From what we’ve seen in the first two weekends of action, this year’s Six Nations tournament will surely be one for the books.
Following victories for France, Scotland and Wales in week one, all eyes were on Italy, England and Ireland as they looked to rebound in order to avoid another dent to each of their respective title chances.
In week two, England took on Italy, as Owen Farrell and co. aimed to avoid another shock defeat that would have severely dented their title chances. Wales went up against Scotland, with both sides in high spirits following their victories in week one, and to wrap up the weekend, the French looked to assert their position as title favourites in their game against the Irish.
England 41-18 Italy
The reigning Six Nations champions bounced back from their defeat to Scotland in week one and inflicted Italy’s second defeat of the tournament, but the Italians didn’t make it easy for the English.
Monty Ioane got the Italians off to a dream start with a try in the opening few minutes, but England were quick to overturn that early scare, as Jonny Hill and Anthony Watson crossed to score their first tries of the tournament.
With England finding their rhythm at last, May must have been watching the Super Bowl last weekend as he produced an NFL-esque move to put England in the driving seat. The England wing leapt over a tackle and scored in spectacular fashion.
In the second-half, England kept the momentum going with an intercept try from Watson, which earned England a bonus point in the overall rankings.
The Italians didn’t give up hope, however, as Tommaso Allan scored the visitor’s second try of the game, before Elliot Daly crossed shortly after to all-but seal England’s first win of the tournament.
England grew a lot more comfortable as the game went on and looked like they had their groove back as they prepare for a must-win game against Wales in a fortnight.
Despite some moments of promise during the game, Italy have now lost 29 consecutive Six Nations matches. The Azzurri will face another tough test against Ireland in two weeks' time.
Scotland 24-25 Wales
In an end-to-end affair, the Welsh maintained their 100% start to the tournament with a hard-fought win over Scotland, who put up a solid fight despite being a man down for most of the second half.
The Scots picked up where they left off against England and took a 17-8 half-time lead. Darcy Graham and Scotland captain Stuart Hogg both crossed to ensure a perfect start to the game for the hosts.
The second half was a very different story, though. Seven minutes of chaos for the Scots saw a disallowed try and more significantly, the sending-off of Zander Ferguson. Wales thus pounced in this seven minutes and crossed twice between Ferguson’s dismissal.
Despite going a man down, Scotland continued to test the resilient Welsh, as the hosts were only behind for eight minutes thanks to second try of the game from Hogg.
Scotland’s captain may have thought that would be the decider, but the Welsh took advantage of being a man up, getting their winner following a phenomenal effort by Louis Rees-Zammit with just over 10 minutes to play.
The game could have gone either way in the latter stages, and while the Scots were at a disadvantage as a result of the red card, they can go into their next game against France with their heads held high after another impressive performance.
Wales ensured they will go into week three with a 100% start to their Six Nations campaign, with the English next on their promising road to glory.
Ireland 13-15 France
In their second straight away game, France made it two wins from two as they brushed aside Ireland to finish week two at the top of the table. The Irish now have two losses from two as their title chances took a huge blow at the Aviva Stadium
The Irish got the first points of the game from a Billy Burns penalty, before French captain Charles Ollivon got the party started for the visitors as he crossed following some slick play from the French ensemble.
A 10-3 France lead at half-time set the tone perfectly for the current tournament favourites coming into the final 40 minutes, and the visitors showed absolutely no signs of slowing down.
Damian Penaud crossed 14 minutes into the second half to put the game further out of Ireland’s reach. However, the hosts were not going down without a fight, as Ronan Kelleher crossed and Ross Byrne converted three minutes after France’s try, which sparked a sense of urgency into the Irish.
The hosts, who were 3-15 down on the 54th minute, then reduced the deficit to 13-15 with a quarter of an hour remaining thanks to a penalty from Byrne.
Although the Irish showed heart in the latter stages of the game, France fended off some late pressure from the hosts to ultimately seal the victory.
France are now eyeing a third straight win when they take on Scotland at the end of the month, while Ireland must win their next game against Italy if they are to have any hope of challenging for the title.
France lead the way after week two, just ahead of Wales on point difference.
Italy are still pointless and winless at the bottom of the table, while Ireland are not pointless, but also winless after two games.
England and Scotland are both split 1-1 after the second week of action, as they, along with Ireland and Italy, need nothing short of a perfect rest of the campaign in order to keep their title hopes alive.
Two weeks down, three to go.News Now - Sport News