SIX NATIONS OPENERS
The opening weekend of the Six Nations saw wins three out of the four ‘home nations’. Wales, Scotland and England were all victorious in their first matches.
On Friday night, Wales went to Paris to take on France and pulled off an impressive second-half comeback.
It looked at half-time that Wales would be in for a tough night after trailing 16-0 at the break. French tries came from Louis Picamoles and Yoann Huget, with Camille Lopez adding a conversion and a drop-goal.
Gatland got a response from his players after the break however as Tomos Williams scored within ten minutes of the restart, converted by Gareth Anscombe. With the deficit only 9 points, George North pounced on a knock-on practically on the try line to draw Wales back to within two points.
North would also have the last laugh as he intercepted a pass on the half way line and breezed clear to complete a dramatic 24-19 comeback victory for Wales.
At Murrayfield, Scotland ran out winners over Italy scoring five tries and picking up a bonus point in the process.
Blair Kinghorn put in a man of the match performance, scoring a hat-trick to inspire the scots to an opening weekend victory.
At half-time, Scotland were yet to really get going as the sides went in 12-3, thanks to two tries from Kinghorn and a Greig Laidlaw conversion, however the home side were always in control of the match.
The second-half saw Stuart Hogg just get his fingertips to touchdown early for Scotland, quickly followed up by Kinghorn to complete his hat-trick and make the score 26-3.
A converted try by Chris Harris stretched Scotland’s lead even further going into the last quarter of the match.
The Azzurri came on strong in the last ten minutes, scoring three tries but with Scotland well clear, it was nothing but consolation. The final score, 33-20.
In Dublin, England took on Ireland in possibly the biggest game of the tournament. England got off to a flying start with Jonny May going over in the corner, converted by Owen Farrell to give England an early seven-point advantage.
Ireland hit back with a penalty from Jonny Sexton and a converted try by Cian Healy to claw back the lead.
England replicated Ireland as Elliot Daly made the most of Jacob Stockdale’s error to put England back in front, Farrell converted and added a late first-half penalty to make it 17-13 at half time.
With a quarter of an hour to go, England broke down Ireland’s right wing, May kicked through and Henry Slade was on hand to touch down the bouncing ball.
To ensure England’s victory, Slade intercepted an Irish pass juggling it in his hands before placing it on the white line.
A late Ireland try meant nothing as England got a bonus point victory. Final score at the Aviva Stadium, Ireland 20 – 32 England.