One weekend down, one surprise result in the opening fixtures of the 2017 Six Nations.
After a nail-biting, last minute victory for Scotland over Ireland at Murrayfield, England overcame a resilient French opposition that had threatened to upset the odds early on. In what may originally seem like a more conventional result, Wales went to Italy and scored 30 unanswered second half points to top the table with a 33-7 victory.
What have we learnt from the first round of fixtures?
It’s going to be tight.
France pushed England all the way, Scotland put in an extraordinary performance to down the Irish and Wales showed what they can do in the second half against Italy.
In terms of the bookies odds for the 2017 Six Nations champions, England remain the outright favourites at 8/15 with Ireland (surprisingly) remaining second favourite at 6-1, despite their defeat in Edinburgh.
Two minutes into his appearance, Ben T’eo crossed the line with England’s only try of the match. Trailing 16-12 at the time, it would prove to be an important one for the outcome of the game.
Back in December, Ben T’eo expressed his frustration at the form of his Premiership club, Worcester Warriors. After moving to Sixways from Leinster in the summer, he came out and said “I never envisaged being in this survival battle. I though this was a club that had come up, would stay up and really kick on’.
On the back of his winning try against France on Saturday, he’s expressed a desire to get a starting berth for England – will the Warriors be able to tame the Te’o and provide a platform for his ambition? The climax of the Premiership season will be a telling factor.
A tale of two halves.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that Wales put out a different team either side of the half. Losing 7-3 at half time, a trio of tries in the space of 17 minutes would prove to be a big factor on the game, with Halfpenny’s trusty kicking game proving to be on point, again.
Despite being lamented for a lack of form, Wales have now won four internationals on the bounce, including the comprehensive beating of South Africa back in November. Could this be a springboard for the Welsh to challenge the 15-match unbeaten England? A £10 single on Wales to be 2017 Six Nations champions would net you a steady £75.00 return.
Either way, we will see next weekend, when the red roses travel to the Principality Stadium on Saturday!