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Inside the 22

Autumn Nations Cup: Round 2 Review

Round 2 of the Autumn Nations Cup was a highly contested weekend of rugby with three hard-fought, physical battles between six top-tier sides.


England vs Ireland - Saturday 21st November

This was considered by many as England’s first real competitive international match for a long spell as their last two international clashes have been against Italy and Georgia who failed to present England with a real challenge, so this was going to really test Eddie’s team and find out how on form they really are.

England dominance in defence, whether in general play at the breakdown or lineout, just proved far too strong for the Irish team. From the outset and throughout they consistently forced errors upon Ireland which seemed to break the spirit of the opposition.

Wing May notched two tries within the opening period, while skipper Owen Farrell added two penalties and a conversion, assisted by great performances from the likes of Itoje and Underhill, which kept England at the top of Group A.

Ireland did, however, have a consolation try of their own in the dying moments of the game as Stockdale managed to bag himself a great try which made the loss a slightly easier pill to swallow.

Final score: England 18 - Ireland 7

Wales vs Georgia - Saturday 21st November

Wales finally managed to end their six-game losing streak with a not so convincing win over the Georgians. Pivac had made 13 changes to his squad after the last clash, with youngster Rees-Zammit scoring his first try for his country.

Rees-Zammit not only scored but set up a try for replacement scrum-half Rhys Webb. Fly-half Callum Sheedy scored his first points for his country with a conversion and two penalties that managed to gain Wales their first victory in a while, which eased at least some of the pressure on Wayne Pivac.

Wales are now third in Group A trailing 5 points behind leaders England.

Final score: Wales 18 - Georgia 0

Scotland vs France - Sunday 22nd November 

The final game of the weekend, and also the most competitive, was a close-fought battle between Scotland and France. With Fiji’s three games cancelled the winner of this was likely to go to the top of group B. 

France came out the blocks firing and Vakatawa made a break very early on putting Scotland on the back foot from the off. France’s pressure then led to a penalty slotted over by Thomas Ramos, putting France 3-0 up early on. 

Ramos then slots another 3 points making the score 6-0 at the 11-minute mark. Duncan Weir went on to settle the score by getting a penalty for France being offside for 3 points. 

Galthié seemed annoyed as it went all square and the Scots managed to secure another penalty to make it 6-6, even though France had started so strong. The young fly-half then managed to get a drop goal after France did well to keep possession.

Half time ended 12-12 as both teams got penalties, with all points so far coming from the boot. France clearly had a good half time talk and came out in the second half with some real intensity as Vakatawa made it 17-12 as he crashed over the whitewash in an impressive finish showing his speed and power. 

France secured the win through the boot of Ramos. 

Final score: France 22 - Scotland 15. 

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Photo credit:
England Rugby