BITTER SWEET SIX NATIONS WEEKEND FOR TOP 14 STARS
Individual success but team disappointment with France loss to England
It was a difficult weekend for the TOP 14 stars in the Six Nations. Despite the results not going their way, there were plenty of TOP performances from some of our favourite players.
After Wales cruised to an expected victory in Rome, to condemn Italy to another wooden spoon, 'Le Crunch' certainly lived up to the pre-match hype.
France came flying out the blocks when Toulouse scrum-half Antoine Dupont juggled the ball before gathering to dot down inside one minute. After Anthony Watson's riposte, France scored a lovely try after a well-executed line-out move.
A deliberately over-thrown line-out to an on-rushing Fickou started the move. Fickou found Dupont out the back who shipped the ball onto Jalibert. England's defence was scrambling at this point, and an inch-perfect miss-pass Jalibert completed the move, allowing Penaud the freedom of Twickenham to score in the corner. It was a beautiful example of the French flair this team has recaptured over the last year.
This all came in vain as a late Itoje try punished the French and crushed any dreams of a Grand Slam.
Racing star, Finn Russell, experienced similar disappointment in Scotland's narrow loss to Ireland at Murrayfield.
Robbie Henshaw scored after a wicked bounce of the ball in Scotland's dead-ball area presented him with an easy touchdown. However, Russell responded with an unconventional try of his own. Stuart Hogg, after charging the ball down from a box kick, continued to fly-hack the ball into his own face! Russell pounced on this good fortune and using the footballing ability he is renowned for, kicked the ball on before regathering to score and bring Scotland back into the game.
Up against his rival for the Lions '10' shirt, Russell would have been disappointed to be replaced at the hour mark and even more disappointed to see Johnny Sexton score the winning penalty with four minutes remaining punishing Scotland’s ill-discipline.
Next Saturday, all six teams play on the 'Final Day'. Obviously, there is still one extra game to play, as the rearranged Scotland vs France game is scheduled for the week after. However, Wales can secure the title and the Grand Slam if they beat France in Paris.
France can keep their hopes of winning the tournament alive with a victory and would then face Scotland knowing a win would secure them their first title since 2010. Elsewhere, England head to Dublin while Scotland host Italy as every side looks to finish the tournament strongly!