Italy 10 – 63 Ireland
Ireland vs Italy has had a similar result year after year in the 6 nations, but in 2013 Italy did manage to beat them – could Italy manage to do what Scotland did a week earlier? Ireland were desperate to take their revenge from the loss against Scotland out on Italy. Ireland went wave after wave and eventually managed to score a try after 11 minutes. Ireland’s attack was unstoppable and their backs were enjoying themselves and scored two more tries. Italy did get one back by getting a penalty and penalty try. But a few minutes later, Ireland got the bonus point try and were in total control again, leading 10-28 at half time. Ireland were too strong for the Italians in the second half and couldn’t stop scoring superb tries. Jackson’s kicking (standing in for Sexton) was great and ensured the Irish took maximum points. Ireland managed to equal the record 9 tries in a 6 Nations match and looked unstoppable winning 10-63.
Wales 16 – 21 England
The Wales – England saga continued with another brilliant game. England were clear favorites going into this game after being unbeaten for over a year but Wales were dying to stop it. I was lucky enough to get tickets to this match and the atmosphere was ecstatic. The Welsh fans were full of energy and ready to support the team throughout the 80 minutes by singing their hearts out, but there were also many brave English fans around the stadium. It was a freezing Saturday evening and the roof was open (thanks to Eddie Jones.)
Alex Cuthbert came in for the injured George North but luckily Dan Bigger was able to play because he had a great game. England gave lots of pressure but Wales’ heroic defense only let England score one try after 26 phases. Liam Williams scored a perfectly executed try straight from the training ground that gave Wales the lead and hope that they could win the game. The Welsh side received a couple of penalties when they opted to go for the set piece rather than the points that would have ultimately won them the match if they had taken – hindsight is a wonderful thing.
Wales were the better team in an exciting first half and went in leading 13-8 at half time. Wales also dominated the first 20 minutes of the second half but didn’t manage to score a try. Ross Moriarty had an excellent game with some great tackles but was questionably replaced by Toby Faletau who received a great welcome back by the stadium. Wales were hanging on and England kept coming back and attacking. Jonathan Davies made a poor clearance and an unstoppable England attack from deep managed to give Elliot Daley a try in the dying minutes. Wales were heartbroken, disappointed and gutted because they really wanted to beat an England side on a great streak. England left the stadium with a smile and Wales left with tears despite being the better team in what was a great test match of rugby with the best atmosphere in a game I have ever been to.
Scotland 16 – 22 France
Scotland were full of confidence going into this match after a great win over Ireland last week. France have started to getting an identity back to their rugby and are having good performances (especially the “war” against England last week) but not quite getting the victories. This was a must win game for the 7 (Scotland) and 8 (France) in the rugby world rankings. The start to this game was breathless and very exciting with both teams looking to score tries but Stuart Hogg for Scotland was the one who just about found the try line. It was a tough half for Scotland with France being very physical which has led to many injuries for Scotland. France scored a try that showed signs of the old attacking France coming back. The first half was intense and very close but after a few exchanged penalties France were leading 13-11. Scotland started the half with a great try to put them in front but Finn Russel missed a very easy kick in front of the posts. France came straight back with a penalty and made it 16 of piece. The game was very tight and France were putting loads of pressure on Scotland for most of the second half but France were the team the pulled ahead with a penalty. Scotland got the loosing bonus point but they wanted so much more. France were so happy to have the win in a fantastic game that both teams were desperate to win!