This year’s Six Nations seems to be one of the most unpredictable in the tournament’s recent history.
Heading into the competition, it seemed every team, bar Italy, had a great chance of claiming silverware, and even after two rounds of fixtures, it remains a very closely fought contest.
France look like the team to beat, however, as they remain the only side left with a chance to win the Grand Slam.
After originally falling behind to Italy in their first game of the tournament, they turned it around and managed to secure a 37-10 bonus point victory, thanks to a hat-trick of tries from winger Gabin Villiere.
France’s second match against Ireland came down to much tighter margins. Anton Dupont, a player many believe to be the best player in the world right now, scored a try in the first minute, which set the tone for a very exciting matchup. France had the better of it in the first half, but a strong start to the second for Ireland had the game at 22-21 in France’s favour after 50 minutes. An un-converted try for France as well as a penalty for each team towards the end of the game meant France ran out 30-24 winners; continuing to back up the chat of them being potential favourites.
England’s first match against Scotland will be one they are hoping does not damage their hunt for their 30th Six Nations title. The match was a very poor offensive showing from England, who really failed to show any variety in their attack. Despite looking like they might have done enough to win the game after a second-half Marcus Smith try, a late Luke Cowan-Dickie error resulted in a penalty try, a yellow card and a 20-17 loss. This was the first time Scotland had recorded back-to-back wins over England since 1984.
After a disappointing opening weekend for England, they bounced back with a resounding, yet slightly predictable, 33-0 victory over Italy, with young Harlequins fly-half Marcus Smith yet again showing his class.
Wales headed into the tournament with an incredibly depleted squad. A total of eight of their squad, all of whom are British and Irish Lions representatives, are currently injured, including their stalwart captain and all-round rugby legend Alun Wyn Jones. He has already proved to be a huge loss for them, which is no surprise bearing in mind he has 149 caps for the Welsh rugby team.
Perhaps unsurprisingly due to their injury problems, Wales were run over by Ireland in the first round by a score of 29-7. Ireland completely dominated the Welsh, who scored their only points in the last few minutes of the game.
They bounced back well from their rather embarrassing defeat to Ireland, however, with a 20-17 win over Scotland. Scotland, who were heading into the game with huge confidence after their win over England, couldn’t emulate the same success against the Welsh. The game ended in a slightly strange manner, with Dan Biggar scoring the winning points from a drop goal only a couple of minutes after Finn Russell was sin-binned for Scotland. It turned out to be a shrewd move by Biggar, who did receive some flack for not trying to make the most of having an extra man on the pitch.
After their incredibly impressive autumn internationals, in which they beat New Zealand, Argentina and Japan, Ireland were heading into the tournament with great optimism. The impressive win against Wales would have only added to this, however, their loss against high-flying France means that, even though it is early doors, France find themselves in an exciting position.
Perhaps they could finally lift the trophy after a 12-year wait.
Scotland v France. 26/02. 14:15
England v Wales 26/02. 16:45
Ireland v Italy. 27/02. 15:00
Wales v France. 11/03. 20:00
Italy v Scotland. 12/03. 14:15
England v Ireland. 12/03. 16:45
Wales v Italy. 19/03. 14:15
Ireland v Scotland. 19/03. 16:45
France v England. 19/03. 20:00