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by alexh / 19th July 2020
Analysis, International Six Nations 2020 England

Six Nations: Here We Go Again Round 2

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Convincing in Cardiff

Maybe the result was a foregone conclusion before a ball was kicked, but the 42-0 scoreline really flattered Wales. They managed to secure the bonus point in the 73rd minute, and Italy could, or should, have made it closer.

Everytime Italy could have put points on the board, but they chose to go for the corner or the scrum every time to go for the try. It’s up to you to decide whether this took the game away from them or is the start of a new never-say-die attitude.

Kudos to Josh Adams who registered his hat-trick, thanks in part to a delightful through-the-legs Biggar assist – and long may his form continue.

The reality for Italy is that they now go into a tough game away in Paris having registered no points. It will be interesting to see if their game plan changes on Saturday.

But, do we care that Wales beat Italy? Well, you can only beat the team that’s in front of you – so let’s see how they fare against a better team in Dublin. They were really tested by the Italian pack at the scrum, so that will be an interesting battle to look forward to.

 

Despair in Dublin

But incredibly, not for the Irish. Look away Scotland fans.

It was a very tight game that could have easily gone the other way, if it weren’t for one critical moment just after half time. Only 50 minutes on the clock and Ireland 13-6 up. Scotland pressing. It goes wide and Stuart Hogg is in the corner! No!

It could have happened to anyone, but this was the decisive moment in the game, before Sexton eventually kicked Ireland out of reach.

On that note, we were wondering if Ireland were going to show some creativity going forwards – and it was old man Sexton that started it all off by dotting down a lovely attacking move. They’ll be sad to have lost debutant Doris so early on in the game, with Ringrose also out going into this weekend’s clash.

Lots for Ireland to improve on, but no doubt they’ll be sharper and well-prepared for their Welsh visitors.

Scotland can be proud of their performance, but in usual fashion, they ended up a little short. Hastings looked the part at 10. Johnson and Jones controlled the midfield for large parts of the game. The forwards stuck at the Irish pack throughout.

The performance in general was just a little off, but with some minor adjustments they’ll give the Calcutta Cup a real go – and at home against a struggling England, you’d be a fool to rule them out.

 

 

Paradise in Paris

According to the algorithm’s predictions, we have our first upset of the 6 Nations. A defiant French team blitzed England in the first half, and took an unassailable 24 point lead after 55 minutes.

Late call-up Rattez crossed first after a sweet inside pass from Ntamack. Then, 2 tries from captain Ollivon either side of half time put France beyond reach. Is there a better way of leading your team to victory? Antoine Dupont was instrumental in all these tries; his decision-making throughout the game was sublime.

All was lost. England down and out.

Enter Jonny May. If it wasn’t for May, his opportunistic chip or his electric pace, it could have been a lot worse for England. He managed to produce two special moments for England fans in a game they would otherwise have hoped to forget.

Say what you will about the team selection, the ‘leadership problem’ and the Saracens charade, it all comes to one inescapable fact: like the World Cup final, they weren’t ready for the contest.

It wouldn’t be fair to detract from this great French victory, but England have some work to do before the Calcutta Cup.

Jones’ men will need to pick themselves up and reboot. Who knows which England we’ll see at Murrayfield.

In the meantime, France face up against Italy. Well, we’ll see what happens there, but you’d have to admit you’d rather be wearing dark blue for that one…

 

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