Five Things We Learned From The Opening Round Of The Six Nations



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Got your breath back yet?! Scintillating performances, shocking scorelines – and, of course, that dramatic drop goal – lit up the first weekend of the Six Nations, with the tournament wasting no time in reminding us just why it’s regarded as the best in the world. There’s a long way to go, of course, but we’ve already discovered a lot from the opening ties; here’s five things we learned over the past few days…





Johnny Sexton might have saved Ireland with his monumental drop-goal, but the men in green would do well to remember just how close they came to losing a game they dominated for long periods. Controlling territory and possession is one thing, but it needs to show on the scoreboard – and while three-pointers can add up, accumulating scores in fives and sevens makes it an awful lot easier. Ireland needed a miracle to avoid being undone by a single French try for the second time in three years – crossing the whitewash is a must from this point forward.



With the unceremonious departure of coach Guy Noves, a distinctly disappointing track record in recent years, and an apparent crisis in some key positions, many wondered if France were at an all-time low. But while Sexton’s boot denied them an unlikely victory, there was plenty of evidence to suggest that those writing Les Bleus off altogether may have been a little hasty. Off-pitch controversies may rage on, but on the field they remain capable of causing any side problems…



With an injury list as long as the road to Llandudno, a lot of commentators expected the Welsh to struggle against a rejuvenated Scottish side. Instead, Warren Gatland’s men roared out of the blocks with a pair of early tries and never looked back on their way to a dominant 34-7 win. With ten starters from Scarlets’ dominant Pro14 winning team, their attacking intent shouldn’t have come as a surprise; their success, though, was as clear a warning shot as one could ever imagine.



A 31-point winning margin suggests overwhelmingly one-way traffic, but England’s seven-try victory over Italy wasn’t nearly as straight-forward as the final scoreline would imply; at the halfway point, there was a single score in it, and 12 points separated the teams on the hour. Conor O’Shea’s charges may not be challenging for top honours – ante-post predictions of another wooden spoon are more likely to prove correct – but any side expecting to coast to an easy win could be in for a surprise!



With the combination of George Ford and Owen Farrell looking more dangerous than ever, Six Nations debutant Sam Simmonds grabbing a brace of tries, and star performers chipping in all over the field, the back-to-back winners already look the part. While coach Eddie Jones looked to downplay their favourites tag, there’s no doubting that the three-in-a-row is within reach – and it will take an almighty effort if anyone is to stop them…


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