Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Six Nations - round 4

The fourth round of Six Nations was played in very unfavourable weather conditions. Bitter cold, strong winds and heavy rain made the games very difficult and not too entertaining for spectators. There were only four tries in all three matches!

Scotland - Wales game set a new record - 18 penalty shots at goal and 13 converted. Leigh Halfpenny was successful with seven and Greig Laidlaw with six. The Scots were penalized more often, especially in the scrums. Visitors took their chances and sealed the game 18:28. Apart from good performance of Leigh Halfpenny a special mention deserves Sam Warburton. One of the best back row players in Europe played very well and made an outstanding effort to turnover many rucks. He was rightly picked the man of the match.

Although France went to Dublin looking for their first win in the tournament, it was hosts who dealt better with the bad weather and dominated first minutes of the game. Their effective mauls caused many problems to the French defense. After 40 minutes Ireland was 13:3 in front. They failed to add more points though, and French honour was defended by Louis Picamoles who scored a try in the 73rd minute. The game ended with a 13:13 tie.

On Sunday, England beat Italy 18:11 at Twickenham and remained the only undefeated team in the tournament. Before the game, bookmakers expected big win, suggesting that England might win by 25-35 points. England dominated first half and created many dangerous situations, unfortunately for them, they were not clinical enough to finish it by scoring a try. At half-time, the hosts were leading only 12:3. Second half was totally different. Visitors proved that they should not be underestimated and managed to put a big pressure on the English defense for quite a long periods of time. At the end, six penalties kicked by Toby Flood were sufficient to win the match. Although English players are not satisfied with their performance, they accomplished main task and won another game.

The final round of the tournament will commence next weekend. The most interesting game will take place to be in Cardiff where Wales, which still has a chance to defend the title, will clash with England. For the first time in ten years The English have a chance to win a Grand Slam, so the rivalry will be extra tense. Italy will play Ireland in Rome. France will host Scotland in Paris. The French team has to deal with pretty uncommon situation. They are under pressure as the team is at the last place in the table so another loss will certainly mean an unwanted trophy - wooden spoon.