1) Wales and France move with distinction
When a couple of England passes went to ground early on against Italy, it defined Eddie Jones’s choice for a kicking sport. House was not at a premium towards the weakest staff within the match, however the champions have been usually too mechanical to use it. At Murrayfield a few hours later Wales confirmed, for the second successive week, that deficiencies at ahead might be masked by opportunism. Their passing was extra pure than England’s and helped them to win a match that at one point looked beyond them. The 2 sides meet in Cardiff within the subsequent spherical and Wales are once more more likely to have to move their method out of bother. France, who’re at Twickenham within the fourth spherical, stay supreme in passing on the level of contact, their first-half strive in Dublin after that they had soaked up stress was a gem.
2) Filter out the clear-outs
A transparent-out at a ruck attracted a crimson card for the second time in six days. If Peter O’Mahony invited the sanction for planting his elbow within the face of Tomas Francis during Ireland’s defeat against Wales, Zander Fagerson’s problem on Wyn Jones was much less flagrant. He stored his arms down as he tried to clear the Wales prop as Scotland seemed to recycle possession and the referee dominated that shoulder contact was made with the decrease a part of the pinnacle. His tv match official was not so satisfied however at Twickenham, when Owen Farrell was reviewed for a (late) problem on Stephen Varney, it was the TMO who was the extra inclined to assume the pinnacle had been impacted. Because the breakdown turns into extra of a contest for possession, so clear-outs will enhance. And when the non-offending gamers are low to the bottom, heads might be laborious to keep away from. Clear-outs have to be cleared out.
3) Willis left in limbo by crocodile roll
Jack Willis was on the sphere at Twickenham for under 10 minutes. The back-rower scored a strive on the finish of his first minute however spent the ultimate 5 receiving remedy for a knee damage which appears to be like as if it’s going to finish his season. He was damage after being tackled as he stood over a ruck by his reverse quantity Sebastian Negri in what has turn into often called a crocodile roll. The authorities have a zero-tolerance strategy to challenges that contain contact with the pinnacle, however they’ve been slower to react to those who are probably profession threatening however focused elsewhere. The wording of the related regulation is obvious: gamers might solely be lively at a ruck if they’re on their toes. Negri wasn’t.
4) Huge males present advantage of winging it
Louis Rees-Zammit and Anthony Watson scored two tries and Jonny Might went for the spectacular by vaulting over his reverse quantity and touching the ball down earlier than he went out of play. With Monty Ioane and Liam Williams additionally scoring, it made a profitable Saturday for the large males and James Lowe was denied the next day by a lick of paint earlier than Damian Penaud crossed for France’s second. Rees-Zammit made it three in two matches after his beautiful end towards Eire, a match he began as a result of Williams and Josh Adams have been suspended. The Six Nations, Italy aside, just isn’t thought to be a breeding floor and defence wouldn’t rank excessive on Rees-Zammit’s cv, however what’s counting is his means to show matches, the prime requirement of a wing.
5) How lengthy have Italy received?
“I used to be actually completely happy,” mentioned one head coach on the weekend. Not Wayne Pivac, who is not going to should area questions on his future for some time, nor Jones however Italy’s Franco Smith after his aspect had taken their factors conceded to 91 this championship. It was their 14th look at Twickenham and in six of their earlier defeats that they had conceded greater than 41 factors. They sculpted two tries towards a notoriously imply defence and trailed 20-11 9 minutes into the second half once they tried to work an overlap just for Watson to intercept Paolo Garbisi’s move and settle the competition. “It’s unfavorable but in addition optimistic,” mentioned Smith. “We have to enhance technically and tactically, however bodily we’re getting there.” How lengthy have they received?
6) France present set piece nonetheless has worth
The scrum is a symbolic a part of rugby union, one thing that distinguishes it from league, however it has fallen into disrepute having been seen by some as a supply of penalties slightly than a worthwhile technique of restarting play with backs having to face 5 metres again. France are an exception and in Dublin they seemed for fast launch from scrums in their very own half. Their second strive got here from the set piece once they set initially for a drive and at a time when the breakdown has turn into blighted by directives and altering interpretations, set-pieces present the chance for backs to each tackle their counterparts and achieve this in house. Les Bleus are working at the next degree than the opposite 5, however their flat attacking line in Dublin gave Eire the possibility to counter-ruck and stay within the sport till the tip.