It’s time for our Monday wrap of who has their name in lights and who is making the headlines for all the wrong reasons over the past week.
THEY’RE ON FIRE!
Worcester: Where did that come from? High-flying Exeter were expected to see off Worcester at Sixways but it did not go to script in this Premiership match. Two Chris Pennell penalties proved enough to see the Warriors prevail as they now move 12 points clear of London Irish.
— Worcester Warriors ?? (@WorcsWarriors) February 10, 2018
Ireland: This is a serious team that look more than capable of wrestling the Six Nations crown from England’s head at Twickenham. Despite making a handful of changes, the Irish tore Italy to pieces at the Aviva Stadium, winning 56-19 to go top of the table. Here’s the highlights.
England: Played the perfect game in wet weather conditions. England’s forward pack impressed from minute one, George Ford and Owen Farrell kicked well out of hand while their back three was also a well oiled machine that made few mistakes. Wales, who conceded just a measly two penalties all game, made England work incredibly hard for these points but in the end they were worthy of them, going two from two in 2018.
Scotland: That took guts to put last week and also a 10-0 deficit against France behind them to pull themselves back into the title mix. Sunday saw the Scots turn the screw on France by applying huge pressure on them for a sustained period of the second half, with les Bleus leaking penalty after penalty at the breakdown. Stuart Hogg, Huw Jones, Greig Laidlaw and Jonny Gray starred but it was a strong team performance.
Richard Cockerill’s Edinburgh: The former Leicester boss has started his tenure at Edinburgh in real style. Their win over Leinster was his 14th in 20 games in charge as the Scottish outfit continue to grow in confidence under his guidance. Leinster and Scarlets remain the front-runners in their Conference though as Edinburgh are 11 points off the pace-setters. But take nothing away from the work Cockerill is doing.
Early days, and small sample size, but with 14 wins from 20 games in charge, already Richard Cockerill has a significantly higher win rate (70%) than his six predecessors. Hodge (interim, 42%), Solomons (47%), Bradley (30%), Scrivener (interim, 33%), Moffat (43%), Robinson (50%). pic.twitter.com/7fY9nN1pJp
— Jamie Lyall (@JLyall93) February 10, 2018
COLD AS ICE!
TMO call at Twickenham: Subsequent footage has shown that Wales wing Steff Evans in fact knocked the ball on before the contentious moment that saw Anthony Watson given the benefit of the doubt over Gareth Anscombe. That should still not excuse the decision of the grounding as it was clear the Welsh full-back got to the ball first. It was not a great advert for the officials at Twickenham, in particular the TMO.
— Will Greenwood (@WillGreenwood) February 10, 2018
Kings: They must want their debut season in the PRO14 wrapped up now. Their 59-10 loss to Ulster was the Kings’ 14th out of 14 fixtures in the league as they were no match for their inspired hosts. To be rolled over once again is hugely concerning for the South Africans.
Eddie Jones: We can forgive the pre-match mind-games when Jones looked to unsettle Wales fly-half Rhys Patchell, but the England head coach ranting at BBC 5 live Sport reporter Chris Jones on Saturday evening was baffling. Your side has just beaten a good Wales team to go two from two in the Championship yet you opt to rage at a pundit, saying all of the media is anti Mike Brown. A strange reaction to victory.
‘You’re always criticising Mike Brown, now he has a good game you’re all on the bandwagon!’
Eddie Jones didn’t hold back on his opinions about media scrutiny after England’s #SixNations win over Wales…
— BBC 5 live Sport (@5liveSport) February 10, 2018
Kyle Eastmond: An extremely lucky centre as his Wasps team-mates impressively managed to win 44-22 away to Harlequins on Sunday, despite Eastmond having been sent off in the 17th minute. In truth he was lucky not to be carded for his first high tackle on Ross Chisholm, but when he took out Marcus Smith the red seemed inevitable. Wasps would go on to score four further tries in the game in a fine showing.
It always gets lively between these two sides! ??
Kyle Eastmond is sent off after a huge out-of-control hit on Marcus Smith…
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) February 11, 2018