Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Six Nations - round 2

Another Six Nations' games are over. This week, with only 2 games,  as France Ireland game has been postponed due to the frozen pitch. It's the first postponed game since 1985. Many blame FFR for this situation, as they decided to set a very late kick-off hour...
Fortunately, 2/3 of all games took place as scheduled. My brave and risky prediction from the last week was almost right. The first half of the match in Rome took place under the domination of the Italians.

Although weather conditions were not very good, we saw some entertaining moments of game. Italians coped very well, played without any complexes, and once again proved that in their capital noone gets easy victory. Hosts, led by superbly playing Sergio Parrise controlled the game in the first fifty minutes and looked strong to gain a historic victory. England would struggle to make up nine points deficit, if it wasn't for the same hero who had rescued them a week ago. Charlie Hodgson, the former Sale Sharks player, just like in the match against Scotland saved his team by successful charge-down which let him score the try. This was a turning point of the game, the English started to believe in themselves and played better and better. Twenty-year old Owen Farrell coped well with the pressure, effectively converting the try and two penalties. The final score was 15:19 (12:6) for England.

In Cardiff, Wales played with Scotland. The first half of the game was very close, both teams created dangerous attacking situations. Richie Gray, who was a very strong link in the Scottish team, deserves special mention. His offload skills and ability to break the advantage line will certainly please Sale Sharks’ fans who shortly will be able to see this player in the colors of their club. Although both teams tried some interesting offensive tactics, best element of the game in first half was definitely almost error-free defense. Halftime result 3-3.

After changing sides, game became even more interesting.  Scots made an error at the very beginning of the first half. This led to the first try in the match. It was the beginning of a painful time of the game for Scotland. First, yellow card for a "professional foul" saw Nick de Luca and after him for the same offense Rory Lamont. In matches against the best teams in the world it is very difficult to effectively defend while playing nearly 20 minutes with only 14 on the pitch. Welsh used the opportunity well and went for over twenty points lead. Although the Scots played very ambitiously - particularly young substitute Stuart Hogg, the fate of the match was already decided. The meeting ended 27:13. Wales has once again showed their huge potential and now lead the Six Nations table.