The 2016 Six Nations getinto its second weekend of action today after a thrilling opening round last week. France beat Ireland 10-9 in the opening game of the day to leave the defending champions on the brink in what has been a disappointing start to their defence after a draw last week.
Scotland traveled to Cardiff to face Wales in the second game of the day but were unable to break their 14-year barren spell in the capital as they suffered a narrow 27-24 defeat.
France beat Ireland 10-9 at the Stade de France
Maxime Medard scores late try to seal victory
Wales beat Scotland 27-23 at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium
Gareth Davies, Jamie Roberts and George North score tries for Wales
Scotland’s reply comes through Tommy Seymour and Duncan Taylor
In today’s first game, Ireland travel to Paris hoping to stretch their unbeaten record against the French to six matches. Ireland will be desperate for a win after their hard fought draw with Wales last week and Joe Schmidt has made three changes to the side that lined up at the Aviva stadium in their opening game of the tournament.
Rob and Dave Kearney come into the starting 15, replacing Simon Zebo and Keith Earls, while Sean O’Brien comes into the pack to replace Tommy O’Donnell.
On the other hand, Guy Noves has made six changes to the team that beat Italy in the opening round and interestingly none of the starting French backline took part in the 2015 world cup. Hugo Bonneval makes way for Teddy Thomas and Maxime Mermoz replaces Gael Fickou at outside centre, but the main alterations are found in the pack.
Both Eddy Ben Arous and Rabah Slimani have been replaced in the front row, by Jefferson Poirot and Uini Atonio, and Yacouba Camara makes his first start an number eight as a result of an injury to Louis Picamoles. Finally Alexandre Flanquart comes into the second row in place of Paul Jedrasiak, who is dropped to the bench.Ireland cannot afford to be “caught cold” again in the scrum in today’s Six Nations battle with France in Paris, according to Rory Best. The captain has challenged Ireland’s pack to iron out the kinks that allowed Wales to dominate the early set-piece exchanges in last weekend’s 16-16 draw in Dublin.England Flying start for Jones but doubts remain A Calcutta Cup victory in the graveyard surroundings of Murrayfield; a clean sheet on the casualty front; the two dominant Six Nations forces of recent years erasing each other from the Grand Slam equation… only if the Rugby Football Union chief executive, Ian Ritchie, had put 50 per cent of his £600,000 salary behind the bar could the opening weekend have been more satisfying for Eddie Jones and his players.When Jonathan Sexton landed his match-saving penalty towards the end of Ireland’s contest with Wales last weekend, two things struck me. The first thought was one of confirmation: I felt before the start of the Six Nations that Sexton would be a key figure in the outcome of the tournament and as a result of events in Dublin I’m even more convinced of his capacity to keep his countrymen, weakened by injury as they may be, in the chase for a third successive title. There is clear daylight between him and the other No 10s in Europe, for sure.