Six Nations Week 3: England lose as Italy shock France

Rugby Monday February 26, 2024 By: Harry Howes

Following a two-week break, the Six Nations was back with a bang over the weekend. Ireland continued their pursuit of a Grand Slam double as they put struggling Wales to the sword.

Meanwhile, Scotland claimed bragging rights over England once again, while France’s struggles continued as Italy claimed a shock result.

Six Nations Table

 TeamPlayedWonDrawnLostPDBonusPoints
1Ireland330081315
2Scotland3201619
3England3201-408
4France3111-1706
5Wales3003-2733
6Italy3012-3913

Scotland continue winning run against England

Following a masterclass from Duhan van der Merwe, Scotland claimed a fourth successive Six Nations win over England for the first time since the late 19th century.

The winger stole the show with a hat-trick of tries, including a breathtaking solo effort, to become the first Scotland player to score a treble in the Calcutta Cup. Finn Russell’s faultless kicking secured three conversions and three penalties to cement the win for the Scots.

After just about edging past Wales last time out, there were fears that England would be punished if they didn’t step up their unconvincing performances. And Scotland took full advantage at Murrayfield, meaning England missed out on winning their opening three games for the first time since 2017.

The good news for England is that their new-look team is still finding its feet and George Furbank and Immanuel Feyi-Waboso will take confidence from their first tries. The bad news is that their next game is against successive Grand Slam-chasing Ireland.

For Scotland, they’ll be confident of beating Italy next time out. Following that, their final game is against the Irish, which could end up being a Six Nations decider.

France held to surprise draw by Italy

The most surprising thing about Sunday’s match in Lille wasn’t that Italy held France to a draw – it was that Italy should have won.

Paolo Garbisi had a golden chance to claim just a second Six Nations win since 2015 for his nation as he stepped up for an injury-time penalty. But as the ball fell off the tee, he lost focus in an attempt to beat the shot clock and saw his effort cannon back off the post.

France were in control at half-time, winning 10-3, and would have expected to push on after the break. But after Jonathan Danty was sent off following a half-time review, Italy rallied in the second half to claim an historic result that should have been so much more.

Ahead of the competition, France wouldn’t have expected to have just one win from their opening three matches. But after their controversial win against Scotland, they can count themselves lucky they haven’t lost all three.

France take on Wales next time out, who are hungry for blood following three consecutive defeats. Meanwhile, Italy face Scotland in what will be another tricky test, although their second-half resurgence against France will give them confidence that they can get more points on the board.

Ireland continue Grand Slam pursuit

While the other two matches were reasonably close, Ireland continued their dominance with a 31-7 win over Wales in Dublin.

The hosts were out of sight at half-time, finding themselves 17-0 up thanks to tries from Dan Sheehan and James Lowe. And despite Wales’ threat of a comeback, they held firm to secure another bonus point win.

Their dream of back-to-back Grand Slams continues and if they can secure victory at Twickenham next weekend, they’ll set a new record of 12 consecutive Six Nations wins.

While Wales have now lost all three of their opening matches, they’re yet to be completely blown away, having only narrowly lost to Scotland and England. They could spring a surprise against France next time out, who will still be licking their wounds, while they face Italy in the final week, which gives them a chance to climb up the table.

Week 4 fixtures

Italy v Scotland – Saturday 9th March, 14:15

England v Ireland – Saturday 9th March, 16:45

Wales v France – Sunday 10th March, 15:00

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