Inside the 22

Autumn Nations Cup: Round 1 Review

The first round of the Autumn Nations Cup was quite the rollercoaster, from a big win for England to a nail-biting finish between an on-form Italy and a well-drilled Scotland. Below are our thoughts on the first two opening games.

Nov
16
2020

Ireland v Wales - Friday 13th November 


This was the opener to a greatly anticipated tournament. These two countries have had a strong rivalry forever, which usually leads to a very interesting clash.

Described as a messy game by many, there were over 30 penalties throughout, resulting in non-flowing unstructured play. It was Wales’s sixth defeat on the bounce and they showed no signs of improvement under Pivac. It was Ireland's third-largest victory over Wales.

It was 16-6 at half time. Wales only had 23% of the possession, whilst Ireland lost their captain Jonny Sexton in the first 30 mins to a hamstring issue, with Connor Murray stepping in to replace him. It didn't affect their kicking though, achieving 100% of the kicks on the night. 

Wales came back better in the second half and surprised Ireland with their intensity and counter rucking. However, their only points came from the boot of Leigh Halfpenny.

Debutant Lowe scored Ireland's second try to secure an Irish victory. 

Final score: Ireland 32 - 9 Wales

Italy v Scotland - Saturday 14th November 


Scotland was given a real scare as Italy came out the blocks firing on all cylinders, but managed to stay composed and come back to claim victory.

It was Scotland's fifth win on the bounce, but it was alarming as Matteo Minozzi scored a stunning try capped off a brilliant first-half display. Things started to dry up for Italy after the break though, with an opening try through Scotland's Duhan Van Der Merwe. Scotland was able to see out victory with further scores from Zander Fagerson, Scott Cummings and George Turner.

Scotland still had it all to play for until the final quarter when Turner secured a  bonus-point win with four minutes left as Italy’s resistance crumbled in the face of another Scottish line-out drive.

Final score: Scotland 28 - 17 Italy

England vs Georgia - Saturday 14th November 


It was a solid performance from the England boys, with many eyes on the likes of Ollie Lawrence and Jack Willis (who managed to score on his debut) who both performed well. A hat trick came from Jamie George who managed to get himself in several good positions throughout the game, getting the ball over the line to score after some very good set piece work.

Elliot Daly also added a fourth try before half time after Joseph made a great break, but unfortunately injured himself in the process. 

Dan Robson also managed to bag his first try for England after sprinting past the Georgians. 

Georgia never managed to get into the game as England went for the throats from the off, disabling the Georgians main strength (their pack).

Eddie Jones stated after the game that he believed England had leftover 20 points out on the field. 

Final score: England 40 - 0 Georgia

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Photo credit: England Rugby