Shaun Goosen looks back at what proved to be a pretty seismic weekend of European Rugby.
Image Copyright – Steve Haag Sports
Scotland earn first Twickenham win in 38-years
Scotland’s outstanding 11-6 Calcutta Cup win over England at Twickenham on Saturday was easily the most eye-catching result of the rugby weekend. Having not won at the hallowed turf since 1983, Gregor Townsend’s Scotsmen produced a performance for the ages to dominate territory and possession on their way to sealing a remarkable five-point win over the defending Six Nations champions.
With Eddie Jones’ Saracens contingent having played no rugby since England’s Autumn Nations Cup win in December, many feared his side would head into the exchange underdone. In the end, they were both underdone and outdone by a passionate Scottish brigade – led by Stuart Hogg – who would have set their sights on achieving a few more shock results by the time the tournament has drawn to a close.
France thump Italy, Wales see off 14-man Ireland
An Antoine Dupont-inspired French side scored seven tries to dismantle a floundering Italian outfit 50-10 at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday. The visitors continued their remarkable progress under Fabian Galthie while Italy’s barren Six Nations run drags on, with a last competition win for them coming as far back as 2015. As always, discourse invariably turned to their continued inclusion in the tournament, with former Wales and British & Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton the latest to call for a promotion/ relegation series for the bottom-ranked Six Nations team and the winner of the Rugby Europe Championship.
In the final Six Nations Test of round one, Wales managed to put away Ireland 21-16 at the Principality Stadium on Sunday. The hosts largely have Peter O’Mahony to thank after the veteran Munster flanker was shown red for a reckless cleanout on Tomas Francis in the 14th-minute — becoming the first Irishman to be sent off in the history of the competition in the process. Despite trailing 6-13 at the break, Wales produced a better second-half showing to ultimately come good in another thrilling encounter.
Sale upset Bristol, Racing knock over La Rochelle
In the biggest Gallagher Premiership result of round eight, the Sale Sharks pulled off a 20-13 win over table-toppers the Bristol Bears to reign them in on the standings. The Manchester-based club are third, now just three points shy of the Bears, while second-placed Exeter’s 15-9 win in Newcastle means they are just two points back.
In the Top 14, third-placed Racing 92 prevented La Rochelle from going top after they won 26-22 at La Defense Arena and are now level on 50-points – two behind front-runners Toulouse. In another notable result, Montpellier ended their nightmarish nine-match losing run as they klapped Stade Francais 31-9.
Written by Shaun Goosen.