Rugby Special - Week 1 Six Nations Rugby


Rugby Special - Week 1

John Inverdale introduces analysis and reaction from the opening weekend of Six Nations games, which saw Scotland host Ireland, England take on France and Italy meet Wales.


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And we're under way in the 2017 RBS Six Nations. The defence of the

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grand slam title begins at Twickenham. The Welsh team are

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packed with players who have won the Championship. Hello. February Sunday

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tea-time welcome Rugby special. After the kind of game we have had

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over the weekend that coaches really earn their money. Today in Rome,

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sodden run, Conor O'Shea, the new man in charge of Italy was out to

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prove that he could succeed where so many had failed before. Yesterday at

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Twickenham, the unbeatable Eddie Jones and the unfathomable Guy Noves

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pitted their wits against each other. At Murrayfield, the departing

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Vern Cotter was out to show that he has made a difference to Scotland,

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node and in the future. To ponder it all, we have an Englishman, a

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Scotsman and the Welshman. Martyn Williams, Mike Blair and Alex

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Corbisiero. One of the guarantees over the Six Nations recently has

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been that every match that takes place in Rome has been beneath

:02:19.:02:24.

beautiful blue skies. Not today. It rained a thousand Trevi Fountain is

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which mean that it was a greasy page that confronted England and Wales --

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Italy and Wales at the Olympic Stadium.

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It has been described as a game that Wales cannot afford to lose. Twice

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they have come unstuck in Rome. Conor O'Shea has pumped his side

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full of positivity and bully. The Italians are missing key men. They

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are still able to call on Warriors like Cittadini and Parisse. Keep an

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eye on two men, the loose-head prop, Andrea Lovotti, and Maxime Mbanda.

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For all the instinctive skills of Canna, he needs to make sure that he

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can organise and control. McLean will be he's eyes and ears. There is

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quality at fullback. The Welsh are missing Luke Charteris. The new

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skipper, Alun Wyn Jones, will be at the start of everything. Nicky Smith

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wins the nod at loose-head. There is familiarity in the scrum. The

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Scarlets paling in the centre. Williams has to play on the wing.

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George North has got to rediscover his try scoring prowess. The

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Italians can call on former skipper Dean Albini. For Wales, lots of

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excitement surrounding Sam Davies, offering a genuine spark late on.

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The referee is JP Doyle of Ireland. The bollards picked up by Parisse.

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Italy are beginning to run riot. Here goes Sergio Parisse. So close

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to the line. Wales stopping him in the nick of time. Italy bearing down

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on the Welsh try-line for the first time in the match. If that ball

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comes out, there are three or four micro men on the right-hand side

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clear. Not a Welsh man inside. That all came from a very bad scrum. That

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is a brilliant tackle by George North. It thwarts the Italians for

:04:50.:05:02.

the first time in this game. Parisse is looking to strike. It is a lovely

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inside ball. Steyn is there. Once again, within a couple of metres.

:05:10.:05:18.

The noise building inside Olympic Stadium. Italy reassembling.

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Parisse, having set up the maul, looking to work it around the

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fringes. Over the go. Have they got it on? JP Doyle says yes. Wales are

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stunned. They absorbed lots of the Welsh pressure. It was a great

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inside ball. Moriarty held him up. I thought he was over. The important

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thing is patience. We have set up the maul. The scrum-half is in

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there, Luke McLean is in there. They stay on their feet again. Edoardo

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Gori has been credited with a try. 7-0, Italy in front, not 30 minutes

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gone. One man is out. An Italian player is injured as well.

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Wales, earnest and pricing and winning the penalty. Italy failing

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to roll away from the tackled player. This is within range for

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Halfpenny, certainly. That was rather innocuous. It did not look

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like much. Dan Biggar is a tough man. It takes quite a bit to keep

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him on the ground. It might only be three points, but in the context of

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the match, and in the context of the Welsh challenge today, these would

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be very precious points for the injured Leigh Halfpenny.

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That was a vital score for Rob Howley's men. Italy have the only

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try of the game through Gori. Their leading at the break, 7-3.

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Tipuric. Not really a day for flashy play from Tipuric. He left that too

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late. Two knock-ons. Somebody earlier. Moriarty. I think the title

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is good but the way that he put him down was dangerous. Let's see how he

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put him down. He landed on his back. It is a perfectly reasonable tackle.

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That is a great tackle. That is an interesting call from JP Doyle. He

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reckons it went past the horizontal and is a penalty. To the letter of

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the law, he is right, but I think all the kids in school were brought

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up to make that tackle. It is a very clean, true straight from Halfpenny.

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With just about 30 minutes left, the Welsh at the front for the first

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time in the match. Moriarty feeds Webb. Scott Williams.

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The Welsh have definitely got more purpose to their activities in the

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second period, despite Warburton being driven back. Rhys Webb it

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seems using the way. You kick this again. Go for goal again. We have

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not looked like scoring a try, so kick it. The penalties are telling

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Italy at the moment. What is the point of that? I know he is trying

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to close the link then. 11 penalties conceded. You cannot do that. It is

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a very well on routine. The result is a familiar one as well. A little

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bit of breathing space for the Welsh. Abraham Steyn told to remove

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himself. He needs players either side of him now. He gets the flood

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away. Brilliant. Sam Davies, linking with Tipuric. Wales playing like

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Wales. Jonathan Davies within a couple of metres.

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Building all the time. Webb has made it, has the? I think he has got

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there. You might of taking two megabytes at the cherry. I think he

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has scored. JP Doyle. That is a lot better. I think it is going to be a

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try. He is allowed to reach out. That bollards on the ground. I think

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it is a try. I have got the decision. It is just short of the

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line. So, no try. Rhys Webb denied. I think that is a try myself. I

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think that is on the line. The Italians down on one knee on this

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loose-head side. He is down again. That is it, he is. He has gone, he

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has warned him. He is on his way. Onto your knees and on the outside.

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The Italians are going to 14. Andrea Lovotti heads to the touchline for a

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ten minute spell. He has dropped, and the hooker has dropped. Only

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Gori patrolling the short side for the Italians. Webb, liking the look

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of this. He goes and brings in Liam Williams. A good tackle. Just short

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of the line. That is a great tackle. He has got to get outside Venditti,

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under the post. That is where the movement is, two pasties. Sam Davies

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to Scott Williams. The goal wide. Jonathan Davies. In the end, it was

:11:36.:11:41.

easy. It has taken time to come, but finally the Welsh have a try. Watch

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number 11, Venditti. You know he is going to do it, a winger defending

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in the centre. I thought he had blown it by going inside, the two

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man overlap. For me, that is the game. He knows he is coming, as a

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stand-off, you can sense it. The ball should maybe have gone but he

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does the right call again and it is an easy finish for Jonathan Davies.

:12:07.:12:20.

Scott Williams. Webb is there. You have got to tackle. Good line speed.

:12:21.:12:24.

Really good pressure from the Italians. Webb legs to go wide.

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Jonathan Davies again. Here is Liam Williams. Try number two. Quick

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handling, pressure from the forwards initially. Making the most of the

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numerical advantage. Wales taking a commanding lead. They go midfield,

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watch. Brilliant play by Scott Williams. The two centres do

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exceptionally well. He holds, he checks. He commits the tackle.

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Off-load and the try. They cannot find the space. Leon. It

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was kicked for word by Venditti. It is a decent, tidy job by Sam Davies.

:13:15.:13:20.

He has just waited long enough. George North sets off, whether he is

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in pain or not. He has the beating of Luke McLean. North head for the

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post, and Wales have your third. What damage has it done? This was

:13:32.:13:38.

clever from Davies. He just held the ball for long enough. The defence

:13:39.:13:46.

are all over the place. Pain etched all over the face of George North

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before he got the touchdown. That was a lovely little kick through.

:13:57.:14:00.

Gareth Davies is after it. This is like England in the World Cup again.

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Gathered eventually by Michele Campagnaro from Italy. Maybe that is

:14:10.:14:13.

the bone is gone as far as the Welsh are concerned. Or maybe not. --

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maybe that is the bone is gone. Liam Williams is going to claim it. Not

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terribly convincingly. He is claiming it all the same. On the

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reaction of the players, that is not a try. We are checking the knock-on.

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No, he is short. He is not going to get it from there, is the? No. There

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will be no bonus point for Wales. People will look at that and say it

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is the same old Italy, competitive for 50 minutes and the other team

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pull away. The referee was looking at when team discipline wise. We

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found it difficult. We are at the outset of something and we make sure

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that we do not compound the mistakes. We have to refocus

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quickly. That is the challenge. It could have gone two ways at

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half-time. He was level-headed. We had lots of opportunity in the 22.

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We took our foot off the gas and press too much, fumbled. Credit to

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Italy. They stifled our possession. We had one bad scrum and it ended up

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under the posts. We went in with the deficit by that half we were

:15:27.:15:28.

level-headed. We were composed, Howard Rose before

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the game, it was 15-40 and then we scored those points. A shame about

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the bonus point at the end, with the application in our second half, we

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can be more confident and have more believe going into the England game.

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It winds a win -- a win is a win? Yes committee can be content, after

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those post-match interviews, it hit the nail on the head. A potential

:16:01.:16:05.

banana skin, when you saw the weather coming down at the start of

:16:06.:16:09.

the game, that ring comedy thought, could it be similar conditions to

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South Africa in the autumn? And think that this could be a banana

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skin, at half-time it was 7-3 down, the experience and the number of

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caps, the players had done it for Wales, and they got a victory.

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Clinical in the second half, quietly content with a victory. It wasn't a

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great spectacle, but what did you make of it overall? It would always

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take time to break down this talent, it's an emotional game, in the Six

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Nations, at home in Italy, you need to bide your time and break the

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defence down. And in contrast to what Conor O'Shea said, you beat

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Italy in the last half-hour of the game. Very much so, and at times,

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their patience with the ball, that rewarded them with the penalties,

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and gradually, there was more possession which broke them down, I

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liked when they moved the ball a bit more, going ahead into the next

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games when they play the ball out the backache a few times, ask more

:17:06.:17:08.

questions and with defence, they seemed more dangerous -- play out

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the back. Italy should have scored a second try really, leading 14-3 at

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half-time would have been a different psychological battle but

:17:21.:17:25.

the Welsh defence was rock-solid. In contrast to what the Italians did

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not have? When you say defence, people think tackles, discipline,

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not giving those penalties away. But this was a magnificent game for some

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money today. Back on his feet, winning the turnover. On half time

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but conversely, the Italians, every time Wales got the ball, it was easy

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points, silly penalties, they are under no pressure, in the second and

:17:51.:17:53.

third phases, you have to roll away. You need players like Leigh

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Halfpenny in the team, don't give them any chances, even when the

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captain is on board. OK, it is 50-50, but there is no need to give

:18:05.:18:08.

the referee that decision. But Wales, they love doing anything 12-7

:18:09.:18:16.

in front because of the Italian discipline, we are all expecting a

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new Italy and O'Connor reshape, but it is the same team we've seen for

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the last ten years -- and O'Connor O'Shea. How does a coach deal with

:18:28.:18:31.

that? If you speak to Brian Moore, he would say, I've had a masterplan,

:18:32.:18:37.

and put the players on the field, then they would go and mess it up,

:18:38.:18:41.

Conor O'Shea must have looked at elements of today and gone, what am

:18:42.:18:45.

I doing? He has not been in charge for a huge amount of time, he needs

:18:46.:18:50.

to bet that culture within the team. I've been at teams where you have

:18:51.:18:54.

serial offenders, and I will fine you 100 quid if you do this... I'm

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sure there have been a fair few! It will take time, as Conor O'Shea said

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in his interview, he is aware of issues with discipline, he will be

:19:06.:19:10.

keeping on top of that. Alex alluded to the fact that Wales got better as

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the match went on, they played more expansive elements into the game,

:19:15.:19:17.

Dan Biggar will be assessed on Monday in terms of his injury and

:19:18.:19:22.

George North, more of that in a moment, but when Jamie Roberts isn't

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selected as a starting centre and Dan Biggar I is not playing, do

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Wales had to play differently? Yes, Sam Davies is a very different

:19:31.:19:33.

player. Particularly in Wales, people have been asking for this. A

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lot of criticism of Wales, they've not been involved in eight or nine

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years under Warren Gatland. He's Welsh forward to going around the

:19:44.:19:48.

corner, Sam Davies looks forward and seize on the blindside that there

:19:49.:19:52.

was a prop, the end man. -- he can see. Effectively, you have two

:19:53.:20:03.

centres on a loosehead prop, and a 2-3 man overlap. They are not

:20:04.:20:08.

programmed, they are willing to go outside of the box and play what is

:20:09.:20:11.

in front of them, that has been missing from the Welsh game for so

:20:12.:20:15.

long. Scott Williams did brilliantly in holding up the defence. We saw

:20:16.:20:21.

with the lead up to Davies's tried, he can make that pass away. He can

:20:22.:20:26.

lead the Welsh attack. Jonathan Davies was saying that this tackle

:20:27.:20:30.

that we will show, he said, this is how children are taught to tackle at

:20:31.:20:36.

school. It is wonderful, what do you think? I think that five or six

:20:37.:20:40.

years ago, this was an amazing tackle. When I played with Matheus

:20:41.:20:46.

, that was his trick. The amount of emphasis that they put on safety,

:20:47.:20:53.

these are not acceptable, lifting players into the air like that, it

:20:54.:20:57.

impacts the game. It is difficult to lie out of that first thing. He

:20:58.:21:01.

makes great contact, that momentum going forward. A final point, if Dan

:21:02.:21:10.

Biggar are is fit, who starts at ten for Wales next weekend? He won't be,

:21:11.:21:15.

if he has hurt his ribs but based on today, you would throw Sam Davies

:21:16.:21:20.

soon. Next weekend, it is Wales against England at Cardiff. As we

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reflect on yesterday's matches... England played France, and Eddie

:21:26.:21:29.

Jones described their performance as ugly, but ultimately? Beautiful.

:21:30.:21:36.

COMMENTATOR: Lopez, directly behind the scrum, spinning directly behind.

:21:37.:21:46.

Lopez, getting it away from George Ford. A quick blast of the whistle.

:21:47.:22:05.

It's not exactly a tipping tackle. Jonny May shakes his head, here he

:22:06.:22:09.

comes... He takes him beyond the horizontal. It is going to be a

:22:10.:22:19.

yellow card, Brian? You lifted him horizontal, so... There is an

:22:20.:22:23.

element of regrets in Angus Gardner's voice, but it is ten

:22:24.:22:26.

minutes in the sin-bin for Jonny May. It stripped then... France, two

:22:27.:22:36.

penalties by Cammy Lopez, leading 6-3. The magnitude of that

:22:37.:22:43.

challenge, they are well aware of it against France. Louis Picamoles gets

:22:44.:23:04.

the pass away to Gourdon. Vakatawa. England's defence is solid.

:23:05.:23:14.

Picamoles, away... There is the strength of Louis Picamoles. The

:23:15.:23:20.

high tackle by England again. Dan Cole, about helping midfield. The

:23:21.:23:28.

advantage is played, it is another penalty for France. Tom Wood would

:23:29.:23:31.

have to be careful... Playing on after the whistle. Well, with the

:23:32.:23:42.

current interpretation yes, it was not dangerous, but this is real

:23:43.:23:47.

discipline that they cannot afford against a team like France. Lopez,

:23:48.:23:54.

to extend the French lead... He has. 9-3, France leading at Twickenham.

:23:55.:24:04.

It's a penalty advantage against France. It is a free play for

:24:05.:24:27.

England, taken up by Courtney Lawes, but Uini Atonio is in his way. Back

:24:28.:24:34.

to the original penalty. On the ground here, the man does not get

:24:35.:24:38.

out of the way of the ball. It has to be played. England's six - nine

:24:39.:24:49.

France. Owen Farrell's second penalty. Crouch, bind, set! Going

:24:50.:25:06.

for a big drive... Penalty, pushing forward. Pushing before the ball is

:25:07.:25:14.

in, guys. You can see, never really steady. Up stepped Elliot Daly, with

:25:15.:25:22.

a long shot at goal. 60 yards, he has got the range here. It looks

:25:23.:25:31.

good. It is good! We are all square. England 9-9 France.

:25:32.:25:37.

Maro Itoje. Having a go. Leave it... George Ford, dummying the cake.

:25:38.:26:02.

Brilliantly done by Owen Farrell -- kick. It will go to review, Elliot

:26:03.:26:07.

Daly thinks that he has scored. If he has, it was good awareness.

:26:08.:26:13.

Bringing the ball back against the grain, getting the opportunity on

:26:14.:26:20.

the blindside. Yes, he is now. Just! A great tackle. Dylan Hartley finds

:26:21.:26:34.

Tom Wood. There is a chance now... Brown with a good off-load. Over to

:26:35.:26:43.

Owen Farrell. George Ford, outside of here. Nathan Hughes... Penalty!

:26:44.:27:00.

It's a yellow card here... Playing the ball from the side, England with

:27:01.:27:05.

Nathan Hughes, but he cannot make it. It's a penalty advantage, still

:27:06.:27:09.

being played. A new advantage. Tom Wood... Going to pot a bit, but

:27:10.:27:19.

England have two penalty advantages. Pick either. What England's need to

:27:20.:27:22.

take from this is that when they keep the ball in hand, they are more

:27:23.:27:29.

of a threat. England in the lead for the first time. Four penalties,

:27:30.:27:33.

three by Owen Farrell. Leading 12-9. Picamoles, with a pass out of the

:27:34.:28:01.

tackle. Gael Fickou... The prop, Xavier Chiocci. Lopez. Fickou tries

:28:02.:28:18.

to go against the run of play. Another high tackle. It comes under

:28:19.:28:23.

the high tackle penalty. It could be better for France, a deliberate

:28:24.:28:26.

knock-on by Courtney Lawes? Scott Spedding has not seen much of this

:28:27.:28:31.

ball in the second half. A couple of advantages have been played France's

:28:32.:28:44.

way. It's a try... A try! The first of the game. With the balance...

:28:45.:28:56.

They deserve to be in front. Jack Nowell, four metres to go. Back to

:28:57.:29:07.

five. James Haskell, another offside advantage against Gael Fickou.

:29:08.:29:25.

Nathan Hughes. Care... Ben Te'o! England are rewarded for staying

:29:26.:29:30.

patient. That was a reward for one of the passages of play that they

:29:31.:29:35.

have had. This has been a disjointed performance by England, but the

:29:36.:29:38.

Grand Slam champions of last year are up and running! They have beaten

:29:39.:29:46.

France by 19-16. It was ugly today, wasn't it? That is what Test match

:29:47.:29:51.

rugby is about. Getting your nose over the line, sometimes you are

:29:52.:29:55.

going to win ugly. We did today. It's a great testament to the 23

:29:56.:30:00.

that our finishes came on in the second half, and gave us what we

:30:01.:30:04.

needed. At half-time, Eddie said it was the worst that we have played

:30:05.:30:07.

and I thought if I got the opportunity to get on, I wanted to

:30:08.:30:11.

get the ball and carry. I thought that if I could offer anything, it

:30:12.:30:15.

was getting some go forward, that's why I try to get the ball as much as

:30:16.:30:20.

I could. They are a good side. A fantastic set piece. A big physical

:30:21.:30:28.

Ford back, Picamoles doing what he wanted on the field today, it is a

:30:29.:30:32.

blur at the moment but there is so much more to work on and get better

:30:33.:30:36.

at. Three games in a row that we could have won against Australia and

:30:37.:30:40.

New Zealand, we had England, we had the game in our hands and let it

:30:41.:30:45.

slip at the end. We seriously got it today, but fair play to England, we

:30:46.:30:49.

knew what we were up against and they continue that winning streak

:30:50.:30:52.

and deserve it. Any time beating France is a great win, they are one

:30:53.:30:57.

of the greatest rugby countries in the world. They have improved. Look

:30:58.:31:02.

at their size, they are a massive team. Getting over the top of them

:31:03.:31:05.

in the end is a great achievement and we are on the road to Wales next

:31:06.:31:10.

week, we look forward to Cardiff and going and causing some problems

:31:11.:31:11.

there! Eddie Jones said that at no point

:31:12.:31:19.

during the game did you think that England would not win. Did you share

:31:20.:31:23.

that opinion? I was worried at times. There were some areas of the

:31:24.:31:26.

game when it was in the balance. England managed to steer the ship

:31:27.:31:30.

and take control of the game. In terms of the way that England

:31:31.:31:35.

played, they were so lacklustre. Making basic mistakes early but it

:31:36.:31:39.

came right in the end. Talk us through some of the areas where

:31:40.:31:44.

England went wrong. I felt there were inaccuracies in the game. It

:31:45.:31:49.

was uncharacteristic. They were not holding onto the ball for phases.

:31:50.:31:54.

They were not turning it over. Their set piece was not accurate. They did

:31:55.:31:59.

not turn up for large parts of the game. Credit to France, they turned

:32:00.:32:03.

up. You have got to give them credit. The one person who turned up

:32:04.:32:09.

more than anybody was Picamoles. He was extraordinary. The influence he

:32:10.:32:14.

had on the match was immense. He was outstanding. He has been

:32:15.:32:26.

around a long time, Picamoles. Being at Northampton has helped his

:32:27.:32:29.

fitness. He was like Billy Vunipola yesterday. This is what he was doing

:32:30.:32:32.

last year for England. That off-load does not look like much but it gives

:32:33.:32:35.

you 510 metres extra. They could not bring him down, his energy, his

:32:36.:32:40.

talk. It was men against boys at stages. One of the all-time great

:32:41.:32:45.

performances from a Frenchman. Why is the more fit at Northampton and

:32:46.:32:50.

he was? They will put a massive emphasis on workrate, involvement.

:32:51.:32:54.

They will rely on him as a talisman for the game. The strength and

:32:55.:33:01.

conditioning impact is huge. What he seems to be so good at doing is he

:33:02.:33:06.

knows where the defenders are. He is able to bomb one guy, transfer the

:33:07.:33:10.

ball, hand of the next. He has the vision to be able to see that. Let's

:33:11.:33:15.

focus on England. Let's concentrate on what went wrong in the first

:33:16.:33:20.

half. Mike, you have picked out a few things. It seems to me that once

:33:21.:33:24.

he comes into the Finnish son, that is where the mistakes come. It is a

:33:25.:33:29.

great set piece play, Tom Wood coming in off his feet. It was a

:33:30.:33:37.

silly mistake. It was a recurring theme. Tom Wood misses the clean

:33:38.:33:40.

straight off. They were in the red areas. They were struggling for

:33:41.:33:44.

gain-line. They were looking to get some of the big carriers in the game

:33:45.:33:48.

on the ball. They knocked the ball on. The light France off the hook.

:33:49.:33:53.

England need to hold onto the ball and work in the French team. England

:33:54.:34:00.

had to take the opportunities. They were not clinical. The

:34:01.:34:04.

disappointment was the line-out. A bit laughable. They are an

:34:05.:34:06.

international side and they need that platform to launch their

:34:07.:34:10.

attack. We will talk about Linux in the Scotland game. How does that

:34:11.:34:15.

complete lack of communication have been? From the outside in, the loss

:34:16.:34:21.

of George Kruis was a big loss. The primary line-out collar. People

:34:22.:34:25.

seemed like they were on different pages, not sure of the call. Dylan

:34:26.:34:28.

Hartley was under pressure to put the ball in and eventually he put it

:34:29.:34:33.

in. In. In the last quarter, replacements came on, Danny Care,

:34:34.:34:38.

James Haskell. There was an increase in Temple. Did that make the

:34:39.:34:43.

difference? Yes, England getting a little bit of run football. Danny

:34:44.:34:49.

Care was in there. When the ball was available, he moved it away. James

:34:50.:34:52.

Haskell cumin and made gain-line. He created quick ball. The ball is

:34:53.:34:57.

available to play and Danny Care gets it away. The quicker you can

:34:58.:35:03.

get, the easier it is to score. Play at pace and the tries will come. One

:35:04.:35:08.

of the great debates that will run through the summer towards the

:35:09.:35:11.

Lions, the first time we have mentioned them and we have been

:35:12.:35:18.

going for 45 minutes, Ford and Farrell at outside half. Who plays

:35:19.:35:24.

and who gets left out? In the papers today, lots of columns, should

:35:25.:35:28.

Farrell be starting? What do you think? It is hard to compare the

:35:29.:35:32.

last 20 to the rest of the game. When Owen Farrell had his run at the

:35:33.:35:36.

game, England were getting gain-line. George Ford is one of the

:35:37.:35:42.

best number tens in the world. His decision-making, the way he pulls

:35:43.:35:48.

the strings, it is phenomenal. It is hard to compare performances. Both

:35:49.:35:52.

were competitive. It will be interesting to see which way Eddie

:35:53.:35:55.

goes as the tournament develops. Can you see a change in the England

:35:56.:36:01.

midfield axis for next weekend? I do not think so. Wales always struggle

:36:02.:36:06.

when sides play rugby against them. George Ford and Owen Farrell cause

:36:07.:36:10.

them all sorts of problems last year. I think Alex hit the nail on

:36:11.:36:14.

the head, it is easier when you have go forward ball. I expect pretty

:36:15.:36:24.

much the same. Lots of talk about the performance of Dylan Hartley. He

:36:25.:36:32.

has not played much. Some conjecture going forward, Owen Farrell maybe

:36:33.:36:35.

the England captain. What did you think about the performance of

:36:36.:36:40.

Hartley yesterday? He has not played in a long time. No matter how much

:36:41.:36:44.

fitness work are simulation of game you do, when you start playing, it

:36:45.:36:49.

will be different. He was put under pressure, made to make decisions. It

:36:50.:36:54.

was a tough 50 minutes for him. He has to tread on eggshells more than

:36:55.:37:00.

any other player at the moment. Yes, he's England captain. He has a

:37:01.:37:03.

history, I am not going to see dirty play, but he has been banned in the

:37:04.:37:09.

past. We can see this example. He is coming in to make a counter ruck.

:37:10.:37:18.

Baptista is around there. He is targeting the head and shoulders. I

:37:19.:37:23.

have seen issues where there are lengthy bans. With his history, he

:37:24.:37:30.

has got to watch out. That is born out of frustration. He was a little

:37:31.:37:35.

bit off the pace. He was thinking, I can counter ruck. Talking about

:37:36.:37:40.

keeping tackles down, that is just as dangerous as a high tackle.

:37:41.:37:43.

You're in a vulnerable position, with your body at that angle. He has

:37:44.:37:49.

got the kid squeaky clean. It has been tough for him with his history.

:37:50.:37:53.

It follows him. He is under more of a microscope than other players. He

:37:54.:37:59.

has to be careful, especially with the directives regarding contact to

:38:00.:38:03.

the head. He has to be on top of that. He is a team-mate of yours

:38:04.:38:10.

from days gone by. A leader of men? He is a leader, fierce competitor.

:38:11.:38:13.

With all the questions of who should captain, look at his record. He has

:38:14.:38:18.

not lost or let England down. He leads from the front and brings that

:38:19.:38:23.

edge. For me, he is their captain. He is the man.

:38:24.:38:25.

Plenty more sport to come here on the BBC.

:38:26.:38:31.

There is a Manchester leaning Match Of The Day tonight. That will

:38:32.:38:36.

feature Leicester and Swansea City. There are highlights

:38:37.:38:39.

of Great Britain against Canada in the Davis Cup from 11:15pm

:38:40.:38:41.

on BBC Two. And tomorrow night, there's

:38:42.:38:43.

a Six Nations review On the website, you can

:38:44.:38:45.

watch the highlights The revolution will be televised.

:38:46.:39:09.

You can watch in HD. You can talk like a weekend warrior, from the

:39:10.:39:18.

safety of your city. -- of your settee. The revolution will be

:39:19.:39:25.

televised. If we all just talk from the safety of her sofa... Mike will

:39:26.:39:33.

enjoy the next ten minutes or so. We have saved the best till last in

:39:34.:39:37.

terms of entertainment. Scotland against Ireland at Murrayfield.

:39:38.:39:44.

Defence and defiance seeing Scotland home in the end.

:39:45.:39:50.

Scotland up to within seven metres of the line. It is onto Ross Ford.

:39:51.:39:59.

They are moving forward with a vengeance now. Richie Gray. The

:40:00.:40:05.

noise grows inside Murrayfield. Hamish Watson is still going. Within

:40:06.:40:09.

two metres of the line. Scotland bearing down on the try-line. That

:40:10.:40:19.

was carried forward by Strauss. It slows for a moment. Laidlaw things.

:40:20.:40:23.

Picked up by the forwards and driven. The Irish defence is sorely

:40:24.:40:29.

tested. Richie Gray is there again. Just short. Arched on by the

:40:30.:40:38.

Murrayfield faithful. Laidlaw is dating. Russell floats it out. It is

:40:39.:40:46.

a score. Scotland have scored the team try at Murrayfield, to bring

:40:47.:40:55.

the crowd to live. I good little pass by Finn Russell. It bounces

:40:56.:41:01.

well for Stuart Hogg and a great driver Scotland. Joe Schmidt and

:41:02.:41:07.

Simon Easterby and therefore Ireland. That has gone right for

:41:08.:41:16.

Scotland. A quarter of the match is gone. Still just the one score from

:41:17.:41:23.

Scotland. Here they come again. Maitland is outside. Two for Stuart

:41:24.:41:31.

Hogg. Two chances, two scores, two tries from Scotland. They are

:41:32.:41:36.

leading by 12 points. Murrayfield is alive. It is a nice flat pass,

:41:37.:41:42.

drawing the man. They knew he was going to take the final man. Stuart

:41:43.:41:45.

Hogg was there. What the players years. Battering away. McGrath

:41:46.:41:57.

again. Still, the Scottish defence are working, and working so hard.

:41:58.:42:06.

Heaslip through. Bodies getting weary. A penalty advantage to

:42:07.:42:14.

Ireland. Conor Murray digs deep. Closing in on 20 paces. It goes

:42:15.:42:22.

wide. Into the corner. Ireland strike back. He thinks he has

:42:23.:42:27.

scored. The crowd in the corner think he has scored. We will just

:42:28.:42:38.

check. Just check, try, yes or no? Yes, that is a try. It is a great

:42:39.:42:46.

try. You can award the try, yes. The TMO says that he can award the

:42:47.:42:49.

drive. The referee blows his whistle. -- the try.

:42:50.:43:00.

Russell, a little chip. Zebo is able to watch it and he slides out with

:43:01.:43:09.

it. Great play from the chip. Ireland's turned to defend a five

:43:10.:43:14.

metre Drive. It is a nervous, difficult place to defend. Both

:43:15.:43:17.

sides have been uncertain in the line-out. It is a sneaky one, and

:43:18.:43:24.

straight through for the try. Alex Dunbar, straight through the middle.

:43:25.:43:30.

Catching Ireland unaware. He just go straight over the head of Greig

:43:31.:43:31.

Laidlaw. It is a great little play. It is pretty much the moves to the

:43:32.:43:47.

22 and three tries. That is a wonderful kick by Laidlaw. From his

:43:48.:43:51.

right foot. What an unbelievable 45 minutes. Ireland looking for the

:43:52.:44:01.

ideal start with O'Brien. CJ Stander. Henshaw spins and shapes of

:44:02.:44:12.

Huw Jones. It is picked up by the captain, Best. Rory Best within two

:44:13.:44:20.

metres. Murray is looking for it. Stander is there. Murray quickly for

:44:21.:44:25.

the line. He cannot quite make it. The ball is held up. It is a try,

:44:26.:44:33.

Henderson dives and scores. Good position, you're not going to stop

:44:34.:44:39.

anyone with that weight. There is a massive weight. There is no way

:44:40.:44:41.

you're going to get below Iain Henderson to stop that. The Scottish

:44:42.:44:55.

tackles are flying in. It is a transfer Kearney. Maitland is the

:44:56.:45:02.

saviour. I thought he was going to score but it had to be the tackle

:45:03.:45:06.

from Maitland. He got his man into touch. It was a great tackle from

:45:07.:45:13.

Duncan Weir. Is the foot in? Yes, there. Only just.

:45:14.:45:21.

13 phases, Ireland creeping on again. O'Brien...

:45:22.:45:29.

Up to within ten metres. Jackson is through! Jackson stretches and

:45:30.:45:38.

scores! Ireland have the try. And the conversion will give them the

:45:39.:45:43.

lead. An excellent line-out, a good finish. He did well to finish it.

:45:44.:45:57.

Tense times for both sides... John Barclay takes it in. It is a penalty

:45:58.:46:02.

for Scotland. Eight minutes to go. A reasonably straightforward kick from

:46:03.:46:11.

Laidlaw. Murrayfield falls silent for Greig Laidlaw, three from three

:46:12.:46:20.

so far. It goes through, seven minutes. A little bit more remaining

:46:21.:46:24.

at Murrayfield. Scotland are leading once again. For Scotland, it is all

:46:25.:46:35.

about safe, sensible and clinical staff. -- stuff. It's a long time to

:46:36.:46:50.

try and close this game. A carried by Swinson making good ground... The

:46:51.:46:55.

ball is still there for Scotland, and it is a penalty. Ireland's

:46:56.:47:03.

chances slipping away. Just over one minute gone, it might be done for

:47:04.:47:13.

the visitors... It's good from Greig Laidlaw! It is great from Scotland,

:47:14.:47:19.

because they have won, beating Ireland. That is the first time

:47:20.:47:28.

since 2061 your opening match in the Six Nations, what does that mean to

:47:29.:47:37.

you and your team? To get that win, everybody is singing the national

:47:38.:47:40.

anthem... That is what it is about. I knew that we had not won for ten

:47:41.:47:47.

years, we are both minded, we have done it today. We were close to

:47:48.:47:50.

getting away but when you don't get away from a team playing at home,

:47:51.:47:54.

and have so much to play for, you know, you are always at risk of them

:47:55.:47:58.

coming back and getting something in the end. We dominated in the first

:47:59.:48:02.

half, I thought that they dominated in the second half, it shows that

:48:03.:48:06.

there was composure on the end, and we managed to get what we wanted.

:48:07.:48:13.

It's been a while since we have had a win in the first match of the Six

:48:14.:48:16.

Nations, it is positive going forward.

:48:17.:48:20.

Here's confirmation then of how the RBS Six Nations

:48:21.:48:22.

This table features bonus points, how important it is for them to get

:48:23.:48:29.

another one. And how important will Ireland's

:48:30.:48:33.

losing bonus point B? I think that we should say before everything

:48:34.:48:38.

else, beautiful weather and an amazing atmosphere, what a way to

:48:39.:48:42.

kick-off the championship? So often in the past, you seem those games

:48:43.:48:48.

which are all about safety, we don't want to lose it, but it was

:48:49.:48:51.

fantastic. Those teams went to win the game, the final two games

:48:52.:48:59.

haven't lived up to it, but it is a sign of things to come. In the last

:49:00.:49:04.

17 years, by and large, the team that concedes the fewest number of

:49:05.:49:08.

tries wins the championship, defence is the key. There were interesting

:49:09.:49:12.

changes and approaches to defence that the two sides had yesterday?

:49:13.:49:17.

Yes, Ireland in particular, you look at their victory against the All

:49:18.:49:20.

Blacks in Chicago, they had a hard defence which came up through the

:49:21.:49:25.

outside, not allowing them back through the ball. But, Scotland, on

:49:26.:49:30.

their side, they came back hard in the middle. Putting a lot of

:49:31.:49:33.

pressure on the Irish game around the corner. Looking back at Ireland,

:49:34.:49:38.

they have good numbers, it's all a bit tight, maybe. Look at the

:49:39.:49:42.

problems they cause in the second phase, they are passive in the first

:49:43.:49:45.

but look at this coming around... Scotland can create a quicker ball,

:49:46.:49:52.

so they have the edge. Ireland change things in the second half,

:49:53.:49:59.

coming up hard on the line, stopping organ and Maitland, but I was

:50:00.:50:05.

surprised at how passive they were. The Scottish back row yesterday,

:50:06.:50:08.

early on, they stopped the Irish with those big carries, like

:50:09.:50:14.

O'Brien, they stopped them... There is an example of the Irish passive

:50:15.:50:20.

defence. The run made by Tommy Seymour, holding Paddy Jackson a

:50:21.:50:23.

bit. It puts a lot of pressure on Keith Earls and Kearney out the

:50:24.:50:28.

back, but they could not fix it. In the second half, Keith Earls came up

:50:29.:50:32.

hard, and did not allow the next pass to go in. Before the game began

:50:33.:50:36.

yesterday, we talked about Conor Murray and said if there is anyone

:50:37.:50:40.

who is a certainty to be in the starting line-up in the 23 man squad

:50:41.:50:43.

for the first match, it's him. What did you make of his performance

:50:44.:50:48.

yesterday? Scotland clearly targeted him? He is a fantastic player and

:50:49.:50:54.

has been for two or three seasons with Ireland, he manages the whole

:50:55.:50:57.

game and without Johnny Sexton, he takes the rain out even more. But

:50:58.:51:00.

Scotland targeted him, the same with Glasgow when they played Munster in

:51:01.:51:04.

the European cup if you weeks back but he is a key player and they are

:51:05.:51:10.

always to be targeted -- a a few weeks back. Scotland did well to put

:51:11.:51:17.

him off his game. They did not have a front for with Conor Murray.

:51:18.:51:21.

Russell put pressure on him. The energy in the first half from the

:51:22.:51:26.

squad was outstanding. At the weekend, it is fair to say, it is

:51:27.:51:30.

not a comedy moment but it won moment for Scotland, a lot of people

:51:31.:51:34.

watched it yesterday and thought, what is going on here? This is the

:51:35.:51:39.

Scottish third strike, there is a winger and a centre, 11 and 12, at

:51:40.:51:43.

two and three in the line-up for Scotland. Let's hold it here for a

:51:44.:51:49.

moment... What is going on? From a Scottish perspective, and what is

:51:50.:51:53.

not going on here from an Irish perspective? Scotland and loading

:51:54.:52:01.

the line with backs as well, ten mammals, 11 mammals, getting as many

:52:02.:52:05.

as possible to push them over the line -- man Moores. They are looking

:52:06.:52:11.

to mark the forward part is where the ball will go. They are marking

:52:12.:52:17.

the line-out thinking that they are not there, Rory Best's job at the

:52:18.:52:20.

front is to stop the past to Laidlaw. But they did not expect it

:52:21.:52:28.

over the top to Dunbar. They get the space and catch of God. The Scottish

:52:29.:52:37.

management team and coaching team -- a catch off guard. They practised so

:52:38.:52:42.

many of them in training. It's a full credit to Scotland. Having the

:52:43.:52:46.

courage to get it five metres out. If it goes wrong it looks

:52:47.:52:50.

embarrassing but it is great play. As scrum-half, should Conor Murray

:52:51.:52:57.

not be screaming, guys, look! Because Rory Best is covering it,

:52:58.:53:00.

and the backs, you'd think, how can the ball get there, just out of

:53:01.:53:09.

reach. Furlong will lift on Henderson, it is looking so simple,

:53:10.:53:13.

but people would say, that is a schoolboy error from Ireland, but

:53:14.:53:17.

thumbs up to the Scottish attack. It is likely that that space would be

:53:18.:53:20.

the first checkout, the first option where if it is on, they will go

:53:21.:53:25.

quick, not give Ireland's time to see that formation, if not, they

:53:26.:53:29.

will have a move with something clever their sleeves, they took the

:53:30.:53:33.

first option and it paid off. I'm sure that O'Connell, someone who has

:53:34.:53:37.

put so much time in studying, with four different plans to prevent

:53:38.:53:41.

it... He would have been seething over dinner! How did that happen?

:53:42.:53:46.

Scotland will never score the try again! A final point, without over

:53:47.:53:50.

egging the cake, but people who watch and play at any level, at what

:53:51.:53:55.

stage, when the line-out was just about to take place, at what point

:53:56.:54:00.

did both protagonists say, let's do it? I contact, that is the original

:54:01.:54:06.

call to going and if they don't mark you, Alex Dunbar, give Ross cannot,

:54:07.:54:12.

and you say, you practised them time and again in training, and it is

:54:13.:54:17.

never called. But yesterday, fair play for them in having the courage

:54:18.:54:21.

to do it. John Barclay, a key moment in the game? Yes, Scotland were

:54:22.:54:26.

smarter, you think Ireland, and you think, very smart. But Ireland have

:54:27.:54:30.

all of the momentum, they just got ahead. Two scores in front, and it

:54:31.:54:38.

is not a great call from them. John Barclay, intelligent and

:54:39.:54:41.

experienced, he reads it down to ET. Once the line-out is over committee

:54:42.:54:46.

stripped the ball which kills momentum for Ireland. I have to

:54:47.:54:52.

mention John Barclay and Hamish Watson, they played a half each and

:54:53.:54:57.

they were both stunning yesterday. How good a player is Stuart Hogg? He

:54:58.:55:03.

went all right! He played the season for the whole of the Six Nations

:55:04.:55:07.

last year, and he picked up where he left off. He adds so much to the

:55:08.:55:11.

Scottish game, and without him, Scotland miss a lot. He easily could

:55:12.:55:20.

have coming to gather up the ball but he beats the defender. He beats

:55:21.:55:25.

them without the ball. You can see his pace. Keith owls is one of the

:55:26.:55:29.

quickest players in Europe and he could not get near. -- Keith Earls.

:55:30.:55:38.

Ronan O'Gara said some lovely things about Scotland recently! He talked

:55:39.:55:43.

about the spiral kick going out of fashion but Stuart Hogg showed him

:55:44.:55:51.

how to do it there. Undoubtably, player of the weekend,

:55:52.:55:54.

fair to say. He is in a blind alley and gets himself out of it. A

:55:55.:55:59.

fantastic game. Let's go to next weekend, the three fixtures coming

:56:00.:56:00.

your way... Let's do them in reverse order.

:56:01.:56:11.

France play Scotland, buoyed by yesterday, and France are much

:56:12.:56:15.

improved, we ought to say, at Twickenham, as an impartial

:56:16.:56:19.

observer, how do you see that game going? I think that Scotland's need

:56:20.:56:26.

to play with Tempe and play quake. I think that they need their game and

:56:27.:56:33.

-- Scotland need to play quick. Get their big pack in. With the

:56:34.:56:39.

commands, get those guys in and launch the attack with their

:56:40.:56:47.

off-loads. If they can cope with physicality, Scotland and the French

:56:48.:56:49.

pack, they could cause them problems. France looked good in

:56:50.:56:53.

Paris yesterday, but they lost in Twickenham but will be confident

:56:54.:56:57.

next week. The make-up of Scotland, they have momentum behind them now

:56:58.:57:01.

with a win, you have guys like Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg who, when

:57:02.:57:04.

they are confident, they better and better. I'm aware of the French

:57:05.:57:09.

team, looking at them on paper, they've got a couple of industrious

:57:10.:57:13.

players who have something extra about them. They work hard for their

:57:14.:57:21.

team, and where they have got that edge, and with their flag, it makes

:57:22.:57:26.

them dangerous. Ireland will be stung from yesterday, and you expect

:57:27.:57:31.

that Italy could be stung as the result? Yes, you would expect with

:57:32.:57:38.

the quality team that they are. Mike, I know what you are going to

:57:39.:57:42.

say... You have the verdict. Cardiff on Saturday evening, what do you

:57:43.:57:46.

think? It is going to be a big event. These Wales and England games

:57:47.:57:51.

always have a lot of emotion. I am swayed towards England at the

:57:52.:57:56.

moment. I think the last 20 minutes, half an hour, from Wales today would

:57:57.:58:06.

have offered them Think Different on defence, -- made them Think

:58:07.:58:09.

Different lay on defence. Alex is nodding! It's a good first weekend,

:58:10.:58:15.

and next weekend, we see you in Cardiff.

:58:16.:58:19.

No Falcons, a lot of Dragons, no Lady Gaga, but there will be a lot

:58:20.:58:23.

of patriots! See you in Cardiff... Goodbye!

:58:24.:58:34.

DANCE MUSIC What a start for Wales!

:58:35.:58:54.

A follow-through, the referee checks it...

:58:55.:59:00.

John Inverdale introduces analysis and reaction from the opening weekend of Six Nations games, which saw Scotland host Ireland, England take on France and Italy meet Wales.