The penultimate weekend of the Six Nations saw fierce rivals England and Wales face-off with England hoping to collect the Triple Crown.
The penultimate weekend of the Six Nations saw fierce rivals England and Wales face-off with England hoping to collect the Triple Crown. The weekend would also determine whether England or Wales would be able to keep up with the pace set by Ireland as we head into the final week, with the teams level on points.
Ireland 46 – 7 Italy
Rock-bottom Italy were never going to enjoy their encounter with Ireland and were well and truly beaten. The Azzurri never looked like beating Ireland and a Sexton try and conversion put them 7-0 behind in the first 10 minutes.
However 15 minutes later they were able to get themselves on the score sheet when Sarto beat three defenders on the left to score a try which Orquera duly converted making it 7-7.
Ireland struck again through a Sexton penalty after 32 minutes to make it 10-7 and Ireland never really looked back. Trimble struck on the 38th minute when O’Driscoll set him up for the try which was converted by Sexton making it 17-7 at half-time.
It only took 13 minutes of the second half for Ireland to further the Italian woes when Healy made it 22-7 for Sexton to miss. The Fly-half made up for it though on the hour mark making it 27-7.
Further Irish points came from a Cronin try converted by Paddy Jackson, McFadden’s try and Jackson’s second conversion made it 41-7 with McGrath finishing off Italy with a try.
If Ireland can overturn France next round England will not only have to win but beat their score by more than 50 in order to secure the Six Nations crown.
Scotland 17 – 19 France
After a torrid display for Italy neither Scotland or France really had anything to play for other than pride. It wasn’t long however for the game to get going and after just 2 minutes of play France took the lead through a Machenaud penalty.
Just 9 minutes later they extended their lead to six through a second Machenaud penalty, only for Scotland to pull it back to 5-6 as Hogg capitalised on an opportunity from a penalty for Weir to poke them into the lead with a conversion making it 7-6.
Their lead did not last long though and France were back in front after 3 minutes when Machenaud scored another penalty to make it 7-9 only for a Scottish try from Seymour and conversion by Laidlaw made it 14-9 a scoreline that remained until half-time.
France notched their first try in the second-half when Huget got the ball from their own 22 and managed to sprint 85-yards uncontested to sail over the line setting up Machenaud to make it 14-16 from the kick. Scotland were able to reply through a Weir penalty who had to deputise from Laidlaw.
A 79th minute penalty from Doussain allowed the game to end 17-19 and Scotland will feel as though they threw it away.
England 29 – 18 Wales
England exceeded expectations to overcome Wales following last year’s humbling loss. In a game that was likely to be decided on kicks rather than tries, Wales went into the game at Twickenham facing a tough challenge.
It was England who struck first blood when a 5th minute penalty saw Care break through and dive over the line un-pressured. It was then 7-0 as Lion’s kicker Farrell was able to convert. It didn’t take long for Wales to reply and on 9 minutes they were off the mark with a Halfpenny kick.
After 19 minutes it looked like the prediction of a game of kicks would become true as Farrell made it 10-3 before Halfpenny replied to make it 10-6 only for Farrell to make it 13-6 and Halfpenny pulling it back again to 13-9.
The kicking was broken up slightly when Luther Burrell was able to get onto the end of Twelvetrees kick into the corner to make it 18-9. Farrell converted the kick. After that it became a game where any score looked like it could come from kicks until 76 minutes when England thought they’d scored again, only for the ref to deem that Burrell’s foot was in touch.
Final score 29-18 with 6 penalties from Halfpenny and 7 kicks from Farrell. Things seem to have gone from bad to worse for the Welsh as it has since been announced that the talismanic Leigh Halfpenny will be out injured for the rest of the season.
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