The second round of the Guinness Six Nations saw victories for France, England and Ireland. However, it didn’t match the excitement of the opening weekend. Here are five key takeaways from the weekend’s games.
Referees under fire
Referees have been under scrutiny after controversial decisions at Murrayfield and Twickenham. Despite World Rugby’s recent documentary ‘Whistleblowers’ highlighting the challenges faced by officials, criticism continues. The decision not to award Scotland a last-gap try against France and to allow Wales to run down George Ford’s conversion were according to the rules, but both felt wrong. Even though clarification showed the correct decisions were made, online vilification had already begun.
Hollie makes history
Hollie Davidson, a 31 year old Scottish referee, made history at Twickenham during the second round of the Six Nations. She became the first woman to be part of an officiating team for a men’s match in the tournament, breaking barriers for women in the sport.
Golden era unable to shine
Despite a controversial moment in Scotland’s game against France, the team can only blame themselves for not being two from two. They led for most of the match but fell short, making their first Six Nations title seem as distant as ever.
Red Rose rolls on
England, one of the two unbeaten teams in the Six Nations, have matched their victory total from the last three tournaments. However, their narrow wins against Italy and Wales were a bit too close for comfort. They know they need to up their game as they face tougher opponents like Scotland, Ireland, and France in the coming weeks.
Steve Borthwick’s team has shown resilience, an eagerness to attack, and defensive strength. But they still have a long way to go to be considered a top-tier nation.
Ireland in the box seat
Ireland are also in the running for the Grand Slam. They easily defeated Italy, even with six changes to their team. It’s hard not to see Andy Farrell’s men achieving another clean sweep. No team has won back-to-back Grand Slams in the Six Nations era, but the Irish team’s depth and fluency make it seem possible.
On the other hand, Italy seems to have taken a step back after giving England a run for their money in Rome.