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Six Nations round-up: Defeats for England and Wales

Kyle Sinckler, Harry Randall and Callum Sheedy were all in Guinness Six Nations action on the opening weekend of the 2022 competition, with away defeats for England and Wales.

Scotland snatch Calcutta Cup victory

Scotland retained the Calcutta Cup defeating England 20-17 at Murrayfield.

Despite 17 points from Marcus Smith, England were pipped in Edinburgh by the boot of Finn Russell in their opening Guinness Six Nations match.

It was a tentative start to the Test as both sides jostled for possession and territory, but England applied the early pressure, Max Malins linking well with Freddie Steward down the right flank inside the opening 10 minutes only for the full back to be tussled into touch five metres from the line.

Marcus Smith converted a 30-metre penalty on the 17-minute mark, but England's lead was short lived, as Darcy Graham burst through their defence moments after the restart, before squaring up Steward and sending substitute Ben White over on debut. Russell's extras made it 7-3.

England's promise continued though as Ben Youngs kept tempo high at ruck time, sniping when opportunities presented, and Smith soon had another penalty attempt from close range, which he duly converted to cut the deficit to one point.

But despite making 167 more metres, 33 more carries and boasting 63% possession, a Russell three-pointer on the stroke of half time saw England go in 10-6 down at the break.

Smith kicked his ninth point a few minutes into the second half, as Eddie Jones' men grew in confidence, and the fly-half scored England's first try on the 53-minute mark. Youngs peeled off a dominant rolling maul, and hit Smith as he fired through a gap in the Scottish defence to slide over.

He missed the extras but converted another penalty on 63 minutes, which was his last contribution to the game, as he made way for George Ford.

Luke Cowan-Dickie was deemed to have deliberately hit a ball into touch, as Graham challenged him in the air. He was shown a yellow card, and Scotland were awarded a penalty try to level the match.

Then Russell added another three to his tally, as England's scrum buckled five metres from their own line, handing the hosts a 20-17 win. 


Heavy defeat for Wales in Dublin

Wales were beaten in their Six Nations opener by a strong Ireland side in Dublin.

Wayne Pivac’s side had their moments, but were second best to Ireland, and must regroup ahead of a huge game with Scotland in Cardiff next weekend.

The Irish got off to a flying start and scored with less than three minutes on the clock. New wing Mack Hansen made the most of a lucky bounce and raced up the left wing before kicking over Liam Williams and forcing Wales to concede a line-out in their 22.  

Josh van der Flier broke clear and three rucks later the ball was worked from right to left and Hansen provided the final pass to his Connacht teammate Bundee Aki wide out on the left. Ireland’s dominance was underlined by the match stats to that point – 78% possession and 68% territory. 

Wales’ first incursion into Irish territory came in the 22nd minute, but they couldn’t make the ball stick and struggled to find any real rhythm on the few occasions they did have the ball.  The 2021 Six Nations champions gradually worked their way into the game and at least didn’t concede any more points before the break.

Wales conceded five penalties in the first-half and continued to do so in the second. Back-to-back awards to the Irish saw them kick to the left corner and manufactured a try on the right for Andrew Conway within four minutes of the re-start. 

Sexton converted with a wind-assisted banana kick and things simply went from bad to worse for the Welsh when Josh Adams went to the sin-bin for a reckless off the ball charge into Sexton. The Irish smelt blood and with the extra man took less than three minutes to make it count.  

Conway was once again the try scorer, put in by a long pass from Jamison Gibson-Park and once again Sexton bent the ball over the bar from the touchline to make it 24-0. South African referee Jaco Peyper awarded Wale their first penalty in the 54th minute and a second on the hour mark saved their blushes as the Irish pack were caught for crossing as they powered over from another short range line-out. 

The home side weren’t to be denied for long though as Garry Ringrose raced 30 metres to score the bonus-point try.

Taine Basham had the final say for Wales, pouncing on a loose pass to scamper over from 20m. The Dragons flanker was prominent throughout and deserved his try, which Callum Sheedy improved, but by then it was too little too late.


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