It’s time for Planet Rugby’s weekly round-up of who has their name in lights at the moment…and who is making the headlines for the wrong reasons.
They’re on fire!
England: Champions with a round to spare after Saturday’s win over Wales. England were excellent until their late wobble, outplaying Wales in every area. If anything those late tries, and George Ford’s chargedown, were a wake-up that they’re far from the finished article. Paris now awaits for the chance to win that first Grand Slam since 2003.
That’s the first time that the @rbs_6_nations title has ever been won with a complete round still to go.
— Stuart Farmer (@Stu_Farmer) March 13, 2016
Scotland: A record-breaking day on Sunday against France – with a first win over les Bleus over ten years and back-to-back wins in the Six Nations for only the third time ever. Vern Cotter even almost smiled. Man of the Match, Stuart Hogg, was phenomenal.
Jamie Heaslip: Ireland got their groove back and the vice-captain, after plenty of criticism, played a major role scoring two tries, the first of which will surely go down as the try of the tournament.
Highlanders: Faced a stern test with the visit of the Lions to Dunedin but those two quick tries after the break from Ben Smith and Matt Faddes swung it in their favour. Malakai Fekitoa also looks back to his best on both sides of the ball.
Brumbies: Three wins out of three for the Australian Conference leaders, who face a real test this weekend away to the Stormers in Cape Town.
Worcester: Tipped to go down at the start of the season, Worcester’s win over Gloucester now puts them 13 points clear with six games to go. Top work.
Wales: Appalling for the first 60 minutes at Twickenham, then Wales nearly gave England another nightmare as they pushed them close at full-time. Why they failed to turn up until so late in the game baffled both us and Warren Gatland. Such a slow start cost them the game.
Winter has come….
Italy: Shocking defence. Italy didn’t have a prayer once Ireland upped the tempo and it’s impossible to defend conceding nine tries. Those always quick to sharpen the knives when it comes to Italy’s future in the tournament got exactly what they wanted.
Joe Marler and Tomas Francis: Marler should be in big trouble on two counts, for his alleged comments describing Samson Lee as a ‘gypsy boy’, which are under investigation, and for an elbow on Rob Evans which has surprisingly gone without a citing. Francis meanwhile made contact with the eyes of Dan Cole, with the severity of his action to be determined this week. The disciplinary panel have plenty of biscuits to get through.
Kings: Saturday’s loss took the Kings’ points conceded total through two games to 111, including 13 tries. Clearly the worst of the three new sides.
Agen: Thumped 50-6 by Castres on Saturday as relegation edges closer for the Top 14 strugglers, who sit 11 points clear of safety.
Bath: A complete shambles against Harlequins on Friday night, despite having ten internationals in their starting XV against a Quins outfit ravaged by injuries and international call-ups. Bath did fight back to secure a late bonus point, but they had been 35-6 down.