Six Nations state of play: Immense Ireland eye Grand Slam as England, France grab valuable points

There was no shortage of storylines in the third round of the Six Nations, but headlines report that Ireland is still in the Grand Slam after a 34-20 victory in Rome against an ever-improving Italian side. England thrashed Wales 20-10 in Cardiff after a tumultuous week for Warren Gatland’s team, and on Sunday France and Scotland played a classic game in Paris, where both teams played 14-man for most of the match after each received a red card. at the start of the match. In the end, it was France who managed to get through, winning 32-21 to keep their title hopes alive.

Game state two rounds to go


Clearly Ireland could lose. Despite Andy Farrell shuffling the squad against Italy with six subs, they made it through the difficult journey without playing particularly well, making do without Harry Ringrose and Jonathan Sexton and managing themselves through a quirky rendition of their anthem.

It is, on the contrary, a sign of a good team that can win despite not being at their best. But it’s that depth that will be so effective during the World Cup, with both Craig Casey and Ross Byrne playing well in their first Six Nations start as linebacker.

And the worst thing? They have Tadg Furlong, Robbie Henshaw and Jamison Gibson Park, all recovering from injuries – each in their own world-class position. With Scotland in Edinburgh and England in Dublin, they have an incredible chance at a Grand Slam.


Kieran Crowley’s team must have been the most progressive nation in the world of rugby over the past year. They came so close to Ireland on Saturday after narrowly losing to France in the first round and losing in arm wrestling to England on the second weekend.

Many, including former Wales captain Sam Warburton, had them beat Wales in Rome on March 11, and their performance against Ireland saw them far better than a team of yesteryear that could have put in a couple of solid Six Nations performances and collapsed. in their other matches.

Their box office quarterback Ange Capuozzo gets a lot of praise, but look at No. 8 Lorenzo Cannone’s performance against Ireland – he was great. And they also have Paolo Garbisi in 10th place – he is so important to the team.

One thing they need to fix is ​​their slow start as they missed three tries in the first 20 minutes against Ireland. But with Wales in line, Crowley’s Italy will be looking to seal their first league win.


Gregor Townsend said that Scotland had shown their best rugby in the championship with a defeat in Paris and some praise given that they had already won at Twickenham and beat Wales in Edinburgh.

He will be pleased with how his team regrouped after an early red card in Paris when Grant Gilchrist was sent off for a dangerous play just seven minutes later and they could have won a draw if they improved their accuracy a bit.

Finn Russell is currently in the top 10 of the world’s outstanding players (although Sexton will have something to say about this), and they have a consistent lineup with players like center Hugh Jones at his best. They are left with Ireland and Italy and given where they are in terms of confidence, they will aim for two out of two.

However, uncertainty remains on the horizon as Townsend’s contract expires after the World Cup. Given their incremental improvement, it’s certainly time to tie it into the next four-year cycle.


Does the pressure of the World Cup at home reach France? It seems that after the defeat in Ireland and the nervous performance against Scotland, this is starting to give them away.

Romain Ntamak is under scrutiny after several inconsistent semi-final performances while they face a 4th round conundrum against England with their first and second No. 3 disqualified. While preparing for a match in Paris, Townsend said that France had the best depth of any country in the world in rugby, and he was probably right, but depth means nothing without momentum.

They miss more tries than Sean Edwards would be happy with, while they seem to have erred in the game plan that has guided them so well, competitive and territory-based footwork, focusing on losses and then scoring from inside the box. office players. But given that they played 70 minutes with 14 players after a thoughtless attack by Mohamed Howas and managed to get a bonus point later thanks to the outstanding Gael Fick, France are a great team.


Two wins out of three and a chance to continue the streak against France. Steve Borthwick’s England are showing steady progress under their new boss, and their first victory over Wales at Cardiff since 2017 is cause for a smile for those convinced of the red rose.

Their defense is solidifying under Kevin Sinfield, while their attack shows glimmers of hope, as evidenced by the way they opened the Wales defense in an Anthony Watson try in the first half. Ollie Lawrence is a welcome addition to the centers, while there are other standouts such as their flankers Lewis Ludlam and Jack Willis.

With the outstanding Freddie Steward as a defender, you see the backbone of Borthwick’s team reaching their peak. But there are still those who argue that England are kicking too much and wasting overlaps – to which Max Malins countered on Saturday’s post-match.

“There is a purpose to our strikes, it’s all about getting higher profits elsewhere,” Malins said.

Owen Farrell’s tee kick was wayward against Wales and that’s what they’ll need to get ahead of France, but with the new regime with France and Ireland there’s a gradual improvement.


It was a dismal championship for Wales. They are 0-3 with defeats to Ireland, Scotland and Wales to their name so far. But there is hope that it will be a transformative Six Nations game for Warren Gatland’s team.

He changed from match to match, assessing the strength of his team. Both centers Joe Hawkins and Mason Grady, who started against England, are 20 years old and have great prospects, but their squad against England showed that there is a generational split: the team is divided between experienced heads and youngsters.

So, after two weeks with Wales on strike just hours later, they may rejoice in aspects of their performance against England on Saturday, but now they are desperate for a victory in Rome on March 11, as Gatland knows full well.

“The last thing you want to do is get a wooden spoon, right?” Gatland announced this on Saturday. “And it should be or focus on it. Part of these six nations is that we also think about the next six or seven months. It is not the opposition that is hurting us at the moment, we are hurting ourselves. we need to continue to improve our decision-making process under pressure.”

Sinclair’s Redemption in Cardiff

Kyle Sinclair hardly slept the night before the England match in Cardiff. His stomach rumbled and he barely ate during the day. Lying open-eyed, he replayed the memories he tried to forget about his last walk in front of the crowded Principality Stadium. Getting to know Cardiff was painful.

“I won’t lie that some demons have returned to the principality,” Sinclair said on Saturday evening.

That match in 2019 was a turning point for Sinclair. England were ahead at half-time 10-3. It was planned. But then, at the beginning of the second half, Wales played the match because of the indiscipline of the English. Sinclair missed three penalties in 10 minutes, tried to fight Alan Wyn Jones and was substituted. England went on to lose 21-13. Sinclair blamed himself.

“In the end, they won because of my indiscipline,” he said, looking back. It was a harsh assessment; the defeat was not only the fault of Sinclair, but the scars and memories remained very deep.

As he crossed the bridge from England to Wales on Thursday evening, the same familiar emotions returned to him, a kind of post-traumatic rugby stress.

“[It felt like] Literally adrenaline, it’s fight or flight,” Sinclair said. “My stomach turns over, shortness of breath.”

Sinclair would have put that into action four years ago. But this time, the processes that he built over the past four years, working on his mental health, helped. He turned to his mentor at Savior World and said, “Listen, all these feelings, literally as soon as we crossed the Bridge, I was like, ‘What’s going on? I can feel all these emotions bubbling up inside.” me the realization that today is a big game, you are against yourself, and you must defeat your former self. I felt like I did it today.”

Sinclair was outstanding against Wales on Saturday. He scored England’s second try and helped them win a physical battle. There were moments when Sinclair could break loose. Back in 2019, he remembers Warren Gatland’s pre-match comments when the Wales coach said Sinclair was “an emotional time bomb”. This irritated him.

“In 2019, I was a completely different person,” he said. “I had a lot of anger, a lot of resentment, probably for a lot of people. I remember that it was a really important week.

On Saturday, he instead went for a confrontation rather than trying to hit her. He laughed at the hand gestures of the Welsh fans as the bus pulled up to the stadium, instead of flailing his fingers and rude hand gestures. He was focused. During the match, there was the usual chatter in the forefront, moments when it seemed that the game was about to boil. But instead of confrontation, he went for consolidation. He gathered and then refocused.

“Today was a turning point not only in my career but in my life,” Sinclair said. “Looking back at the experience I had in 2019, my career could have gone one of two ways. I remember sitting on that staircase. [inside the stadium] in tears, I can’t remember who I talked to on the phone, probably with my mother. I know that today we played Wales, but for me it was a test match between who I am…


Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker