RBS 6 Nations’ Fourth Round Recap
In an interesting turn of events, it looks like crowning the 6 Nations champion might be a bit more difficult. Wales, who lost a tough opening week match to England, has continuously played better round-to-round. And it thoroughly showed as they took on Ireland with home field advantage.
Ireland, who played amazing against England, started off on their back foot with undisciplined play. They gave up four penalty kicks within the first fifteen minutes: Wales’ Leigh Halfpenny nailed all of them putting them up 12-0. But soon, Ireland was able to battle back, spending a good portion of time in Wales territory and securing nine points off three penalty kicks by Jonathan Sexton. Still, after a drop goal by Wales’ Dan Biggar, they entered halftime up 15-9.
And after halftime, a stolen lineout deep in Ireland’s zone led to a Scott Williams try, effectively putting Wales up 20-9. But Ireland battled back, as they controlled territory for majority of the second half. They were finally able to put a try on the board after the referee awarded a penalty try for collapsing a maul. However, Halfpenny quickly converted a penalty minutes later, putting Wales up 23-16 with less than ten minutes left.
Moments later, Jonathan Davies was given a yellow card, putting Wales one man down. As a result, Ireland attempted one last push to score, yet Wales was able to hold strong and secured the victory.
Now, if England could secure a win against Scotland last weekend, it would ensure them first place leading into the final round. And for the first half, Scotland was looking like it might pull out the upset. The two sides exchanged scores with Scotland enjoying majority of the possession time.
After, England scored quickly on a try by outside center Jonathan Joseph, the rest of the half was about Scotland’s offense. Outside center Mark Bennett scored the first try of the match in the 21st minute with Greig Laidlow hitting the conversion and two more penalty kicks before halftime. The teams entered the locker room with Scotland — currently in last place — up 13-10.
But the second half was all about England, as they quickly scored a try in the opening minutes. After, they smelled blood and continued to pound Scotland’s defense, controlling both time of possession and time in the opponent’s half. And England’s defense, which struggled in the opening 40, held the Scots to a goose egg in the second. The final score was 25-13.
And finally, the least interesting match of the weekend was the France and Italy blowout. After defeating Scotland two weeks ago, Italy did not really show up to play France.
Italy’s defense did hold strong for the first 25 minutes of the match, but sloppy play opened up the floodgates. France scored on three successful penalty kicks by Scott Spedding and Camille Lopez — it is important to note that despite the abundance of points by France, they still struggled with kicking and disappointingly left even more points on the field.
But by the second half, reserve Jules Plisson took over, hitting two conversions and two penalty kicks. In the end, two more tries were scored with Mathieu Bastareaud unnecessarily touching one down in the 81st minute. The final was 29-0.
It seems like Ireland has made the fifth and final round thoroughly interesting. Stay tuned to see who is crowned the 6 Nations champion.
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