Ireland kicked off the second round of the Six Nations with a big win over Italy. in Dublin Ireland had the bonus point for the four tries wrapped up before half time. Jacob Stockdale and Robbie Henshaw went over twice each in an eight try deomoliton running out 56-19 winners in the end.
It was a closer affair at Twickenham. England got off to a blistering start against Wales with two tries for Johnny May giving England an early 12-0 lead. The big talking point was Gareth Ainscombe’s disallowed try. He looked to have scored but the video referee determined the Welshman had not got downward pressure. As a result Wales were chasing the game in the second half and met some superb England defence. Ainscombe struck a second half penalty to reduce the deficit to 12-6 but they could not find the winning score as England held on for victory.
On Sunday the final game at Murrayfield was end to end in the first half as Scotland and France shared four tries. Sean Maitland and Huw Jones went over for the Scots while in form Teddy Thomas scored both the first half tries for the French. The second half became more attritional as the kicking game became more important and the Scots fitness and forward control came into play. The penalties racked up against France and Greg Laidlaw kicked Scotland into the lead eventually ending up with 22 points as France ran out of steam and Scotland bounced back from defeat in Wales to win 32-26 and keep their impressive form at home going.
Wales kicked off the six nations and got off to a perfect start against Scotland in Cardiff. Full back Leigh Halfpenny starred with 2 tries and 24 total points. Gareth Davies and Stefan Evans got the other tries in a convincing 34-7 win against a Scottish side who did not live up to the hype after their impressive Autumn showing.
Ireland won in Paris after a dramatic finish against the French. Ireland looked in control for most of the game but the conditions were difficult and the French did enough to stay in touch in a game riddled with errors. France took the lead for the first time thanks to an excellent try from Teddy Thomas as France led 13-12. However in the final play Ireland inched into drop goal range and Johnny Sexton dropped the winning goal from the half way line to give Ireland a rare Paris win they must have thought they had thrown away.
Finally in Rome England got their expected win over Italy. Italy stayed in the game up to around half way into the second half but England then cut loose in the last 20 minutes to run out easy 46-15 winners. Anthony Watson and Sam Simmons got two tries each as England went over seven times by the final whistle. Italy have talent but simply don’t have enough to keep it going for the whole game. England march on as they look for their third straight Six Nations title.
New Zealand started their Rugby Championship campaign by thrashing Australia in Sydney. The All Blacks came out of the blocks fast and delivered a blistering first half. Rieko Ioane and Ryan Crotty scored two tries each as New Zealand raced into a 40-6 lead at half time.
Australia made a game of it with three tries in the second half, but further tires from Damian McKenzie and Ben Smith took New Zealand over 50 points to complete a 54-34 win. The two meet again in New Zealand next week.
South Africa got their rugby Championship campaign off to a winning start scoring four tries to beat Argentina in Port Elizabeth. It was a tight first half with Argentina taking an early lad through a Martin Landajo try, but two penalties from the boot of Elton Jantjies and a try from Courtnall Skosan gave the Springboks a 13-5 half time lead.
From there they took control of the set piece and dominated the second half. Three more tries from Raymond Rhule, Siya Kolisi and Pieter-Steph du Toit enabled the hosts to run away with it in the second half eventually winning 37-15 and claiming the four try bonus point in the process. A good start for the Springboks who head to Argentina for Round 2 next week.
Georgia were looking at a potential shock defeat as Spain led 10-3 at half time in Medina Del Campo. Tries from Giorgi Tkhilaishvili and test debutante Soso Matiashvili eventually saw the Six nations B Champions home 20-10. Romania comfortably saw off Russia 30-10 with the pick of the tries being Jody Rose’s interception try going 40 yards to complete the score. Belgium found themselves 21-0 down against Germany but threatened an unlikely comeback when Andy Williams went over to close the gap to just 5, however a try from Jaco Otto secured the victory for Germany who have two wins out of three.
The USA are the Americas Rugby Champions for the first time in a thrilling decider against Argentina. David Tameilau went over from a driving maul to give the USA a surprise 15-3 lead. However two penalty tries brought Argentina back into it and when full back Gabriel Ascarte went over in the corner Argentina had a 12 point lead. Cam Dolan got a try six minutes from time to bring the American back within a score it but they still needed a converted try to level and take the title. Tameilau was the hero breaking a tackle to score from close range for his second try, Ben Cima nailed the conversion for a 27-27 draw and due to previous bonus points it was enough for the USA to win the title for the first time.
In the other final games Freitas Alleges and Leivas Ballestrino got two tires each as Uruguay comfortably thrashed Chile 45-14, Chile finish bottom of the table. Finally Brazil scored an impressive upset win over Canada 24-23 in another tight finish. Winger Ze Tranqez got the winning score in the very last minute to give Brazil victory in Sao Paulo.
Scotland improvement continues with impressive win
Scotland’s improvement in recent times continued with a big win over Wales, their first in a decade. A Liam Williams try helped give Wales a 13-9 lead at half time but Scotland fought back. Tommy Seymour and Tim Visser went over and excellent defense helped them shut out Wales in the second half. The Welsh never recovered from confusion with the game ties 13-13 and they had a kickable penalty but indecision led them going to the corner from which they failed to score. Finn Russell kicked 5 penalties as Scotland went on to win 29-13 and set up the chance to win a triple crown, if they can win at Twickenham.
Despite a good start from France, Ireland played a controlled and disciplined game to claim the win and keep their championship hopes alive. France took a 6-0 lead but Connor Murray’s try, the only one of the game, gave Ireland the lead at half time. Ireland played an excellent territorial game in the second half with 2 penalties and a drop goal from Johnny Sexton helping Ireland complete a 19-9 victory that will not live long in the memory but shows how far Ireland have come as a side from that poor first game in Scotland.
Italy came to Twickenham with a new tactic of not competing at the ruck to stop the application of an offside line which caused chaos amongst the England side in the first half. The tactics set up by Italy coach Connor O’Shea saw Italy take a shock 10-5 lead as Giovanbattista Venditti reacted first to a kick that hit the post to score just before half time. England solved the issue in the second half by exploiting the space down the middle. Tries from Danny Care, Ben T’eo, Elliott Daly and two from Jack Nowell saw England run away with the win, their 16th in a row, in the end and keep their attempt at back to back Grand Slams on track.
Georgia began the defense of their Six Nations B title with a comfortable 31-6 victory over newly promoted Belgium. Giorgi Tkhilashvili and Giorgi Koshadze went over to give the defending champions a commanding 17-0 lead at half time, two more second half tries saw Georgia easisy home. Germany scored an upset victory over Romania in a thrilling contest. Romania lead 38-27 going into the final 10 minutes but tries from Dash Barber, his second of the game, and Marcel Cotezee six minutes from time completed the comeback for Germany to claim their first win against the Romanians for 70 years. Finally Spain got off to a winning start against Russia. Mathieu Belie got the only try of the game for the Spanish as they won the game 16-6.
Favourites Argentina got their second bonus point victory of the Championshp with an easy 57-12 thrashing of Uruguay. Sebastan Cancellier got a hat trick in a nine try demolition in Bahia Blanca. The USA also made it two out of two with Lock Tony Lamborn going over twice as part of eight tries in a 51-3 thrashing of Brazil. The final game saw Canada get their first win of the championship over Chile. Left winger Taylor Paris got a hat trick of tries to help Canada to a 36-15 victory.
Ireland got their six nations back on track after defeat to Scotland by thrashing Italy in Rome. CJ Stander and Kieth Earls scored two tries a piece as Ireland took a 28-10 stranglehold by half time. As Italy tired more tries came in the second half, Stander completed his hat trick and Craig Gilmore also got a second half hat trick as Ireland ran in nine tries by the end, all converted by Paddy Jackson ending in a 63-10 scoreline with Ireland looking more like the side that beat New Zealand in the summer.
For the second week in a row England left it late to come from behind against Wales in Cardiff. A smartly worked set piece allowed Luke Williams to go over to give Wales a 13-8 lead at the break. However despite much possession Wales could not take much advantage early in the second half with excellent English defense frustrating them. Two Owen Farrell penalties brought England within two and with three minutes left, Jonathan Davies failed to clear his lines after good Welsh defensive work to turnover the ball, it allowed England to counter and Elliott Daly was put clear on the left wing and was able to go over for the decisive score. Farrell converted and England maintain their unbeaten run to 15 games and remain on track for back to back grand slams.
France has earned a close fought victory against Scotland in Paris with the scrum being the key to victory. Scotland took an early lead as Stuart Hogg went over to score a try in his fourth straight international. France hit back with a wonderful try going through 18 phases with eventually Gael Fickou going over in the corner. Some poor decision making allowed Scotland back in with two penalties from Finn Russell leaving Scotland just two points down at half time. A Camille Lopes penalty made it 16-11 but Scotland leveled after a long kick bounced kindly and allowed space for Tim Swinson to score under the posts, however Russell bizarrely missed the kick which would have given Scotland the lead. The French then began to take control with the scrum dominating and winning penalties. Lopez landed two more to take France to a 22-16 lead and then used their power to run down the clock and seal the victory. It means only England can now win the Grand Slam as every other side has lost at least one game.