Last weekend’s matches wouldn’t have been very enjoyable for the neutral fan, and after all the build-up, I admit to some concern that the Championship was overhyped – not anymore after today’s two thrilling games.
Scotland surprised pretty much everyone in the way that they took the game to Wales. I was expecting a pretty dull affair dominated by kicking, but Dan Parks orchestrated a Scottish attack that we haven’t seen for a couple of years.
Wales were making mistakes and looked all at sea at times, but you never quite felt that they were out of the game. Their capitulation in the last seven minutes was quite remarkable, losing two players to the sin bin and conceding 17 points to lose a game they really should have won, by 31-24.
The last period of play was indeed pulsating, but the way that both sides looked to play with ball in hand was hugely encouraging and although there were errors, the game was highly entertaining.
Then France took on Ireland, and it was another hugely enjoyable game to watch. The two teams were infinitely better than last week, and there was line break after line break, big hit after big hit and cheer after cheer from the crowd.
Again, there were errors, particularly from the Irish in the second half – and you’d expect that in such an important game when one team is trying to force things – but both sides ran the ball and looked for space rather than the nearest man.
France were particularly impressive, and after soaking up the Irish attack for the first ten minutes, they scored two tries and never looked like surrendering the lead, winning the game by 33-10 and ending Ireland’s 12-game unbeaten run.
The RBS Six Nations tournament really is one of the most competitive and entertaining tournaments in the world, and let’s hope it continues in style in Rome tomorrow.
We’ll be doing live updates here on The Rugby Blog, and you can share your thoughts on the action as it happens – take a look even if you are watching on TV, because real-time opinions are always interesting!