We’re now past the halfway point of the 2021 Guinness Six Nations after two fascinating fixtures comprised Round 3.
The weekend began with Ireland crossing for six tries to get their 2021 campaign up and running with a 48-10 triumph over Italy in Rome.
Will Connors grabbed a try double, while Garry Ringrose, Hugo Keenan, CJ Stander and Keith Earls also dotted down as Andy Farrell’s men put the disappointment of narrow defeats to Wales and France behind them.
Then later on Saturday afternoon in Cardiff, Wales stayed on course for a Grand Slam with an eventful 40-24 victory over England – sealing the Triple Crown in the process.
Callum Sheedy’s three late penalties and Cory Hill’s try made the difference after England had fought back to level the scores at 24-24 through the boot of Owen Farrell and Ben Youngs’ quick-thinking try.
Josh Adams and Liam Williams had put Wales in control in the first half before Anthony Watson brought the visitors back into it just before the break, setting up the thrilling second half we were treated to.
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GAME ONE: Italy v Ireland – Garry Ringrose’s offload as Hugo Keenan went over – time 30.46
With ten minutes left of the first half in Rome, Ireland led Italy 13-3 but some scintillating skill was about to increase that advantage.
Having made good ground down the right-hand side thanks to some quick hands, Ireland shifted the ball inside, just outside the Italian 22, and Johnny Sexton fizzed a flat pass to Garry Ringrose.
From there, the centre drew contact and as he was being dragged to the floor by an Italian defender, he produced a sublime offload, flicking the ball up and straight into the hands of the onrushing Hugo Keenan.
The Ireland No.15 didn’t need to break stride as he caught the ball and burst between two defenders before streaking to the line for a try created by Ringrose’s brilliance.
GAME TWO: Wales v England – Wales lift the Triple Crown after beating England – time 80.00
A dramatic, back-and-forth contest in Cardiff saw both Wales and England seemingly in position to win the game at various points.
With wins over Ireland and Scotland heading into the clash, Wales were aiming to keep their Grand Slam hopes on track and secure an always-sweet Triple Crown by beating each of the three other home nations.
They eventually achieved that by battling to a thrilling 40-24 victory and that meant that head coach Wayne Pivac and captain Alun Wyn Jones could lift the Triple Crown trophy after the final whistle at Principality Stadium.
Interestingly, it is the fifth time Wales have lifted the Triple Crown since the Five Nations became Six in the year 2000 and each of the previous four occasions also saw them go on to win a Grand Slam…
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