Ireland, France, rugby, Six Nations

Another exciting round of action, another round which saw England cover themselves in glory again, albeit after a bit of a fright, with Scotland and Ireland emerging as the defending champions' closest rivals in the battle for the 2017 Six Nations Championship.

Round two results and reaction

England were the only team capable of winning the Grand Slam after the first two rounds of the competition and they remain on course to do that thanks to another win.

Close on their heels are Ireland and Scotland and it looks like this Six Nations battle will go right down to the final round of matches.

Here is a look at how round three went, with the final scores and reaction from all three matches.

Scotland vs Wales:

A crucial match for both teams if they were to keep their hopes of winning the 6 Nations title alive and Scotland were the ones to come out smiling from the game. After a close first half, where Wales were marginally the better side, the Scots ramped up the pressure in the second to run away with the match in a thoroughly impressive performance and clinch their first win over Wales in ten years.


Scotland head coach Vern Cotter: I'm really happy for a number of reasons. We set out to win the game and at halftime we weren't particularly well positioned to do so, but the players adjusted well and scored a couple of nice tries.

It was a good second half performance. We needed to tweak a couple of things and the boys did it really well. We realised that we were probably watching them play, rather than playing ourselves. Then we decided to influence the outcome. I'm very proud of that response. We started taking the game to the Welsh. Hats off to the players.

Wales head coach Rob Howley: Our second half performance wasn't good enough. Scotland squeezed us. We lacked possession and when we got it, Scotland were hugely effective in the contact area. Losing, our championship is over, but it's about pride in the next two games. Scotland were better than us and deserved the win.

Final score: Scotland 29-13 Wales.

Ireland vs France:

Ireland came into this match expecting a bruising encounter and they were given one in an enthralling contest. Much of the talk before the match centred around the return of Johnny Sexton and the fly-half showed his quality, by kicking Ireland to a much-deserved victory.

While Sexton made an impressive comeback – a drop goal scored in the second half was particularly delectable to watch – it was Conor Murray that impressed the most, with the scrum-half scoring the match's only try while pulling the strings throughout the contest to lead Ireland to a much-needed win in Dublin.


Conor Murray: Johnny has been in camp with us all through the campaign so far and he slotted in really well. The forwards laid the platform, the conditions were really tough so we needed good field position and we managed to get that at times.

To get in those positions and not convert (it into tries) is a little bit frustrating but a win against the French is always a good one.

France captain Guilhem Guirado: We'll look back at the match because we did some good things in the first 20 minutes. Then we conceded a try and lost control of the game. At the start of the second half we conceded a lot of penalties which allowed Ireland to stretch their lead.

Final score: Ireland 19-9 France.

England vs Italy:

This was expected to be a comfortable game for England, but it turned out to be anything but. With Italy using some interesting tactics – they decided not to commit any men to the ruck after a tackle, which left England bemused and without an offside line to work with – England were in a spot of bother at halftime, with the Italians leading 10-5.

However, Jack Nowell scored two tries in the second half as England went on to win with a bonus point to firm their lead at the top of the Six Nations 2017 points table.


Man of the match Joe Launchbury: It was a very frustrating first half. Italy came with a plan around the breakdown that it took us quite a long time to work out. We're pleased with the result but as always lots to work on.

Italy head coach Conor O'Shea: I was very proud of our performance. There's no problem with our heart but we also knew we had system errors, we didn't come up with this overnight. We talked to the referee, we said how we were going to approach the game and I'm incredibly proud of my players.

Final score: England 36-15 Italy.

Standings: England lead the points table with 13 points from three matches. Ireland are second with ten, while Scotland have nine points, with two rounds remaining. Wales and France have five each, with Italy still to get off the mark in the 2017 Six Nations.