Well, what a weekend of rugby. Here are some of my thoughts :
Wales v Ireland: excellent match, really enjoyed it and well done Wales. At last they took their chances, rode their luck a bit but then saw the game out at last. Feel pleased for the Welsh ex-Wasps coaching staff! Feel pleased for some of the players questioned like Georgey boy! Good for AWJ to get the win. And did Howley get it right with Biggar v Sam Davies at fly half ? I would say 50:50 – Biggar was good and poor in equal measure. He’s limited that’s for sure but probably just about did enough to justify his selection. At 9, Webb is a real live wire and dynamic but is inclined to be a bit stupid at times and concede penalties which he needs to watch out for. A good bet to go on the lions tour though. Shame that Conor Murray got injured. Disappointing to see Halfpenny still struggling and making uncharacteristic errors, his confidence is clearly low. In contrast Rob Kearney had an excellent match and comes into Lions reckoning.
Italy v France: fickou class. Big black winners explosive and a real handful. Piccamoles and Parisse always class. Italy good in parts but faded again like they always do. France v Wales could be really good.
Eng v Scot : awesome and clinical. A really complete all round display. ‘Dropping’ Joseph for the Italy game was inspired and he came back hungry. Excellent management. Scots blown away, their defence was all over the place, showed their inexperience at times (esp Finn Russell) and they suffered badly with injuries, which was a real shame. Russell will learn though and come back stronger as he’s a talent. To compete they need their best XV. All their talk about potentially winning was probably a bit too vocal and they’ll learn from that.
Interestingly, of all the matches so far, ignoring Italy, every team has won their home matches except Eng winning in Wales, and that was a bit fortunate. The big big test is winning away from home. So, huge tests for England at Ireland and Wales at France.
Top 3 players of the weekend:
Plus of course Parisse and Piccamoles (as they are class leaders in every match they play)
Others worthy of mention :
Danny Care (always looks very sharp when he comes on and is a real predator)
Most of the England team – other than Joseph, it was a real collective effort with no real stand out performers as they were all good