Six Nations Round up

Six Nations Round up

By Callum Corbett

 

Opening weekend wins for Wales and France as they put forward their arguments for the Six Nations crown.

 

 Going into battle ; Six nations began at millenium stadium as Wales took on itay


Going into battle ; Six nations began at millenium stadium as Wales took on itay

It comes round once a year as six of the best northern hemisphere rugby teams battle it out in the ultimate test for the European nations Wales, Ireland, France, England, Italy and Scotland all aiming for the grand slam and the Six nations trophy. With some teams chances more realistic than others.

 

A team with definite ambitions for the trophy is reining champions Wales a country who live and breath the sport and it was them who had the honour of opening the first weekend of the tournament as they started there defence with a Home match against outsiders Italy at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium and they started there pursuit of a record 3 in a row championships with an average 23-15 victory over the Italians of whom put in a brave performance after a shaky start in Cardiff.

That shaky start came after just 4 minutes when wales opened the scoring after a dreadful handling error from Angelo Esposito let in winger Alex Cuthbert to cross over for the opening try of the tournament, Full back Halfpenny converted the following kick to give the welsh the 7 point lead. Wales kept applying the pressure with  winger George north coming close to crossing over for another try and it was clear the visitors needing points to settle there nerves and the break came on 13 minutes when Tommaso Allan’s penalty narrowed the gap to four. Another Halfpenny penalty put the home side into double figures and just before half time they got the second try they craved for as experienced centre Jamie Roberts powered through the Italians defence and switched the ball to centre partner Williams for wales second try and a 14 point lead at the interval.

The second half started very much like the first but it was the visitors who came fast out of the blocks as an incisive breakaway from Campagnaro and Leonardo Sarton let to Campagnaro showing of his blistering pace to follow his kick an cross over for his teams first try of the game and close the gap to seven. That moment of brilliance seem to rock the home side and they were a shadow of the team that dominated the first side and as worried coach Warren Gatland looked on Leigh Halfpenny missed a penalty which would have given his team some breathing space. However on 67 minutes he did what he failed to do earlier as he converted a penalty to stretch Wales lead to 10 and it looked like the game was in the bag for the defending champs but Italy hit back again thanks to the magic of Campagnaro who after an intercept ran 60 metres to score a try of which cut the lead down to 5 and put the home crowd on tenterhooks for the closing stages. Full back Halfpenny put the game to bed however with a late conversion as Wales escaped with a victory but there is no doubt more improvement and work to do if they want a third consecutive six nations crown.

 

The Showpiece match of the first weekend of the six nations in many eyes was the Saturday evening clash between two genuine contenders for the title France and England in Paris and it didn’t disappoint as a thrilling contest was played out with drama until the last as France scored a last gasp try to beat a valiant England team 26-24.

 Incredibly the home team went ahead after just 30 seconds through a try from winger Yoann Huget after a great cross-field pass from Jules Plisson of which the winger collected and crossed over to shell shock England early on although the conversion was missed. England fly half Owen Farrell got his teams first points on the board via a penalty, but they fell further behind as Huget benefited from a lucky bounce to again go over for the home side and stretch there lead to 10 despite another missed conversion. The French extended their lead to 1 via another penalty by Doussain and England looked to be fading early but they burst into life just before half time as a great run form scrum half Danny Care gave space to Mike brown who went over for England’s first try of evening to reduce the deficit and with the help of a Farrell penalty they went in at 16 -11.

England came out after the break with much more impetus and they were rewarded early in the second as a great pass form fly- half Owen Farrell let the towering Billy Vinupola through to score England second try and a Owen Farrell penalty gave England the lead for the first time in the match. Danny Care added a drop goal to extend the lead to 5 points and it looked like they were going to leave Paris with a famous victory as they looked in control and even a penalty from Machenaud to put France within two was cancelled out by and Andy Goode penalty to give the visitors breathing space and put them in touching distance once again but that was all about to change as England tired and France started to dominate the ball and the magic moment for the home team came on 76 minutes as the ball was spread right to sub Fickou who sold Goode a dummy a crossed over to send the Stade de France into raptures and level the game with minutes to go and that gave France the chance to win the game via a conversion which they duly took to condemn England to a agonising defeat of which puts there six nations hopes in doubt but gives Resurgent France a chance to Retain the six nations title and possibly a grand slam.

 

The final game of the first weekend of the Six nations saw Ireland open there campaign with a comfortable 28-6 victory over a average Scotland side who failed to score a try. It was a special day for legendary Irish centre Brian o ‘Driscoll who celebrated his record- breaking 129th cap for his country and he couldn’t have wished for a better game to break the record as his side put in a brilliant display especially from set pieces as they brushed aside there opponents who are now routed to the bottom of the table, at croke park. Tries from Trimble, Heaslip and Kearney and a solid kicking display from fly half Jonathan Sexton lifted Ireland to the top of the Six nations table and ahead of there titanic clash with Wales next week they have set down a marker for the rest of the tournament to say that they are dead serious about taking this years trophy back to the emerald isle.

Six_Nations_Rugby_Championship_Trophy.svg (1)

 

Six Nations wk1

 

Saturday: Wales 23-15 Italy

France 28-26 England

Sunday:   Ireland 28-6 Scotland

 

 

 

Sub edited: Vincenzo Ferrara

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