Disappointing performance from England as Ireland have last laugh

England’s dreams of a second consecutive Grand Slam were slammed by Ireland along with the RFU’s hopes of a Grand Slam of Grand Slams as England Women and U20’s both won the Grand Slam in their tournaments.

England always seemed second-best to Ireland and found no answer to the incredible pressure placed on them by the Irish on St Patrick’s weekend in a sell-out Aviva stadium in Dublin.

Ireland opened the scoring through a Jonny Sexton penalty followed by an Iain Henderson try, which Sexton converted, followed by another Sexton penalty lead to a 13-3 lead at half-time as Farrell got England off the mark early on.

England got the first points of the half but intense pressure from Ireland and the ever reliable boot of Sexton gave Ireland a famous victory.

Despite this disappointment England have defended their title and equalled New Zealand’s record of 18 consecutive wins. They have been rejuviniated under Eddie Jones and are a force to be reckoned with going into their Summer Tour and will play a huge role in the Lions tour.

Final score Ireland 13-9 England

Ireland- Tries: Henderson  Cons: Sexton Penalties: Sexton (2)

England- Penalties: Farrell (3)

Scotland beat Italy to finish 4th

Scotland recorded their third win in this years Six Nations against a battling Italy.

Despite the score line not showing it, Italy performed well however their bluntness in attack allowed Scotland a bonus point victory.

Scotland hadn’t won three matches in a single campaign since 2006, showing how far they have come and they will be a top contender next year.

Tries from Finn Russell, Matt Scott, Tim Visser and Tommy Seymour gave Scotland a new record for the number of tries they scored in a six nations campaign of 14 tries. The tries along with three Russell conversions and a penalty from the ever reliable Stuart Hogg gave Scotland a convincing victory.

Final Score: Scotland 29-0 Italy

Tries: Russell, Scott, Visser, Seymour Cons: Russell 3 Pen: Hogg

 

 

Wales beaten in 100 minute match in Paris

With the clock past 80 minutes Wales were camped on their 5 metre line defending a French scrum 20 minutes a sin-binning and a HIA later France scored a try, which was duly converted granting them a victory 20-18.

It was arguably the most interesting moment in the match, unusual for scrums but from a neutral’s perspective it was a match to send you to sleep.

Wales didn’t ever threaten the French line and built their score from the French ill-discipline and Halfpenny’s ever reliable boot.

The French took their opportunities with Remi Lamerat scoring early in the match and Lopez adding a conversion and two penalties to set up a tight finish.

With 77 minutes on the clock Wales turned over the French attack and in a moment he will surely regret, Sam Warburton kicked downfield and over the dead-ball line setting up the attack that lead to 20 minutes of scrums and the French snatching a victory from under the nose of the Welsh.

The scrums that lead to the French victory were controversial as the French Doctor came on to take tight-head prop Uini Atonio off for a HIA despite the prop telling referee Barnes he was not injured, leading to the suspicion the French faked the need for a HIA to bring on Slimani to lead the scrum battle that ensued. Then after multiple penalties to France Wayne Barnes sent Wales Prop Samson Lee to the Sin-bin. With both Atonio and Lee back on the field, Barnes then had to deal with an allegation of Biting on George North, with a mark evident he had no choice but to go to the TMO but with no conclusive views, no action was taken and with one last French attack from the scrum Chouly crossed the whitewash and Lopez converted giving France the win.

Final Score: France 20-18 Wales.

France- Tries: Lamerat, Chouly Cons: Lopez 2 Pens: Lopez 2

Wales- Pens: Halfpenny 6

Anglo Welsh Cup preview: Exeter vs Leicester

Venue: Twickenham Stoop Date: Sunday, 19 March Kick-off: 15:00 GMT

The time has come for the Anglo Welsh cup final and it is an all English affair.

Leicester Tigers come off the back of a convincing win versus Saracens, their first ever at Allianz park, and make two changes. Mike Williams comes in at Flanker whilst Peter Betham replaces J P Pieterson on the wing. Tigers have gone for experience as they search for their first silverware since 2013 with the likes of Mathew Tait and Freddie Burns leading the attack and Graham Kitchener, who was in the last Tigers team to win the Anglo Welsh cup, leading the lineout. Meanwhile they make four changes to the bench, bringing in extra experience with Tom Youngs, Dom Barrow, Luke Hamilton and Matt Smith being added.

Chiefs bring in props Moray Low and Greg Holmes while behind Dave Ewers gets the nod over Tom Johnson in the back-row. Jack Maunder returns at scrum-half  while Max Bodilly’s switch from wing to centre means there is also a starting spot for recently crowned Premiership Player of the Month, James Short, on the wing.

Exeter: Turner; Jess, Bodilly, S Hill, Short; J Simmonds, Maunder; Low, Malton, Holmes, Atkins, Welch, Ewers, Salvi (capt), Simmonds.

Replacements: Taione, Keast, Owlett, Skinner, Johnson, Thomas, Hooley, Hendrickson.

Leicester: Worth; Betham, Tait (capt), Roberts, Brady; Burns, Kitto; Genge, McGuigan, Balmain, Wells, Kitchener, Williams, Thacker, McCaffrey.

Replacements: Youngs, Rizzo, Bateman, Barrow, Hamilton, White, Williams, Smith.

Referee- Thomas Foley

Prediction- Tigers Win

 

 

 

 

 

England vs Ireland Match preview

Venue: Aviva Stadium Date: Saturday, 18 March Kick-off: 17:00 GMT

England make two changes as they aim to achieve consecutive Grand Slams, the first in Six Nations history. Billy Vunipola is preferred to Nathan Hughes, who has been superb throughout the tournament and Anthony Watson replaces Jack Nowell on the wing.

Ireland have been forced into two changes from the side that overcame Wales last week. Conor Murray is out with a shoulder injury so Kieran Marmion will wear the number 9 shirt. Injured Rob Kearney is replaced by Jared Payne. The other Ireland change made by Schmidt is tactical, Iain Henderson comes in for Devin Toner.

This showdown on St Patrick’s weekend in Dublin is going to be the highlight of the Rugby weekend. Ireland will be out to rain on England’s parade whilst England will be going for their second consecutive Grand Slam and the chance to beat New Zealand’s record of 18 wins on the trot which they equalled last weekend when they mauled Scotland.

Ireland: Payne; Earls, Ringrose, Henshaw, Zebo; Sexton, Marmion; McGrath, Best (captain), Furlong; Ryan, Henderson; Stander, O’Brien, Heaslip,

Replacements: Scannell, Healy, Ryan, Toner, O’Mahony, McGrath, Jackson, Conway.

England: Brown; Watson, Joseph, Farrell, Daly; Ford, Youngs; Marler, Hartley (captain), Cole; Launchbury, Lawes; Itoje, Haskell, B Vunipola.

Replacements: George, M Vunipola, Sinckler, Wood, Hughes, Care, Te’o, Nowell.

Referee: Jerome Garces (France)

Touch judges: Mathieu Raynal (France) & Marius Mitrea (Italy)

TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

Prediction- England Win

Scotland vs Italy Match preview

Venue: Murrayfield Date: Saturday, 18 March Kick-off: 12:30 GMT

Scotland have made two changes to the squad that lost badly to England last weekend. Lock Richie Gray misses out with a Hamstring injury so Grant Gilchrist comes in. And Ross Ford is preferred to Fraser Brown at Hooker.

Italy make four changes, Tommaso Benvenuti, Maxime Mbanda, George Biagi, Ornel Gega  come in as Italy push to gain their first and only victory of this years Six Nations having been unable to avoid the Wooden Spoon.

Scotland: 15-Hogg; 14-Seymour, 13-Jones, 12-Dunbar, 11-Visser; 10-Russell, 9-Price; 1-Reid, 2-Ford, 3-Fagerson; 4-G Gilchrist, 5-J Gray; 6-Barclay (captain), 7-Watson, 8-Wilson.

Replacements: 16-Brown, 17-Berghan, 18-Du Preez, 19-Weir, 20-Dell, 21-Swinson, 22-Pyrgos, 23-Scott.

Italy: 15-Padovani; 14-Esposito, 13-Benvenuti, 12-McLean, 11-Venditti; 10-Canna, 9-Gori; 1-Lovotti, 2-Gega, 3-Cittadini, 4-Fuser, 5-Biagi, 6-Mbanda, 7-Steyn, 8-Parisse.

Replacements: 16-Ghiraldini, 17-Panico, 18-Chistolini, 19-Van Schalkwyk, 20-Ruzza, 21-Minto, 22-Violi, 23-Sperandio.

Scotland have won six of their past seven games against Italy. However, Italy beat Scotland on their most recent visit to Murrayfield in 2015.

Referee: Pascal Gauzere (France)

Touch judges: Nigel Owens (Wales) & Luke Pearce (England)

TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

 

Wales vs France match preview

Venue: Stade de France Date: Saturday, 18 March Kick-off: 14:45 GMT

Wales end their 2017 Six Nations campaign against France in a match which will help decide the final standings. Teams lying 2nd to 5th place are separated by one point with Ireland and Wales on 10 points and France and Scotland on 9.

Wales are unchanged from last week’s encounter with Ireland. This decision has come as a surprise to some who expected Rob Howley to mix things up and bring in some new blood before their summer tour.

France have made four changes to the side that comfortably overcame Italy with  Vahaamahina, Christopher Tolofua, Le Devedec, Chouly coming in.

Failure to add to their two victories in this campaign would represent Wales’ worst winning return in the Six Nations since 2010. However France have only won two of their last seven Six Nations matches though Les Bleus have an impressive home record winning seven of their last ten home Six Nations matches.

France: Dulin; Nakaitaci, Lamerat, Fickou, Vakatawa; Lopez, Serin; Baille, Guirado, Slimani; Vahaamahina, Maestri; Sanconnie, Gourdon, Picamoles.

Replacements: Chat, Atonio, Ben Arous, Le Devedec, Chouly, Dupont, Trinh-Duc, Huget.

Wales: Halfpenny; North, Davies, S Williams, L Williams; Biggar, Webb; Evans, Owens, Francis, Ball, Wyn Jones, Warburton, Tipuric, Moriarty.

Replacements: Baldwin, Smith, Lee, Charteris, Faletau, G Davies, S Davies, Roberts.

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)

Touch judges: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand) and Matthew Carley (England)

TMO: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)

Prediction- Wales Win