Wednesday, February 26, 2014

International Rugby - Weekend Wrap

Crucial matches occured this weekend in the top two tiers of European rugby as eight teams certain to be a part of Rugby World Cup 2015 took to the field. The Six Nations of England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales were involved in round three of their annual competition while Georgia and Romania qualified for England & Wales 2015. Their confirmation as participants in the Rugby World Cup confirms that one of the two will face Argentina during pool play while the other will join Canada in Pool D. With boh expected to win in the next round on March 8 the winner of the Georgia v Romania test in Tbilisi on March 15 will join Argentina while the loser will join the North Americans.

Romania 32-6 Spain
Romania dominated Spain and got an easy four try win with their scrum causing havoc. Spain held on stoically in the first half but Romania ran away in the second. Spain are unlikely to go down as Belgium probably won't win another game, but need to be careful just in case. Georgia visit them in the next round for the first time since the Spanish win in 2012. Romania will get a simple win over Belgium next week at home and play a Grand Slam game away against Georgia.

Georgia 36-10 Russia
Similar to the Romania game, this was another easy win. Russia took the lead early through a charge down and scrapped hard for the first 30, but Georgia broke them down in front of 55,000 fans, scoring five tries despite not being at their best. Georgia just need to negotiate a trip to Madrid and then they'll play for their first Grand Slam since 2011. Russia confirm their third place finish should the Bears defeat Portugal in Sochi next.

Belgium 6-19 Portugal
This was a must win relegation deciding game for both teams, but it looks like the Belgians will now retreat back down a division. Portugal scored two tries and should keep their place for next year. Portugal travel to Russia next and Belgium to Romania.

Overall ENC 1A RWC qualification standings

1. Georgia - 33
2. Romania - 33

3. Russia - 18
4. Portugal - 11
5. Spain - 10
6. Belgium - 6

Wales 27-6 France
Wales easily beat France who produced one of their worst performances in recent times. It was never close and France attacked as poorly as they've ever done and got outscrummaged. A 3rd 6 Natinos is unlikely for Wales due to their points difference being ruined by a poor win over Italy and a poor defeat to Ireland, but mathematically they can still do it. Likewise France can as well although both will need results to go their way.

Italy 20-21 Scotland
After the first half it looked like more misery for Scotland, but Italy fell away in the 2nd to allow them back into the game. Alex Dunbar scored twice, but after Josh Furno's try it was left to DuncanWeir to get the last second drop goal for Scotland's first win in Rome since 2006. Scotland host France next and Italy travel to Ireland, it has been a poor tournament for both sides and this was likely a wooden spoon decider. 

England 13-10 Ireland
England sneaked a 3rd consecutive win over Ireland at Twickenham through a Danny Care try. It was a tight game and both defences did well but England were probably deserved winners. Ireland miss out on a Grand Slam but are in pole position for the tournament, England are probably 2nd most likely.

6 Nations standings

1. Ireland - 4
2. England - 4

3. Wales - 4
4. France - 4 
5. Scotland - 2
6. Italy - 0

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