Pre-tournament favourites Wales faced the upset of the weekend as they saw their hopes for the Grand Slam slip away to a formidable Ireland side, who on the back of their victory over Italy, m
Pre-tournament favourites Wales faced the upset of the weekend as they saw their hopes for the Grand Slam slip away to a formidable Ireland side, who on the back of their victory over Italy, may well be now seen as tournament favourites themselves if they overcome England.
The England team also managed to secure the Calcutta Cup, a yearly competition of Scotland vs England hosted at Murrayfield on even years and Twickenham on odd.
Ireland 26 – 3 Wales
Ireland managed to overcome a lackluster Wales as Ireland win their first two matches for the first time since their 2009 Grand Slam. Defeated Wales managed to pick up their only points of the match from a Halfpenny penalty, otherwise looking limp, lifeless, and tactically out done.
Before the match talk was dominated by Wales Boss Gatland’s choice to drop illustrious Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll, both denied there was any bad blood between them but one thing is for sure, O’Driscoll’s side came out this time on top making sure that Wales spent as little time as possible with the ball in hand.
Wales made some costly mistakes in a first half that saw Ulster flanker Chris Henry secure his first international try and kicker Jonathan Sexton managed to convert, adding again before the whistle. Sexton managed to also kick four penalties to add to his tally in the second half.
The second half try came towards the end of the match when Paddy Jackson managed to cross the line. The Irish points were rounded off with a Jackson conversion.
Scotland 0 – 20 England
England managed to recover from the shock loss against France to bounce back with a convincing win over neighbouring Scotland at Murrayfield. The victory will keep England’s hopes alive and set up an interesting tie with Ireland later in the month,
An early drop-goal from Danny Care set up the visitors before Luther Burrell managed to get his second international try in his second international match that was subsequently converted by England kicker Farrell. Farrell’s penalty later in the half meant that the visitors were 13-0 ahead at half-time.
It wasn’t all cheers for Farrell though as he managed to miss three penalties throughout the match. Farrell’s ability to handle pressure came under scrutiny during the previous Lions tour but the England 10 managed to claw back some pride as he duly converted following Mike Brown’s try on 60 minutes.
France 30 – 10 Italy
France maintained their winning streak with victory over Italy in a match marred by mistakes and cards. Both teams saw a man shown the red card with France losing Slimani and Italy Rizzo for fighting following a scrum. Italy also saw Vahaamina sin-binned moments after joining the play.
A fair dull first-half was over-powered by the all too familiar blow of the referee’s whistle but it was France who used the team talk to bounce back in the second half to overcome the Azzurri.
France kicker Jean-Marc Doussain was in excellent form as he managed to convert three times and score three penalties to rack up the France score.
The three French tries came from Louis Picamoles, Le Gueperd Wesley Fofana and debutant Hugo Bonneval in a match that made them appear far more clinical than their initial performance would have suggested.
Italy managed to salvage some pride towards the end to pull it back to 30-10 when Zebre winger Tommaso Iannone managed to bundle the ball over the try-line to see half-Scottish Tommy Allan convert. This added to the points notched up by Orquera from when the sides were tied.
Do you think Ireland can achieve the Grand Slam or will pre-tournament favourites Wales claw themselves back? Have your say in the comments section below.