Six Nations Championship Round 3 Review
Even with the postponement of the Scotland v France game there was plenty to look forward to in the third round of the Six Nations Championship. It certainly lived up to expectation and provided a fair amount of controversy too.
Ireland looking sharp again
After two losses in the opening round of the 2021 Guinness Six nations Championship, Ireland were looking to bounce back with an emphatic win against the Italians. The Azzurri have struggled in the competition over the years and losing to Ireland would mean 30 losses on the trot. Italy struck first through the boot of fly half Paolo Garbisi but the score was levelled a couple of minutes later by the veteran Irish fly half Johnny Sexton.
After the promising start from the Italians, some quick ball found its way to Ireland outside centre Garry Ringrose who squeezed through a gap in the Italian defence and stretched out to score. On the 30 minute mark, Hugo Keenan accelerated onto Ringrose’s offload to break the Italian line and run in a fine try. A short while later, some great passing and offloads saw Will Connors score in the left corner for Ireland. Just before half time Italy struck back with some direct running which lead to openside Johan Meyer scoring their opening try.
The half time score was 10-27 to Ireland. After the break the Irish continued their physical domination of the Italians with a drive over the line by number 8 CJ Stander. Shortly after, a rolling mall from the Irish helped Will Connors secure his second try of the afternoon. The kick went over making the score 10-41. To finish off in the 80th minute a lovely long pass from Sexton allowed wing Keith Earls score in the right hand corner. The kicking machine Sexton added the two points to make the final score 10-48 to Ireland.
England in disarray and Wales move on towards the Grand Slam
This match was marred by controversy early on. After exchanging penalties it was three all. But in the 15th minute Dan Biggar put in a neat kick out to Josh Adams on the left wing who crashed over for the try. There were complaints about the score from England Captain Owen Farrell. Shortly before the kick, referee Pascal Gauzere had directed him to talk to his team about repeated infringements. He had gathered them under the posts and argued that they hadn’t been allowed to reset before the start of play.
There was further debate when Wales broke down the left wing to score. Josh Adams had grubbered the ball through for the Welsh flyer Louis Rees-Zammit to run on to. He tried to catch it but it ricocheted off his hand and onto his leg. The ball was not deemed to have gone forward and Welsh full back Liam Williams, gathered and slid over for the try. Biggar added the 2 points and the score was 17-6 to Wales. In the 35th minute England finally fired a shot and scored through some fine finishing by winger Anthony Watson.
With the score at 17-14 to Wales, the 48th minute saw Wales awarded a penalty right in front of the English posts. Catching England off guard again, the Welsh scrum half Kieran Hardy took a quick tap and ran through a huge hole in the English defence to score. Minutes later down the other end of the pitch, England’s scrum half Ben Youngs darted through the Welsh wall for a fine individual try. The conversion made it 24 all.
England’s indiscipline cost them dearly allowing the rookie fly half Callum Sheedy who had come on for Biggar, to knock over three penalties to give Wales a 9 point lead. The men in Red weren’t finished though. Cory Hill drove through England centre Henry Slade to score under the English posts leaving the final score 40-24 to Wales.
The state of play
After the third round of the competition, only Wales and France are still in with a shout for the Grand Slam. For France and Scotland there was frustration as they were unable to play their match this week due to an outbreak of Covid in the French camp. Italy continue to struggle. They show promise for the future with their young team but it’s difficult to see where they are going to find a win. Ireland have got their much needed victory and have shown that they can score some clinical tries, and are starting to move the ball well.
For England the gloom continues. They are a shadow of the team that beat the All Blacks in the World Cup in 2019. They gave themselves no chance against Wales with the amount of penalties they gave away. Even without the two controversial tries, they would have lost. They have players out of form and some changes need to be made. Wales are the surprise package of the Championship. After a rotten 2020, not many people gave them a chance of winning the Six Nations this year. They should dispatch Italy with ease leaving only France to spoil the party. It continues to be an intriguing competition.
— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) February 27, 2021
We hope you enjoyed the article ‘Six Nations Championship Round 3 Review.’ What did you make of this weekends matchups? Do you think Wales can win the Grand Slam? Let us know!
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