Six Nations Review: England Dominates, Wales Come Back, Scotland Sloppy Late

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England’s defense dominates Ireland, Wales completes an epic comeback in France, and Scotland a bit sloppy in victory over Italy. Here are the details of Matchday 1 in the Six Nations:

Ireland 20-32 England:

This was the Heavyweight showdown for Matchday 1 and could be a momentum builder for whoever wins this for the Rugby World Cup in October in Japan. England answered the bell from the start and were rewarded just 95 seconds in as Owen Farrell set up Jonny May for the opening try. 

Ireland responded with a penalty goal through Johnny Sexton, a try from Cian Healey that Sexton converted to make it 10-7 to the defending Grand Slam champions. But five minutes after Ireland took the lead, Jack Nowell forced Jacob Stockdale to drop a ball which Elliot Daly merely had to fall in the try zone on to restore England’s lead to 14-10.

England’s defense subdued Ireland’s attack for the most part of the match and then took the lead for good as Henry Slade got on the end of May’s kick to down it for a try to make it 22-13 after the teams exchanged penalties. Slade then intercepted a Sexton pass for the bonus point try and Sexton’s conversion made it 32-13.

John Cooney got a consolation try for Ireland late which Sexton converted, but it was too little too late as Ireland lost at home in the Six Nations for the first time in six years.

Photo: Six Nations/Inpho

France 19-24 Wales:

Wales overcame a 16-0 deficit at the Stade de France to pick up an unbelievable 24-19 win. France got that 16-0 lead in the first half on tries from Louis Picamoles and Yoann Huget. 

In the second half, Wales are a much different and a much better team. Tomos Williams got an early second half try and Gareth Anscombe converted to make it 16-7. Then, France became error happy as Huget fumbled a kick towards George North who merely had to dive over for the try. Anscombe’s conversion would make it 16-14. 

Dan Biggar kicked a penalty to give Wales the lead after the French were guilty of an in infringement at the scrum. Camille Lopez restored France’s lead after the Welsh committed a penalty at the scrum. But it would be a horrendous duck of a pass by Sebastien Vahaamahina that would be easily intercepted by North who had nothing but daylight for what would be the winning try. 

It is the Welsh’s 10th straight win in all competitions and is only the third time in which a team has overcome a 16-point deficit (or more) at halftime after the French erased a 17-point deficit against Wales in 1996 and Australia overcame a 24-point deficit over Argentina in last year’s Rugby Championship. 

Scotland 33-20 Italy:

Not the smoothest of wins for Scotland, but it was enough to give Scotland top spot after Matchday 1 by a single point. Blair Kinghorn scored a hat trick of tries and Stuart Hogg touched down a grubber kick from Finn Russell. A Chris Harris try gave Scotland a 33-3 lead. 

After Simon Berghan was sin-binned though, Italy managed three tries in the final ten minutes through Guglielmo Palazzani, Edoardo Padovani, and Angelo Esposito to make the scoreline a little more respectable from an Italian standpoint.

Matchday Two (February 9-10):

Feb 9:  Scotland vs. Ireland, 8:15am CT (on NBCSN at 3:30pm CT)

Feb 9:  Italy vs. Wales, 10:45am CT (on NBCSN at 1:30pm CT)

Feb 10:  England vs. France, 9am CT (on NBCSN at 12:30pm CT)

All matches live on the NBC Sports Gold app. 

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