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Weekend Rugby Wrap: England, Wales impress, Bristol pull away

Mario Itoje

Shaun Goosen takes a look back at this past weekend’s rugby action. England and Wales impressed while Bristol could be on course for their first Premiership title. 

Image Copyright – Steve Haag Sports. 

 

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Wales continue title charge

Wales continued their march to the Six Nations title with a 48-7 thumping of Italy at Stadio Olimpico on Saturday. Wayne Pivac’s men scored seven tries, with Ken “The Sheriff” Owens bagging a brace, as they maintained their unbeaten record in the competition. They will achieve a Grand Slam this weekend if they can beat France in Paris. Despite their recent loss, France are still in the hunt for the championship with a game in hand against Scotland still to come. 

The prospect of not only winning the title but completing a Grand Slam will have enormous significance for the men in red. After enduring an annus horribilis in 2020 and beginning their current Six Nations campaign with unconvincing displays, Pivac’s side are on the brink of accomplishing something very special indeed. Kudos to them.

Itoje seals win for Red Roses

Maro Itoje’s 75th-minute try helped England claim a 23-20 victory over France at Twickenham on Saturday. Eddie Jones’ men have been under enormous pressure after a string of underwhelming performances so far in 2021, but this latest win has alleviated that somewhat. Jones said the result gives his men a “bit of a start” on the French in the race to be at full force come the next World Cup. That’s vintage Eddie right there.

France remain in title contention with a game in hand, but must avoid losing to Wales in Paris this weekend if they are to claim a first championship since 2010.

Bristol threaten to pull away in the Premiership

Bristol are seven-points clear at the summit of the Premiership standings and threatening to pull away after their 37-20 win over Wasps at Ashton Gate on Friday. In a very short space of time following their promotion in 2018, the mega-rich Bears have gone from pretenders to true bloody contenders, with Pat Lam’s side’s electric style of play paying huge dividends. Exeter look most likely to catch them on the log, but if their form holds, the current table-toppers will remain the best-placed team come the playoffs.

The Chiefs themselves earned a narrow 21-20 win at Sandy Park on Saturday over third-placed Harlequins. That has put some space between themselves and Paul Gustard’s men on the standings, but they remain vulnerable after some recent losses. Elsewhere, fourth-placed Sale fell 17-14 to Northampton, who are now just two-points and one place further back, while Gloucester and Worcester both lost again.

Written by Shaun Goosen.

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