Highlights and in-depth analysis of the penultimate round of fixtures. This weekend's games saw Wales host Ireland, England face Scotland and Italy and France went head to head.
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Round 4, and England's amazing Technicolor dream victory under 60
point nightmare for the Scots. If every match was like this we would
not need weekends. The colossal Celtic collision in Cardiff. And
always in the game at half-time but out of it by the end, Italy remain
rooted to the foot of the table as the French revival continues. Hello,
plenty to discuss on this Sunday afternoon, three players join us
with different emotions. Mike Tindall, World Cup winning centre
and to scrum-half 's, Andy Nichol and Peter Stringer. And we start at
Twickenham. It felt like summer and while England basked in a
chairmanship winning performance, but -- for Scotland felt the bleak
midwinter afternoon. Twickenham are in good voice. Towards the end of
the Six Nations you might think that injuries were taking their toll but
quite the opposite for England. Eddie Jones has a close to full
strength squad. Marler wins his 50th cap. Nathan Hughes retains his place
despite the return of Billy Vunipola. The major news at the back
line is that Farrell has recovered from his leg injury. Jonathan Joseph
is outside, then Young's takes over from Danny care. For Scotland, there
is the impressive Watson back to start. John Barclay captains at sex
and the Glasgow front row will have to survive big pressure up front.
Vern Cotter resisting any urge to bring in Sean Maitland.
Ten Glasgow players in the starting 15. And on the bench, look at the
bench for England, great depth, how any side would love to call upon the
likes of Vunipola. -- of the two Vunipola. There is Russell, little
chip, being watched by Jack no. Mike Brown spins through the challenge.
Carried in by 56 macro. Ford, get it to Farrell -- Lawes. James Haskell.
A penalty advantage to England. They are down a man, is it Elliot Daly?
It is and it does not look good for him. Fraser Brown has been picked
out. You're both horizontal, you brought him down and he lands on his
back. That may well save him and be the differentiator between a yellow
card and a red card. He clearly went through the tackle knowing that the
man would release the ball. It is going to be a yellow card at least.
The Twickenham crowd bays for blood. Fraser Brown is going off for ten
minutes. From the point of view of Scotland, it is a start they did not
want. Unnecessary penalty. Did not need to do that. I don't know what
goes through the minds of players, because Daly was always going to
release the ball. He was not going to get there in time and to go and
do that, that was pointless. Try to control the overexcitement and the
adrenaline and sometimes it gets too much and England have the ball, the
touch and the extra man advantage for ten minutes and Anthony Watson
is on for Elliot Daly. Elliot Daly, we should mention of course, is
suffering off the pitch. There is going to be a try. Jonathan Joseph,
flying to the line, England a try up, a man up, what a start! England
take full advantage of Scotland being a man down. Scotland could not
commit as many players to the line-out and England were clever.
They tried to release the ball early. They are a man down. A simple
miss tackle. The man down was because Scotland lost their poker.
Alex Dunbar missed the tackle, he does not miss too many, but Joseph
is a try scoring machine. Stuart Hogg is going off for a head injury
assessment. Scotland did not want that. He was in the form of his
life. 13 macro is a talismanic figure. -- Hogg. 55-macro chipset.
No Hogg for Scotland -- Youngs. Scotland are deep in their own 22.
To the forwards. Risky pass, Joseph tried to get to it. Kamikaze stuff.
So close to your own try line. Scotland may be behind but they are
still within two scores and they should not be chasing. Then it is
down at the moment and that is where it happened. -- Five Live. --
Bennett. Joseph once again through the middle, lovely step, what a try
from Jonathan Joseph, two tries for the flying centre and England are
cutting loose. Superb footwork from Jonathan Joseph. Quick ball. He was
the dummy runner. Back in at the ankle, gets in the Scotland defender
-- inside the Scotland defender. England are running away with this
and we here at that Hogg is not coming back, he failed the head
injury assessment. Scotland as close to the England try line as they have
been, they are 20 points down, England are flying towards the
title. Barclay takes it down, did not look too straight. Scotland
coming in, Fraser Brown getting within two meters. Scotland closing
them. Driver over and the try is given. It is Gordon Reid who will
come up for the ball for his first try for Scotland. Scotland have a
sign of some live. They really needed that, it was Greg Wood, the
quick ball around the corner, England could not reorganise
insufficient numbers. You have got James Haskell. He has grounded that.
That is a try. England's line-out a functioning so well. The little pass
works out, Jonathan Joseph again. The try is there for Anthony Watson.
And England go from strength to strength, this time Joseph is the
creator, what's in the scorer. It was a good ball. You have the dummy
run, he takes the player out -- Watson is the scorer. That is a
lovely step. Watson outside him, that is a lovely try. England
rampaging forward again and here comes Jonathan Joseph. Little step
and a shimmy and he is away. Mike Brown. Up to within 12 metres of the
line. Scotland in desperate defence, Haskel carries. -- 29-macro. --
James Haskell. Mike Brown gets it back and Jack
Nolan coming in off the wing. Youngs to Lawes. Still with England
and still they come through, Nathan Hughes. A quick ball for England and
a try and a hat-trick for Jonathan Joseph, two and a half minutes into
the second half and England pick up where they left off in the first
half. Jonathan Joseph, what a beautiful line. There are not that
many players out there but it is that line. Barclay is calling for it
and gives it to forge. He does well. Good strength within three or four
metres -- 25-macro. 32-macro flings himself into the tackle -- Ford.
-- Itoje. Sprinters in the block, as they come. It is a try for Hugh
Jones and Scotland have another try. They got something from this dark
afternoon and a good try. Good patient work, not panicking or
taking the other option. The important thing was that once you
keep going that way, you make sure you do not suddenly fade and decide
to go wide. Good try. England with a great opportunity again. Longer this
time, but Itoje takes it down and England try a game. They are driving
towards the line, charging to the line and the try is there and it is
the giant returning to the side, Billy Vunipola, embraced warmly by
his team-mates, welcome back to international rugby. We see the
Scotland attempt to stop the drive. Right at the back. It rebounded on
Vunipola, it was a blocker. The Scotland scrum. Just under 12
minutes to go. Pyrgos gets it. Jones stands strong in the challenge.
Scotland with options either side, Russell. Heading to the line. Three
metres short. Scotland again come crashing in. Russell once more. Gray
takes the thump. It will be out wide. Labouring to the try line. Try
given once more it is Hugh Jones. Second try in the game that Scotland
have, they have their third. Comes in, -- comes inside. They will not
make a tackle with the inside arm. Jones showing his talent as a
finisher again. Itoje I gain, Billy Vunipola gets it again. The try is
there. Look so simple by England, so devastating in the finishing. First
of all, the throw is spot on, he is right at the top of the job. The
Scotland jumper cannot get near it and Itoje can control it. Perfect
position for driving it if they want to. They choose not to. The back row
has come in to stop the drive and that creates space out wide. It look
simple and it is if you do everything right.
Three minutes over the 80 we have played. Advantage to England.
Penalty is there. Flung wide again and Billy Vunipola.
Still advantage to England, coming from 10 metres out now. The game
goes on, the passes loosening. 12 phases. England out wide and
Launchbury to a roar of the crowd, Care now gives it on. Mako Vunipola.
The final pass. It is Danny Care and England with a conversion to come
will surely hit 60. The Twickenham faithful are on their feet and I'm
not surprised, England have given them a performance to be proud of.
England win with a humbling of Scotland. They're the Six Nations
champions again and win by the highest ever score against Scotland,
61-21. You retained the title and equalled New Zealand's record of 18
victories, how proud are you? Our focus is already on Ireland. We want
to win the Grand Slam. It is a chance to make history. No one's
ever won back-to-back Grand Slams in Six Nations history. There is only
four in the history of five and Six Nations. We are pleased to be Six
Nations champions, but the Grand Slam is something we are looking
forward to. We put in a good performance and we helped them, that
is frustrating. That is two away games and eight concussions, we
finished up with a half-back on the wing and a few other bits and
pieces. We started poorly and although we scored three tries, it,
we look at the score and we are disappointed. Chuffed to bits what,
a performance from the guys. We put pressure on ourselves to start well.
You guys have been banging the drum about not starting well, so it means
nothing unless we perform in Dublin. Was that you saying to Eddie Jones,
don't drop me again? No a lot of the tries came from set piece moves and
my job is to do these. The forwards gave us the platform and George and
bep Youngs created it. What is the success down to? Good players, we
have good players and they have now got a mind set of wanting to be the
best in the world and keep improving. If we keep working hard,
we will be the best in the world. England are champions for the second
season in a row with a game to spare. England go to Dublin in
pursuit of the Grand Slam next weekend. But it was a strange
experience to be at Twickenham yesterday, we expected a great,
compelling contest, but the gulf between the sides was so vast it was
a bit flat as an occasion. We will talk about how good England were in
a second, but Andy, a lot of people were saying last night that in many
ways the game was almost decided in the first two minutes. Yes it was a
painful experience for the players, but also the spectators. I don't
think anyone saw it coming. I certainly expected Scotland to be
competitive and their defence has been strong and the attack had been
good and I thought they would pose a real test for England. But it was
anything but. The yellow card, was that the killer almost from the word
go? Scotland's start in general. When you go to Twickenham, you need
to stop England getting into the game, this was the first time
Russell got the ball. Good possession goes England's way. But
this is Fraser Brown about two minutes in and he puts in a good
hit, intimidate the opposition, but what he didn't do was bring him
down-to-earth correctly and he went above the horizontal and he landed
on his back. It was silly, it was a yellow card, down to 14 men, the
worst possible start. Then you want to control the game, take the pace
out of it. Russell missed that. He tried to get three points. He is too
far. This pass drops and he has got to be further forward so he has a
chance. Although he gets charged down, a better pass, quicker on the
ground he gets this. Phraser Brown comes off after ten minutes. All you
want to do get the ball and control it. He overthrows it. Maybe too much
adrenaline. Maybe trying to make up for that error. But it was error
after error. Russell getting the ball knocked out by Launchbury.
These things compounded everything. The scrum has been an issue for
Scotland. Didn't have an impact yesterday. This was the first scrum
of the day. Penalty and further back into Scotland's defence. This is
where, that is the last five minutes of your four points down, not in the
first 18 minutes. Russell chasing the game. A hail Mary pass that
could have been another try. It was so many mistakes and there was
injuries, Stewart Hogg, who has been on fire for Scotland, went off with
a head injury. He was replaced by Bennett, the first time he touched
it it looks like a bad injury and Scotland after 20 minutes are making
mistakes, they have not had any chance and you have got a back line
that was anything but what they looked to start with. You have Price
making his second start of the wing. A winger at full-back. So that, they
wouldn't have prepared for any eventuality of that happening. So
poor play, a bit of bad luck, but it was a terrible start and they never
got over that. They were chasing it from minute two. But England were
ruthless. Yeah, I think that was the best thing to come out of that game
for England was how not only ruthless in terms of wanting to
score more points, but being Llyn kral. The try -- but being clinical.
The tries were innovative, but looking at Scotland, not to heap
pressure on them, once nay lost their shape, they were too wide.
Now, as any centre, he has got to get Josephs. If you have someone
with that much gas, you can't give him the space to create those
opportunities. You have to go and meet him and shut down his space.
They're perfectly set up for how they want to be. It is a man on man
situation. We would like Visser nor midfield. If you sit off and watch
Dunbar, he allows Joseph to go at him and when something has
afterburners like that, you can't do that. That is when they had their
normal back line. Once it changes, as we will show you, it... I
understand why it happened, but someone's got to be pulling that
together, whether it is Dunbar, but someone's got to have a go. Here
England have been creative and they have got a 7-man lineout and used
Youngs and Farrell. What Scotland have done is thrown up a tail pod.
What normally hatches is the last man would be your tail gunner and
take the first attacker and be an inside support for the 10. But
because they have had to put their 9n as we roll it on, Youngs plays
the usual 9 Farrell does a great job. But he should have someone on
his inside to take that. But you have price all the way out. He needs
to be nearer. Watson, they have gone man-to-man to match up on Hughes.
But he has got ahead of his line and you have five England attackers
against three defenders. And you know, Watson gets ahead and they
make a bad decision and they're in no-man's land. Jones is in no-man's
land. The feet of Joseph to score, he has no right to score that. You
would expect somebody to put a hand on him there and it just doesn't
happen. But pit is fantastic footwork. But well played by
England. Now we have gone on, so two attacks off line-outs have been
around the midfield and let's try and force them wide. But again
Scotland start too wide. They do have a tail gunner off the back. But
for some reason this time Russell decides to fly straight on and 10
and leaves his next three attackers exposed. This is too wide and
they're exposed and they have no inside defence and again England run
a smart out the back play. What Jonathan Joseph does is great heads
up rugby. He saw the hole was out wide and perfect and once you have
got through that, that has been clinical. If Visser was narrower he
would have been able to get Watson down, but just the smarts of Joseph
to change his line and then buy time and wait for someone to turn up. The
timing of the pass as well was fantastic. And unselfish. Sometimes
people try to score that themselves, but that was the best thing about
England, they were unselfish in making sure they just scored. What
do you think about England? They looked good in patches. I think we
haven't seen the best of them F you stand off them, they have a quality
back line and they can create tries. Disappointing for Scotland. You
would expect the first 20 minutes Scotland to come to Twickenham in
the way they have played, take it to England, they conceded I think five
penalties in the first 18 or 19 minutes, gifting England points and
territory. That is the longest last thing you want -- that is the last
thing you want to do. After the Italian game, England were not
impressive. You want to put doubts in England heads. Aggressive. But
England did a ruthless job. Played 18 and won 18 for England. That
equals New Zealand world record. Actually looking at the figures,
actually the world record, although it is not a tier one country, for 24
consecutive convict ripries -- countries held by. Cyprus. Did you
know that somebody told you that in your ear. It is Cyprus. So the big
debate is New Zealand again public sector England, will it happen?
There was talk that maybe they're negotiations going on to try and
have a game in the autumn. Today on Radio 5 Live the
New Zealand coach was complimentary about England. I would like to
congratulate them on equalling the record. It is great for rugby, we
want real competition and games that people want to come and watch and
get excited by and Eddie has installed a want and desire that
hasn't been there before. We have felt England have had plenty of
talent, but haven't wanted to work hard and they seem to be doing that
now under Eddie and it is no surprise they're putting a run
together that is impressive. He was talking about the motivation and the
mentality, that poses the question of if England were to play the All
Blacks, how many members of England team would get into the current New
Zealand set up? How many do you think? It would be
difficult I would make a case for both the Vunipolas to be there. Reid
is outstanding. Mako, the way he keeps the ball alive and we saw in
that last try to throw the dummy off-load. Our second rows are in a
good place. Now they have two world class second rose, I think we have
two. Was that all eight? I will put cases for. As a starter, Mako would
probably be a finisher, but I think Billy has been fantastic for England
and... This is the New Zealand side that played against Ireland in the
autumn. Which England backs get in that seven? I think Farrell gets in.
Probably at 12, I don't think you can dislodge Barrett. That back
three is good. Yes, I think Farrell fitting in at 12. New Zealand have
tried a centre combinations over the last couple of months and have yet
to decide on what their best two are. Most New Zealand players in
that team, but fla the team that Ireland beat in November. England
would win that game. It is a game we would love to see. They're matched
up nicely. To be continued. Now back three days or two days to the start
of fourth weekend of Six Nations in Cardiff. It was savage and
stupendous and it was Wales against Ireland.
O'Brien. Six running on the sideline. Toner. -- Zebo. CJ
standard could not quite get it away and Ireland have the advantage. --
CJ Stander. Scrum becomes a penalty. Holds its line. Ireland take the
lead. Scott Williams. Jonathan Davies slightly behind him and the
ball comes to Liam Williams. It is well read by Donny -- Jonny Sexton.
He stayed down to prevent the tackle being made. Stay down long enough
for reinforcements to arrive. Toner was brought down by war Britain.
Sexton stays down. Marie has to clear -- 98.
-- Murray. -- Warburton. Paddy Jackson will come on the coast Jonny
Sexton will have to go off for the head injury assessment. Ken Bowens
throws and Sam Warburton wins the line-out. Ross Moriarty to Rhys
Webb. Scott Williams is through. Long pass to Leigh Halfpenny. George
North is back with a vengeance. Fantastic pass. Great finish from
George North. What a finish. That is a brilliant finish. Great support
for the inter-passing. Brilliant vision. This is the support they
have lacked in the past games. What a finish. Toner again sets up the
driving maul. CJ Stander against Tipuric. Another penalty against
Tipuric. Yes. He has got to release the ball when he has tackled him.
Paddy Jackson, 13 out on his last 13. 14 out of 14, Ireland take the
lead at the principality stadium. -- Principality Stadium. Dan Biggar.
Conor Murray is down. It looks to be his rest that he is clutching. Wales
are in possession. -- it looks to be his arm. Leigh Halfpenny against
Zebo. Leigh Halfpenny gets a hand on it. Wales will have to put in at the
scrum. Big collision there with George North for Conor Murray. That
could be a bad injury for a lot of teams, also for Munster. Conor
Murray, his bicep seems to be OK. For the moment.
Justin Tipuric, Wales keeping it tight. Not many options for width.
Ken Owens. Warburton. Jake Ball. It is a penalty for Wales that last and
it is the kick by web to Leigh Halfpenny. Jonathan Davies, a foot
short. A advantage again, yellow cards. -- Webb. Jonny Sexton is
going into the bin, clearly killing the ball on the line. It is no place
for an outside have to be. You cannot get out of there. I do not
see how he can get out of there. Leigh Halfpenny lands the penalty
and Wales take the lead. It has been an exhilarating half, it has had a
bit of everything. Sean O'Brien has got loose, Scott Williams got a boot
to it. Rhys Webb. George North takes a pass. Tipuric pops it up. Rhys
Webb, for Scott Williams, the Chase, Conor Murray has to turn with Leigh
Halfpenny in hot pursuit. Just about find the touch. Conor Murray did
well. Big moment here. Ken Owens prepares the throw. The model is on.
-- maul. It is there, George North, for a
second time. The line-out maul was set up so well. It look so tight
that the Irish have to commit numbers, they are down a man. This
man is really putting his mark on the game, so is Rhys Webb. Conor
Murray's evening is over and it gets no easier for Ireland.
Heaslip. Two passes, Ireland suddenly go wide. Leigh Halfpenny,
tries to avoid the touch and it falls back over the goal line. Five
metre line-out, Ireland throne. And Rory Best gives the signal.
Henderson wins. Charteris. Clever play by Ireland, they have stopped
Charteris getting near the ball and on comes the drive by Rory Best.
Rory Best edges closer, help arrives from the outside.
I think it is a penalty to Wales. Number 12 run from the distance in
front of the ball. That is obstruction and that is a penalty. I
think he has a point. He has the bind over the back of the ball. It
is harsh enough. If he had put an arm over the top of Rory breast as
he went into that maul, I think it might be a penalty -- Rory Best.
Ireland standing still and taking the ball. Is there anyway out of
this 22 Ireland trail by 26 points. Robert six we wait for Wayne Burns
to award the try and he has and Wales have just won the encounter.
Fair play to Wales and they have just paid and Ireland dine, put them
under incredible pressure. They did well in the second half -- they put
Ireland down. No one has felt that pressure more than the Welsh
coaching staff, what a response. We knew there was going to be a
reaction. You have to play like that, with or without the ball.
There was a lot of hurt in the camp and I am very proud of the players.
They deserve that. We did not get the bounce of the ball a couple of
times. Credit to Wales, they were under pressure and I think they have
always demonstrated that when they are under pressure, they come up
with big moment and they won some really big ones tonight. It looked
as though you had scored close to the end of the game only for Robbie
Henshaw to be penalised, what is your view of what happened there? We
felt we were going well and going forward and Wayne Barnes is a top
referee and I think that will be one of the mistakes we made that we will
be disappointed with. I said that the last couple of weeks, you look
in the mirror and locate yourself the players have done that, they are
very honest about their performance against Scotland and they have come
out and I think they can stand proud tonight and enjoy the night. It was
a ferocious encounter and in case you have not read about it or seen
it, just look at these statistics for the number of tackles made in
this match. The highest number in a Six Nations game. 341 tackles in a
single match. We keep talking about the brutality and physicality of
that game and the concussions that Scotland have suffered, no one was
really injured in that game but it was just immense. Where was won and
lost for you? The first ten minutes, you look at the aggression and
physicality, 50 odd tackles in the first ten minutes. The two sets of
teams, the line speed was incredible, Ireland play a game
based on their back row carrying the ball, getting over the game line.
Ireland being patient, carrying the ball in the 22 and the Welsh back
row were commenced all night and nullified any carries that the
irish-macro attempted to make. Ireland being patient but a good
tackle by Rhys Webb. The Welsh back row was so aggressive. Jamie Heaslip
does not make any yards and I think you resort to kicking the ball to
try and do something different. The right idea but not that accurate in
giving the ball back to the Welsh. Huge credit to Wales from the point
of view of a defensive average. The line speed shot Ireland down.
Scotland did the same two Ireland in the opening game. On the back of
that, they did not have a chance to get over the gain line and play.
From the Welsh point of view, they were under pressure, it was an
immense response? It was the reaction that Rob Howley wanted. I
was in Wales and they were beating themselves up. This Welsh team, I
think they are a good team that was playing badly, they have fantastic
players, the likes of Warburton, Alun Wyn, Dan Biggar, they have top
quality and they had a real bite about them on Friday night and I
think on Friday night, when the stadium close, they were going to be
a tough team to beat. There were some people who said that they
watched it in their local rugby club and said they had never known the
bar be so quiet, everyone was stunned into silence by the ferocity
of those opening assaults. We have seen through the standards, it has
lifted a level. The England and Wales game was one of the most
physical I have seen for a long time and it continued on Friday night.
That is one thing that has been different about Wales, they brought
that pretty much every game. The Scotland game network form that have
not quite have the creativity we have been used to. That was more
apparent, George North was a completely different player. I think
that was the biggest difference, they actually brought a variety to
their game which allowed them to get on the front foot ahead of Ireland.
Wayne Barnes may not be the most popular referee in Ireland but he
had a great game on Friday night which enabled it to be such a great
spectacle. Two key decisions, Johnny Sexton in the sin bin and then the
no try decision, what do you feel about them? It is difficult to argue
with his decision. Johnny makes a good tackle
initially, he is rolled into the path of the ball. As difficult as it
is to get out of there, your one yard from the line and the Welsh
guys are doing everything they can to pin him then and that is a
decision that the referee has to make. If he is not there, Wales can
score and it is five points. It is the correct decision. Likewise here,
maul is going forward. Robbie Henshaw feels like he can add some
weight to it. Robbie has joined just ahead
He made it easy for Wayne Barnes, because he almost knocked into him.
Both decisions were close calls, but they were both right. He had no
option. You mentioned George North, it was welcome back to the big time?
Yes speaking to Andy, he wasn't at the races in that Scotland game.
Whether that was because he was not fully recovered from his dead leg,
but on the weekend he was running aggressively and hard. Here with
this, Peter's going to jump in, Jackson's ahead of where he wants to
be. Great support from Rees Webb and the pass accurate and George on the
wing, physical, the power takes him over. But we are seeing a different
man. I think Leigh Halfpenny gave that pass at the perfect time. Hit
the was cute play by -- this was cute play by Webb. Best has got to
stay there to mark the blindside. Webb just is waiting ing for Best to
vacate that position. A great finish from Wales, before that you had 14
phases from Ireland in the Welsh 22. Great line speed from Wales and they
turned the ball over and got in the corner. Wales using great width and
so physical and powerful. On a weekend like this, a lot of players
maybe played their way on to the Lions party and some went down the
pecking order. George Nith was mass -- North was massively in credit.
His coach made him stand up and said he wasn't good enough against
Scotland. He has responded in the only way he can. Not just in attack,
but he was physical in defence. Don't know if he doesn't like
Cairney. Here is the question, Peter, England going for the Grand
Slam, but Ireland would love nothing more than to deny England, given
what we have seen in the last 48-hours, and perhaps give than
Eddie O'Sullivan said today he thinks Ireland are too predictable
in attack, how can Ireland beat England next weekend? They have got
to win the gain line. That has been the core element of their success in
recent months. Dominating that gain line with the ball carriers they
have, front row, back row, come on to the ball at pace, there is a
call, or the question over whether they mix up the back row. Just to
bring that physicality and aggression that they will need
against the English pack. There is plenty of questions, but I think
going to Dublin, you know, obviously England will be favourites, but I
wouldn't be surprised if Ireland pull off a win. They have done it in
the past. On the one occasion they didn't, that was the era when you
were playing, what do you think, do England do more of the same or do
Ireland pose a different challenge? It is difficult, I have been on both
sides of the fence, in 2003 and in 2001 - 2011 I got injured and
Ireland frustrated England and played a simple game. Played a lot
of high-Ballater tri. Ball territory. And frustrating the
forwards. Not allowing them to have the ball they want. Set pieces are
going to be massive. If England, we have seen what they can do, if they
get easy ball at scrum or line-out time they will get the big men into
the game. What you see with Ireland is they will come up with a plan and
look at England's weaknesses. I think Ireland are one of the best
teams in formulating a plan and putting it into work. England will
have to go on their mettle, if they're not, Ireland in Dublin is
just, I think they raise their game 20%. One word answer who, wins? I
think it is more than one word, I think England are on a roll and they
get the world record. Well actually there are two Grand Slam deciders
taking place next weekend. England and Ireland going for the
Grand Slam. Highlights of the story so far tonight.
Our final port of call is Rome. How trick did Italy up their sleeves
against the French? A few but not enough.
Trying to set up a maul there. They have got the penalty right in front
of the posts. They continue with the advantage.
And it goes outside. Parisse over the line and we have only played two
minutes and Italy have scored their first try in the sunshine and they
have caught the French napping. Dulin feeds out to the far side.
Nice work by the French backs. Lamerat getting involved. Fickou
also in the mix. A nice dart by Lopez. What a dummy from Fickou. He
is going to go under the sticks. Beautiful from the French. That's
what they can do. When they can actually string the passes together,
have a bit of telepathy between the squad and it can be quite pretty.
That was the dummy that did it that Fickou rounded the posts to touch it
down. Will the French make their mark in the second half? Here is the
maul. We heard the referee, it's going backwards. They managed to
edge around the corner there. It is all about the French pack wanting to
exert themselves and we have a penalty advantage as well. Lopez
tries to give the dummy. It is not read though. Serin again and this
time it was too easy. Vakatawa puts down. Are the Italians tired? The
French don't care! Vakatawa walked through that defensive line like it
was an open door. You talk about tired bodies with the Italians as
pan vane takes -- Padovani takes it on. Bronzini goes over. Will they
check it? The reaction in the Stadio Olimpico is of a crowd that thinks
it went over. It doesn't look like the ball actually touched the grass.
Conor O'Shea knew it. Could we see a push over from the French? They will
fancy it. Oh, there is the warning from the referee, there will be an
opportunity as Picamoles is going for the line and the try for King
Louis. It is try No 3 for the French. It has been coming for a
while. And it comes in the end from the big No 8 who plays for
Northampton. It is the French who have it no.
Dulin going for the French. The bonus point try will be scored,s
Dulin touches it down. The French have come to Rome and got everything
they came for. Still more Italian forwards flying through. Pick and go
once again. Will the French let them have the second try? Out to
Esposito. It will make no difference to the table, but Italy do get the
try and Esposito goes down in the corner. Come pet televisionally
disappointed, but in terms of the pride the boys put in, we will keep
working. The most important for us was to win this game. Many things
not perfect, but the most important is victory and we are happy with
that. Italy had more possession and territory in that game, but on a
weekend of records, look at that statistic on the tackles made and
missed. Italy missed 55 tackles in that match. How can you win a match
at any level missing that many tackles? Answer - you can't. One
player we must talk about is the French scrum-half, he is a
tremendous player, man of the match and he has that extra something.
Yes, he looks very promising. I have been very impressed with him in the
Six Nations. A guy who controls the game very well. Tests defenders. The
Italians are tiring, but he is keeping them honest in and around
the fringes, picking and going. Italy again rushing up in defence.
But he is playing with heads up and puts the ball behind them. Run,
pass, kick, he has it all. Leaving gaps around the defenders close to
the ruck. Again lovely off-load. You can see just draws in that as a
defender, lovely around the back pass. Poor defensive from Italy. But
good vision from Serin. A little chip over and pinning Italy. He has
so many strings to his bow. He looks like he should be in a boy band too.
Talk about Italy, at half time in all their games, it is, this could
be their moment and in the second half they fall away. If you look at
the statistics, in the second half they're 120-12.
What is the cause of that? It must be fitness. They expend so much
energy to stay in the game in the first half and they have nothing
left to give. There is nothing left in the tank. We could see similar
establishments in the Guinness Pro12. Conor knows it is a massive
it is a tock -- massive task to turn it around. Also depth of squad. We
talk about finishers coming on for England, whether the quality at the
bench could be looked at. There is no way you should be missing 55
tackles. If you look at half of them, they're just, they're half
attempts and not even proper attempts. That would lead you to
think fitness is a problem. We must leave it there. Peter, about to come
a dad this week and it is your birthday Andy. Anything you want to
contribute about your domestic life? Cheltenham. Back a few winners. Good
luck if you're going. Grand Scotland decider for England next weekend.
They have been there before it it promises to be a fantastic end to
the season. Ireland seeking to deprive England of a Grand Slam. And
they're dancing all around Lansdowne Road. And he will finish with a
flourish. The dashing of England's Grand Slam
hopes. It's great that you could
come in for this, Lenny.
John Inverdale presents highlights and in-depth analysis of the penultimate round of fixtures from the 2017 Six Nations. This weekend's games saw Wales host Ireland in the unique Friday night atmosphere of the Principality Stadium. Meanwhile, England were looking for an eighth consecutive win over old rivals Scotland, and Italy and France went head to head in Rome.