Scotland have brought an exciting edge to this year’s Six Nations scrap
- Credit: PA
What a weekend to kick off the Six Nations, with Scotland's victory over Ireland the pick of the performances.
Scotland raced into a 21-8 lead in the first half, Stuart Hogg showing why he's currently one of the best full-backs in the world with two early tries. The second half saw an Ireland fightback with a dominant scrum and plenty of passion but it wasn't enough, the passionate Scottish team 27-22.
The proof that this Scottish team has developed will be if they can replicate this performance away from Murrayfield.
I mentioned in my previous column that England have found a formula of winning when they play poorly. They certainly showed that against France.
France's big pack dominated the match with inspiring No8 Louis Picamoles creating havoc in England's defensive line.
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Even in the short periods England sustained pressure, they just weren't clinical enough. James Haskell and Ben Te'o came off the bench and made the impact that was so needed. Ben Te'o provided the physical element that England had been missing and his well-taken try was enough to clinch the win.
Eddie Jones stuck with skipper Dylan Hartley, who didn't look like he was back to full match fitness yet. Next week I'd start with Jamie George the Saracens man who has been in excellent form. The midfield also concerns me, George Ford, Owen Farrell and Jonathan Joseph didn't fire at all and struggled to get over the gain-line. I'd like to see Farrell move to his natural position of fly-half and Te'o at inside centre, this would give the team a more direct and physical approach.
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This week must be a much-improved performance because if they play this badly against Wales they will lose! It was the same old Italy, they competed for the first 50 minutes and then Wales showed their class to ion 33-11.
Team of the week: Scotland
Player of the week: Stuart Hogg
Italy v Ireland: Ireland to dominate the set piece and get all five points in Rome.
Wales v England: England's mental strength to see them home in a close encounter.
France v Scotland: Should be a cracker. France should just have the edge playing at home.
Jonny O'Brien is head coach and a player at Norwich RFC