As expected, England bulldozed Italy’s blossoming team all over the Stadio Olimpico pitch, (by 46-15 to be precise), with all but three of those points coming from tries and subsequent conversions. Italy showed plenty of aggression in attack and scored an eye-catching opening try through Benvenuti, assisted by Tommaso Allan’s beautiful, lofted pass out to the right wing – but even at that 20-minute stage, England had already scored two tries, both claimed by Anthony Watson.
Performance wise, the only negative for England was the errant kicking of a strangely unreliable Owen Farrell, who missed a penalty and several conversion attempts. A bigger blow is Ben Youngs being stretchered off, with the scrum-half almost certainly out of England’s clash with Wales on Saturday. The extent of the injury remains undeclared by the England medical team.
England vs Wales will be shown live at Topgolf
at 16.45pm on Saturday 10th February
Wales turned over Scotland with as much ease as England did to Italy, against opponents who were supposed to be a much tougher proposition. Warren Gatland’s boys took the maximum bonus points home thanks to five tries, two of which came from the surprise source of Leigh Halfpenny.
Halfpenny has reason to suit up and celebrate after his first Wales try in 5
Leigh Halfpenny by National Assembly for Wales is licensed by CC 2.0
Perhaps the most surprising element of Wales’ crushing 34-7 victory was that with nine first-teamers missing, they swatted away a dangerous Scotland team without some of their key weapons. If George North and Liam Williams return against England, Eddie Jones will have his work cut-out attempting to stem Wales’ free-flowing, Scarlet-coloured rugby.
Scotland on the other hand, have much improvement to make if they are to break down the spirited French team that so nearly held Ireland.
Scotland vs France will be shown live at Topgolf, at 15.00pm on Sunday 11th February
Indeed, match-winner Johnny Sexton declared he took his decisive drop-goal kick thanks to a belief that after 41 phases of play, Ireland were more likely than France to err and concede a penalty at the death, with the men in green trailing France 13-12.
Ireland Head Coach Joe Schmidt was relieved at the final whistle
Joe Schmidt coaching Irish rugby team by Stevenbfg is licensed by CC 2.0
Ireland’s attack failed make a single break of the French line throughout the match. As heroic as Sexton’s long-range drop-goal was, Joe Schmidt will wish to avoid over-reliance on his captain when Ireland face Italy at the Aviva Stadium this coming weekend.
Ireland vs Italy will be shown live at Topgolf, at 14.15pm on Saturday 6th February