So to our egg chasing, rugby fanatics, this weekend kicked off with the highly anticipated 6-nations opener between England and Wales in Cardiff on Friday. The game certainly delivered, England’s relatively untested and injury riddled side faced 15 Welshmen determined to send the visiting neighbours scuttling back across the border.
The game kicked off at a tremendous pace and the Welsh, egged on by their adoring fans, opened the scoring with a penalty from the sweet heart of Welsh rugby, Leigh Halfpenny. Moments later some jaw dropping link up play from Falatau and Rhys Webb inside the England 5 meter line gave the Welsh a 10-0 lead after just 8 minutes. The Men in White were however, not yet dead and buried and struck back almost straight away as Mike Brown chipped ahead for Anthony Watson to cross the line in the corner. The welsh struck next with a real screamer of a drop goal from Welshman Dan Biggar bringing the first half to an end with the score at 16-8 to Wales.
However, this fiery contest was a real game of two halves and England steamed out after the second half break to score an early try as Jonathan Joseph melted his way through the Welsh defence to score under the posts and bring the score to 16-15. As the clock closed in on 80 minutes it started to look like it wasn’t to be the Welsh’s night as two more penalties from Man of The Match George Ford’s boot sailed through the posts to bring the night to a close with the final score 21-16 to England.
Defending champions Ireland faced Italy in Rome in the second of this weekends six nations clashes and went into the game as heavy favourites. However, without their playmaker Jonathan Sexton at ten and inexperienced Ian Keatley taking his place, the Irish struggled to break down an impressive Italian defence heading into the dressing room at half time only 9-3 up. The second half carried on in much the same manner with the Irish finally breaking through to score a cheap try through Connor Murray after Leonardo Ghiraldini the Italian Hooker was sent to the Sin Bin with his tail between his legs. The Irish didn’t take long to further their advantage as Tommy O’Donnell, the slippery flanker, broke through several tackles in midfield and showed some impressive pace to score Ireland’s second try under the posts. With the conversion scored the game ended 26-3 to Ireland, perhaps a tad unfair on the Italian’s but so goes the luck of the Irish.
The final game of this weekend’s Six Nation’s games saw Scotland take on France in Paris. The game started off fairly evenly with only a couple of penalties separating the teams. The Scottish pack looked a formidable force early on with the Gray Brother’s leading the Offensive charge battering at the French Defence’s door. Stuart Hogg made a couple of darting breaks and very nearly crossed the line on several occasions in the first half.
The tireless work from those log tossing Scots finally paid off in the dying minutes of the first half as some lengthy phase play inside the French’s 22-meter line saw Winger Dougie Fife finally score in the corner to close the half 9-8 in favour of the French. The Scottish team’s discipline lingered in the second half leading to the disciplinarian Nigel Owen’s finally sending Johnnie Beattie to the side-line for ten minutes on the naughty step. From here it was an up-hill battle for the Scots and two more penalties from the impressive French Fly Half, Camille Lopez, put the game to rest with the final score 15-8 to Les Bleu.
So there you have it, 90 battered, bloodied and bruised rugby players from the 6 nations have a week to stick their bodies back together, un-cross their eyes and get back to training before they have to do it all again next weekend. With England taking on Italy, Ireland taking on France and Wales taking on the Scottish it promises to be every bit as tight shorted, ferocious and aggressive as any rugby fan could hope for.