6 Nations 2016 – Round 3 Review

The Story So Far

There is always the potential for the 6 Nations to be full of surprises and this year after three Rounds, it already is. After looking back at previous Championships, we wanted to see how 2016 had differed so far from recent years.

The biggest change of course is Ireland only having one point from their first three games. After winning the Championship narrowly for the previous two years they are now in a position where coming in the Top 3 will be a real challenge.

Ireland were left dejected after losing a 13 point lead to draw against Wales in Round 1

Conversely, the expectations for England were relatively low. While they remained the odds favourites, people assumed that with little time under new coach, Eddie Jones, that England may not be so dominant this year. After 3 wins from 3 and only 1 try conceded, they are now the team to beat.

Check out the rest of our 2016 Championship Stats so far below:

6-Nations-Infographic-2016-(rnd1-3)

Worth Noting

Jonanthan Joseph only needs one more try to match his count last year.

Scotland fans will be relieved to see some points on the board before the tournament is even over, after ending their nine 6 Nation loss streak against Italy.

Billy Vunipola has been a stand out player of the tournament so far.

Greig Laidlaw continues to excel at getting points on the board after being one of the highest scorers in the Rugby World Cup.


Round 3

A lot was riding in Round 3. Wales and France fought to remain in the running for the title,  Scotland were fighting to avoid a double digit loss streak and England v Ireland was set to be a new level of challenge for Eddie Jones’s side. It made for a great weekend of rugby!

Wales 19 v France 10

The French record against Wales in recent years, especially in Cardiff, is not the strongest. But after the French had ground out a victory against Ireland, something Wales had failed to do in the first round, it was a tough game to call.

Sadly it was one of the sloppier games of the tournament. While there were certainly highlights, both teams have been criticised by fans and viewers after the final whistle. The clumsiness was typified by George North’s try which could have been great but ended up being scored through luck and some bad football from Jules Plisson.

The highlight of the game though was the solid Welsh defence which was water tight for over 10 minutes of intense French pressure. It was the most impressive feat of the night and what may give them the edge in their Round 4 fixture with England. France meanwhile will take on a Scotland team brimming with confidence after a win in Rome.

Stand out Players:

J Davies: After nearly not playing due to a groin injury, Davies made himself very useful to the Wales team and played a key role setting up North’s try.

G Guirado: Many called it a Man of the Match performance for the young French Captain if it wasn’t for the fact his team lost. Solidified his role as Captain.


Italy 20 v Scotland 36

Often billed as the Battle for the Wooden Spoon, Scotland and Italy are creating a new pattern of upsetting each other while away from home. While last year saw Scotland narrowly lose many games in the 6 Nations, the last minute home loss to Italy stung the Scottish players and fans the most. The game this year started with a clear intent from the Scots to avenge that loss.

Scotland scored and converted two great tries in the opening 15 minutes and by the time the first half ended, it looked as though Scotland had the game locked down.

It appears to never be that simple for Scotland however. They received two yellow cards in the second half and thanks to the unusually sure boot of Kelly Haimona and yet more magic from Italian talisman, Parisse, Italy clung to the game.

However, unlike in Scotland last nine 6 Nations losses, they closed out the game in style and scored another try to put the game to bed. Could this lead to a change in fortune for the eternally ‘unlucky’ side?

Stand out Players:

S Hogg: Is in great form for Scotland at the moment and played vital roles in two of the Scottish tries, including a ludicrous offload to Seymour for the try that sealed the game.

K Haimona: After a fair amount of ridicule last year for an extremely poor kicking record, Haimona scored half of the Italians points. Which surprised a few people:


England 21 v Ireland 10

What had been anticipated as one of the most important games of the Championship before things kicked off this year had changed after Round 1 and 2. Still hotly anticipated, the game was now about Ireland survival in the tournament and England’s road to the Grand Slam. A situation not many had predicted.

It was also Eddie Jones’s first game with his new England side at Twickenham and he will be relieved to have started with a win. England dominated most of the first half and and Ireland looked to be beaten by half time.

Ireland saw more of the ball in the second half however, new caps impressed and the Irish team became the first to get a try past Paul Gustard’s English defence.  But it was not to be for Ireland, England widened the gap again thanks to a try from Brown and Ireland were unable to strike back.

The game was the most controversial of the Championship so far. Two tries were disallowed, both of which could have potentially been ruled OK on a different day or by a different referee. There was also allegations of stamping after Mike Brown’s boot caught Conor Murray’s face as he tried to kick the ball out a ruck. While it does look unintentional, many felt strongly that it was reckless but Brown has not been cited. Hopefully it won’t be a discussion that needs to happen again in Round 4 or 5.

Stand out Players:

B Vunipola: Is the player most improved under Jones’s coaching. An absolute wrecking ball and we’ve yet to see an opposition in the 6 Nations control him.

J Sexton: Silenced his critics with a more assured and dynamic performance than we have seen for some time.


WHAT’S NEXT?

Round 4 kicks off on the 12th of March. Who are your favourties to win the trophy? Let us know over on Twitter or Facebook.

Check out the remaining Fixtures.

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