of the Championship. They didn’t start proving that point for a while as Teddy Thomas scored a remarkable try after just two minutes of game time. Scotland would not regain the lead until they were into the final ten minutes. But chasing the game made for easily the most entertaining match to watch of the weekend, as the teams remained within a score of each other up to the final whistle.
After four tries in the first half (two for each side), the second remained tryless but still riveting. Whether Scotland forced the errors or France caved, six second-half penalties are what won Scotland the game with Laidlaw maintaining a 100% accuracy record.
Stand Out Players:
Greig Laidlaw: The saviour of Murrayfield, Laidlaw was righfully recognised as MOTM after kicking Scotland to victory.
Teddy Thomas: One of the most dangerous players to allow any amount of space, Thomas nearly put the game to bed before it began for Scotland.