Image: WikimediaCommons/Helene Brasseur
Image: WikimediaCommons/Helene Brasseur

Six Nations Round Up: Another Week, Another Prediction Upset

After a first weekend of action, where it seemed as if France, Ireland, and even potentially Scotland, were the teams to look out for at this year’s Six Nations, the fixtures of the 12-13th of February upset the predictions applecart once again.

In the first fixture of the weekend, Wales, who had been resoundingly thrashed by Ireland in the first round of matches, triumphed over Scotland 20-17. Many had written the Welsh off after that first match, but this team are building a reputation of skill when classed as underdogs. Many are now pointing out that the team that faced Ireland was injury-riddled, and Wales, at full strength, are naturally a completely different side. Against Scotland, where they were still suffering from a number of injuries, shadows of the side that won the 2021 Six Nations emerged once again, as captain Dan Biggar kicked 15 points to lead the side to victory.

Scotland have some work to do on their game management if they are to see out games and accrue any success in the future

The Scottish, meanwhile, were left disappointed by their performance. Many had hoped that this year, after their skilful attacking display against England, would herald a tilt at their first Six Nations title, but against Wales many of their age-old weaknesses emerged once again. Within the 10 minute window when key man Finn Russell was off the pitch, Scotland threw away the lead that they had gained, and allowed Wales a way back into the match. A reliance on one player in any sport is unhealthy, and Scotland have some work to do on their game management if they are to see out games and accrue any success in the future.

The game of the weekend was undoubtedly the fixture between the two heavyweights, and pre-tournament favourites, France and Ireland. Despite a late fight back, the Irish lost out 30-24, in a game that proved once again what a formidable force France are in front of a full Stade de France. Although Ireland are traditionally known for their strong defence, the French pack is a force to be reckoned with, a legacy of 2019 when they recorded the heaviest pack in rugby history, at 962kg. However, Ireland did break through a couple of times, with scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park bamboozling the French defence with a wonderful step, a positive sign of a dynamic Irish attack that should set them in good stead for later fixtures. The French front line, however, was immense, winning six penalties that eventually dragged them to victory, while Ireland were left rueing a decision to take a three point penalty at the end of the game, instead of kicking for the corner in the hope of a try.

The final game of the weekend was England’s annual whipping of Italy, as they secured the bonus point victory they needed, with the score 33-0. For the first time in many a year they didn’t concede a single point to the Italians, while their new attack once again proved how bright it can be, promising a bright future. Marcus Smith proved his talent once again, and looks set to lead England’s new generation into what many will hope to be a trophy-laden future.

The nations will now have a rest weekend, before getting going again from the 26th to 27th of February, with the fixtures being:

Scotland vs France
England vs Wales
Ireland vs Italy.

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