5 March 2015
Six Nations Fireworks Don’t Disappoint
Now into the thick of it and with one round of the Six Nations over, we can safely say that last weekend did not fail to live up to expectations.
Marginal underdogs England came back from an 8 point deficit at half time to put on a sterling second half display away in Cardiff, nullifying any threat Wales had to offer. The highlight of the match being a piece of brilliance from Jonathan Joseph showing elusive skill to beat the defence and go under the posts. Whilst in Paris, the Stade de France faithful may have left with the victory they expected, but Scotland were by no means submissive. Playing some expansive and intelligent rugby with an organised defence, Scotland ensured the French worked for every point they scored. However, in the second half, with thanks to a high penalty count against the Scots, France came out eventual winners by 7 points.
A few hundred miles away in Rome, the Irish, reigning champions and touted as favourites to win the competition again this year, stuttered past a passionate Italy side who year on year continue to show they are not a team to be brushed aside with ease. The final score line showing that Ireland began to find their rhythm in the final quarter, scoring two tries late on.
This weekend’s fixtures sees England take on the Azzuri at Twickenham, Scotland travel to Wales and there is a clash of titans as Ireland take on France at the Aviva Stadium.
England will run out at the home of rugby with an unchanged team as Lancaster shows faith in the squad that beat Wales in the first game of the Six Nations last weekend. Italy in comparison have made four changes to the team that fought valiantly against Ireland. Veterans Mauro Bergamasco and former captain Marco Bortolami return to the pack along with prop Alberto De Marchi, with Giovanbattista Venditti coming into the backline. The men in white will be looking to maintain their 100% record and build Twickenham into a fortress as we move closer to a World Cup on home soil.
Ireland will be boosted by the fact they have three Lions players fit after missing the first round who should regain their places in the starting XV. Jonny Sexton and back row duo Sean O’Brien and Jamie Heaslip should add some precision and dynamism respectively to Ireland’s performance. The French on the other hand, will need to have upped their game since last weekend as Ireland will pose much more of a threat all over the park than Scotland did, not to mention the passionate home crowd at the Aviva Stadium metaphorically adding a 16th man for Ireland.
Wales will be looking to bounce back against Scotland this Sunday after their defeat to England at the Millennium Stadium, but they will have to do so without talismanic winger George North after he took two knocks to the head during last week’s game and is being rested as a precaution. Wales won this fixture 51-3 in last year’s Six Nations, but expect a much closer game this time around as Scotland look to build on a positive performance from their last game.
To see for yourself with past and present players, take a look at the Lewis Moody VIP Club as packages are still available with top class seats at the Home of Rugby.
Written by Mike Harmon-Tatton, Client Executive