Six Nations: England should give fringe players a chance to impress against Italy
- Credit: PA
What a fantastic second round of matches it was in the Six Nations.
England scraped past Wales in Cardiff with a 21-16 win with the ever-impressive Elliot Daly scoring a late try. Owen Farrell also deserves a mention, he looks the complete player and an exceptional goal kicker.
That makes it an impressive 16 wins on the bounce for this hard-to-beat England team.
As I predicted, Ireland dominated a poor Italy, running out 63-10. Question-marks remain over whether Italy deserve their place in the tournament. I personally would like to see a relegation play-off introduced, with talk of Georgia pushing their cause to be involved.
Scotland couldn't quite perform at the same level as they did in the win over Ireland. France won 22-16; a seventeen-point haul from Camille Lopez proving enough for France to record their first win in the championship.
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Team of the week: France get it this week, they are now starting to bring in some French flair to their physical approach.
Player of the week: Stuart Hogg the Scottish full-back again showed why he's world class.
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This week's fixtures have the potential to be another cracking weekend.
The match to watch for me will be Ireland v France tomorrow (4.50pm). Ireland could have fly-half Jonny Sexton back from injury which is a huge boost. They will need to be more dynamic and creative in attack rather than having just one up runners. I predict Ireland's home advantage will make the difference.
Scotland v Wales (2.25pm, Saturday) should be a tight affair, I saw enough against England to think Wales will pinch this.
Wales's abrasive defence will be a key factor in any win. Scotland have lost their inspirational captain and goal kicker Greig Laidlaw which is a massive blow.
Twickenham will host Italy on Sunday (3pm); this won't be a great game for the neutral spectator with the way Italy is currently playing.
Eddie Jones should use this game to blood some of his squad, players such as Jamie George and Ben Te'o who have both been so impressive coming off the bench in previous matches.
Jonny O'Brien is head coach and a player at Norwich RFC