Once again Owen Farrell was fantastic with the boot as England got their Six Nations campaign off to a flyer. However it was his captain that will be in contention for a Lions spot if he continues with performances such as this. His accolades sadly read like a bog standard job application but his amazing work ethic and leadership skills certainly didn’t go unnoticed. It is these basic qualities which have epitomised England of late and things look bright for the team in the tournament and for Robshaw’s chances of getting into Warren Gatland’s reckoning, as Clive Woodward stated, “Robshaw’s stock just keeps rising”.
A difficult choice between Zebo and Best was swung not only by a piece of skill Messi would have been proud of, but for his contribution to Ireland’s defensive effort. It’s refreshing to see a winger who is not merely lightning fast but has other aspects to his game. There was a noticeable injection into the Welsh side in the second half whenever their wingers found space to run. So the stifling first up tackles put in by Zebo and Gilroy early on helped to subdue an already lacklustre performance. An attacking prowess and a defensive determination stand the young in winger in good stead for Lions selection.
The Scout disagrees with the player ratings published earlier in the week, and Johnnie Beattie will have taken heart from French performances in more ways than one this weekend. While Italy’s victory will have set out a rallying call to their fellow underdogs, the Scottish number 8 has certainly benefited from his French sabbatical. He is looking rejuvenated as he proved with a stand-out performance against a strong English side, some solid carries combined with a physical presence at the break down has given Scotland more firepower and threat. Continued consistency will put him in with a shout of making it on the tour.
Both wingers injected real spark into the Welsh resurgence in the second half especially when coming in off their lines. Cuthbert’s well taken try exemplified the dynamism the Welsh backline can possess; especially when the centres are actually passing the ball to a person. Cuthbert is not a guarantee for a starting position on the Lions tour but both wingers will have certainly put their hand up for selection.
By Jono Frank
Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images