British & Irish Lions 2021

Six Nations Round 3 - what we learned

2020-02-24 08:31
Andy Farrell
Andy Farrell (AFP)

Cardiff - France outplayed Wales in a thriller to keep their Grand Slam hopes alive, while England beat Ireland after a dominant first-half display, and Scotland blanked winless Italy in Rome.

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Here follows a look at what we learned from the three matches of the third round of the 2020 Six Nations:

England 24 Ireland 12

England came out bristling with intent at Twickenham, producing their best rugby since the Rugby World Cup semi-final victory over New Zealand as they raced out to an impressive 17-0 half-time lead.

There could be only one winner in the battle of the Farrells, England skipper Owen and Ireland coach Andy, and England's dominant defence ensured Owen got the better of his father.

The result, however, leaves both England and Ireland still in the hunt for the championship title, with the latter next hosting Italy before a showdown with France. England face a potentially trickier return to Twickenham against Wales in round four before finishing off away to Italy.

"England were fighting to stay in the championship and that's what we need to be doing in the next two games," Andy Farrell said.

Owen Farrell hailed his side's victory as "another opportunity".

"We'll enjoy this win first, it's a big win for us and brilliant to be back at home. We'll celebrate that and then get on to the next opportunity."

Italy 0 Scotland 17

It had been touted as a potential wooden spoon decider, but the Scots made no mistake and, ugly as it may have been, will have left Rome content with a 17-point win.

Scotland skipper Stuart Hogg redeemed himself after personal errors cost his team in two opening losses to both Ireland and England.

The full-back showed all his pace to score a stunning solo try for the Scots, still missing snubbed playmaker Finn Russell.

"He marked his captaincy with a win and also with a great try," Scotland coach Gregor Townsend said of Hogg.

"He's been full of positive energy and shown good leadership through a tough time losing games and other distractions."

It was a 25th consecutive championship defeat going back to 2015 for Italy, who, with games away at Ireland and home to England, are set to take the wooden spoon for the 15th time.

Scotland host France at Murrayfield before travelling to Wales for their final game.

Wales 23 France 27

France edged Wales in a nail-biting encounter in Cardiff that saw French fly-half Romain Ntamack produce a superb show alongside half-back partner Antoine Dupont.

Ntamack score a vital intercept try and also booted 12 points as France remained unbeaten after previous wins over England (24-17) and Italy (35-22).

"We knew we could maintain the intensity," France coach Fabien Galthie said of his youthful team, boasting just 234 caps to Wales' Six Nations record of 859.

Talk of a Grand Slam was not immediate, however, with Galthie adding: "We just want to enjoy the moment.

"The players are so exhausted, they gave everything. We're progressing step by step and in Cardiff we took another step."

France, boosted in defence by ex-Wales assistant coach Shaun Edwards, next travel to Scotland before rounding off their campaign at home against Ireland.

For Wales, it was a second loss on the bounce for coach Wayne Pivac after a 24-14 defeat away by Ireland following a 42-0 drubbing of Italy in their opener.

Pivac was left ruing what he said were dubious referring decisions, including one deliberate knock-on by Paul Willemse tha went unpunished and notably at the final scrum when fresh French replacement Demba Bamba, somewhat surprisingly, won a penalty at the first scrum after the sin binning of tighthead Mohamed Haouas under Welsh pressure.

The Welsh, who started the campaign as reigning Grand Slam winners, now face a tough trip to England and finish up against Scotland.

Read more on:    england  |  italy  |  france  |  wales  |  scotland  |  ireland  |  six nations  |  rugby


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