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RBS 6 Nations: Round Two review

By The Citizen  |  Posted: February 10, 2014

The weekend saw another feast of Six Nations action and while the rugby on offer was not always the most appetising it certainly left you wanting more.

Ireland and France maintained their 100 per cent starts to the tournament, while Wales were knocked off their perch and England put their Championship Chariot back on track.

Below we dish out six awards and name our team of the round.

Match – Ireland v Wales:

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Ireland produced the most complete performance of Round Two as they dispatched reigning champions Wales.

They dominated every facet at the Aviva Stadium and while new coach Joe Schmidt is renowned by the free-flowing nature of his teams, this victory was built upon a formidable set-piece and rolling maul.

Wales are targeting a historic hat-trick of Six Nations crowns but on current evidence they will scrapping it out with Scotland and Italy in the bottom half of the table. An alarming fall from grace.

Try – Hugo Bonneval v Italy:

Following one of the most mind-numbing 40 minutes of Six Nations action we were crying out for some of that mythical French flair and boy, did they deliver. They scored three second-half tries to blow the Azzurri away and Bonneval’s effort was the pick of the bunch. Wesley Fofana intercepted a pass from inside his own 22 and found Yohann Huget with a superb one-handed basketball style pass. And the wing, who scored a double against England, raced into the left-hand corner before off-loading out of the tackle to debutant Bonneval

Tackle – Scott Williams on Brian O’Driscoll

The pre-match talk was dominated by the hyperbole of Warren Gatland’s decision to omit Brian O’Driscoll from the decisive British and Irish Lions third Test in the favour of Wales’ Jonathan Davies.

With Davies side-lined, Scott Williams clattered the veteran centre with a thunderous tackle.

It left O’Driscoll wincing and requiring treatment on the pitch, unfortunately for Wales and Williams it led to the centre leaving the field with a shoulder injury.

Offload - Billy Vunipola v England:

Vunipola is quickly establishing himself as the star of a resurgent England team with a terrifying combination of pace and power with soft hands.

The number eight’s first-half offload around the back of a Scottish defender, broke the line by changing the point of attack and kept the move flowing.

England simply have to get the ball in the Australian-born powerhouses hands in what has become a colossal clash with Ireland in Round Three.

Parasite of the Six Nations – The Murrayfield Nematode

The turf at the home of Scottish rugby was reduced to a muddy cabbage patch thanks to an infestation of nematodes.

A hybrid pitch will be installed at Murrayfield in the summer but that is too late for the Six Nations and yet another encounter was ruined by a dodgy surface.

Mike Brown expressed his frustrations at the end of the match saying, "It's not really good enough to play an international game on that sort of turf. This is elite sport and an international game can get ruined by a pitch like that.” Quite right.

Talking Point – Mike Phillips v Niall Horan

The Wales scrum-half, one of rugby’s perennial bad-boys, was a proverbial pain in the backside throughout his country’s heavy defeat to Ireland.

Phillips is renowned for his hot head and is at his best when he is on the edge but, with his pride wounded, passion got the better of him following Paddy Jackson’s late try.

He was clearly still in the mood for a fight yesterday as he became embroiled in a Twitter spat with One Direction’s Niall Horan – even inviting the Irish pop star to a Welsh training session!

Niall Horan ‏@NiallOfficial 19h

@mikephillips009 cool story big fella! only go and watch good rugby teams anyway so no thanks ! #wanabeestevejones

Team of the Round:

M Brown (ENG); A Trimble (IRE), L Burrell (ENG), W Fofana (FRA), J May (ENG); J Sexton (IRE), D Care (ENG); C Healy (IRE), D Hartley (ENG), D Cole (ENG), C Lawes (ENG), P O’Connell (IRE), P O’Mahoney (IRE), B Le Roux (FRA), L Picamoles (FRA)

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