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Inside the 22

Autumn Nations Cup: Round 3 Review

Round 3 was another highly anticipated group of games that would ultimately determine who would battle against England next week for the Autumn Nations title. It was either going to be a solid well drilled Scotland, or an on form France who would throw down the gauntlet this weekend.


England vs Wales - Saturday 28th November 

This game was the most talked-about clash of the weekend so had a lot to live up to. Wales had finally ended their losing streak in the week prior and started to look like the tough Welsh side we have all known for some time. England had looked very strong in the first two rounds, but this was inevitably going to be a determined Welsh side who would do whatever they could to stop England from cruising into the final next week.

The match began slowly for England with Johnny Williams scoring his first international try for Wales after 10 minutes. This was the first time England had trailed in a match since they lost to France in Paris at the start of February. 

England started playing more expansive rugby with most of the possession being in their favour, but Wales’s strong defence and quick line speed meant that England was really going to have to work hard to earn every point in this clash.

England managed to respond well to Williams' try, as Itoje made a great inside ball to Underhill who made a powerful run, putting Wales on the back foot for the first time in the match. Therefore creating space outside for Slade to cruise over and dot the ball down. 

After a clear change of game plan at half time, to keep the ball in hand England managed to build phases of play with Mako managing to get over the whitewash. 

Farrell scored 14 points off of the boot, after missing two kicks early on, to help England on their way to the final weekend.

Final score: England 24 -  13 Wales

France vs Italy -  Saturday 28th November 

It was a week that witnessed the untimely death of French rugby legend Christophe Dominici who was aged just 48, so this French side was definitely charged with emotion and knew that if they could avoid defeat against a side they had beaten in each of their last nine meetings, they would face England for the silverware at Twickenham on finals weekend.

France started strong as they secured a second-minute penalty from about 40 meters out via the boot of Youngster Jalibert. Italy had not given up though, as they made a break and smashed at the French defence before Paolo Garbisi threw a beautiful dummy pass and then produced a one-handed offload to Canna who was running the supporting line to secure a try.

The hosts managed to get their own back before halftime as Danty used his power to crash over from about 5 meters out.

After looking solid in the first half, Italy started to crack as Jacopo Trulla was sent to the sin bin. With only 14 men the hosts were able to take advantage and start to run away with the game. The three tries scored by the French were just too much of a gap for the Italians to get back into the game.

Final score: France 36 - 5 Italy

Ireland vs Georgia - Sunday 29th November

With both teams having no chance of winning the Autumn Nations Cup they both set out to have a good game, determined to come away from the tournament with a win, as both teams have really struggled to put across any real performances.

Fly-half Billy Burns had a good performance as he stood in for sidelined captain Sexton, but unfortunately took a knock and had to be taken off, but not before he scored a debut try for his country. Hugo Keenan claimed Ireland’s other try but ultimately wouldn't have been happy with their performance.

Georgia arrived in Dublin yet to score a point in the tournament but produced possibly the moment of the match courtesy of a dazzling first-half score from Giorgi Kveseladze.

Final score: Ireland 23 -  10 Georgia

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Photo Credit: England Rugby