Round 1 Catch Up.
France v Wales
France started the first half like a new born team forgetting about all the issues from the November tests. Playing an expansive game in the pouring rain and dominating Wales giving them no time on the ball and when they did get time then made stupid unforced handling errors. Coming into the second half you would have expected France to continue on with how they were playing well you would be wrong. It looks like France decided to leave the building to celebrate at half time. Wales took advantage of this and put 24 point on them in the second half with France only able to get 3 points leaving the score 19-24 in the end.
Scotland v Italy
Scotland were the dominant team for nearly this whole game with Finn Russell, Sam Johnson and Blair Kinghorn the stand out players in the game. Italy’s defense looked rather flimsy for most of the game. Scotland did shutdown after the 60-minute mark letting Italy score 3 tries in just under ten minutes to give this game a much more respectful look at 33-20 as the final score.
Ireland v England
England started this game at an electric pace and didn’t really let that drop for the whole match. Their speed in the defensive line was suffocating the Irish attack not really giving them any space or time with ball. It was a close match until just after the 60-minute mark once again then Ireland started making both forced and unforced errors giving England the opportunity to seal the game with 2 tries in the last 20-minutes. Neither team played particularly bad but it was the Englishmen who came to Dublin with an amazing winning performance with the game ending 20-32.
- France showed some serious potential in that first of the game and if they can find where they went wrong in the second half they could be a serious problem for any team in the six nations.
- Wales looked lost in the first half of this game and didn’t look like the real deal until Dan Biggar came on and really sealed this game off from France to me Biggar is still the number 1 outhalf for Wales.
- Finn Russell is truly the gem that is Scottish rugby at the moment at the moment. Shining in the Top 14 with Racing 92 and bringing that same performance to Scotland on the weekend kicking and passing as if he was never under pressure. He isn’t the only reason for this Scottish win but he certainly brought it all together.
- Italy don’t get enough credit for how they are playing they are a much improved from the Italy of old but sadly as Italy have been developing at a consistent rate the likes of Scotland and Ireland have come on leaps and bounds. Saying this Italy do need to do more but they are not a team that is going backwards performance wise.
- England have shut down Ireland’s attack with amazing line speed and dominant tackles not letting Ireland time to build their usual phases together. What I did really notice is that Eddie Jones has figured out how to cancel out the Jonny Sexton loop play by using a darting umbrella defence to shut down his outside options. If Scotland learn to do this Ireland could be in trouble.
- After the first round this competition really has lived up to its name with all the teams putting pressure on each other with last years grand slam holders all ready denied from winning a back to back. At this stage I don’t think we will see a grand slam winner this year but if we do then to me they will be the favourite from the northern hemisphere for the 2019 world cup.
Few major injuries suffered this weekend, so here is a list of who got injured and who are carrying minor injuries:
Maro Itoje (MCL injury) 6-8 weeks out.
CJ Stander (fractured cheek bone and eye socket) 4 weeks out.
Devin Toner (ankle injury) out this week at least.
Gary Ringrose (hamstring) out this week.
Julien Marchand (knee injury) not much news has been released other than it could be serious at this stage.
Keith Earls (hip stinger) minor injury, 50/50 whether he will play this week.
Guilhem Guirado (knee and pride) minor injury, should feature this week.
Yoann Huget (hand and pride) minor injury, will (but shouldn’t) feature this week.
Round 2 Preview
Scotland v Ireland 10/02/19 12:15am (AEDT) – Scotland will be preparing to jump on a wounded Ireland. To me this game can go two ways; Ireland turn up rattled and lose or Ireland come back like the All Black do after a defeat, and that is win and win well.
Italy v Wales 10/02/19 02:45am(AEDT)- I see this only going one way and that’s a Wales win. Warren Gatland is treating the away legs of the 6 Nations like a World Cup – no returning home to train instead traveling to Nice, France for training before traveling to Rome Friday.
England v France 11/02/19 01:00am (AEDT)– If France turn up to Twickenham and play like they did in the first 40 minutes, then this could be an interesting game. I think England will be too strong for any France team and run through them with ease.