Sport360 picks out five of the most interesting talking points after England and Ireland’s respective wins.
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The winning streak continues
Wales dominated the tackle area and looked sharp in attack but couldn’t string together the killer pass to force a breakthrough midway through the second half.
England, on the other hand, seized an opportunity from a Wales slip-up to extend their unbeaten run to 16 games.
With Italy and Scotland awaiting in their next two matches, Eddie Jones’ side should equal the All Blacks record of 18 unbeaten wins by the time they roll into Dublin to face Ireland in five weeks.
Dylan Hartley rarely finishes a game but England have enough leaders
The England captain was substituted early again, with Jamie George entering the fray after 47 minutes.
Hartley has been substituted inside 60 minutes in his last six international games. Some may question bringing off a captain that early in a Test match and what it does to the dynamic of the team, but England have enough natural leaders to deal with Hartley’s absence.
With Maro Itoje stepping up, Owen Farrell a key figure, and Ben Youngs and Joe Launchbury captaining their respective clubs, Jones has plenty of leaders without Hartley’s on-field presence.
In George, England clearly have a better player who offers more in ball carrying ability and work-rate, but Hartley’s strength is his physicality, set-piece presence and experience.
Late decision making cost Wales the game
Leading by two points, Wales defended effectively for up to 30 phases before an attempted Jonathan Davies clearance kick failed to reach touch. From the ensuing England attack, Owen Farrell spread the ball wide to Elliot Daly who raced through from 30 metres to score the winning try.
In those frenetic moments, it’s important to think clear under pressure but in that position, it’s criminal for a player not to make touch even if it’s inside his own 22.
CJ Stander is a class act
The Munsterman was an inspirational presence at the Stadio Flaminio, battering Italy at every opportunity.
His sterling performance was capped off with three fine tries, as well as producing a Ronan O’Gara-esque kick to tee up Craig Gilroy for Ireland’s eighth try.
The 26-year-old continues to develop into one of Ireland’s central figures despite having only 12 caps to his name.
In addition to his scoring exploits, he made 22 runs (a total of 62 metres) and 10 tackles.
Surely, a shoe-in for the Lions?
Vast improvement from the Ireland bench
Ireland never looked in trouble but it was fitting to see some notable contributions from the replacements when introduced.
Stander, understandably received man-of-the-match as he started, but Gilroy deserves a special mention for his 30-minute hat-trick, evading each would-be tackler better than the next.
Josh van der Flier was outstanding for Ireland’s final try, John Ryan looked solid when introduced for Tadhg Furlong, and Ultan Dillane showed a touch of panache that was absent against Scotland last week.
Wales were 16-11 in front with nine minutes left but an Owen Farrell penalty reduced their lead before left wing Daly went in at the corner for a converted try that extended England’s national record winning streak to 16 victories.
A fast-paced first half ended with Wales five points in front at 13-8.
Leigh Halfpenny’s boot appeared to have secured victory for Wales but England rallied to ensure their Australian coach Eddie Jones retained his perfect record as Red Rose boss.
The decisive passage of play saw Wales force a turnover near their own try-line only for centre Jonathan Davies’s aimless kick to be run back in style by Daly, who beat Alex Cuthbert for pace for a stunning try.
Significantly, Farrell added the conversion and that meant Wales had to score a try just to equalise. But England’s defence held firm.
The Six Nations is back for round two and ahead of France’s game against Scotland at Stade de France, Xavier and Dougie join us to analyse their team’s chances ahead of the contest.
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FRANCE LINE-UP: S Spedding (Clermont Auvergne); N Nakaitaci (Clermont Auvergne), R Lamerat (Clermont Auvergne), G Fickou (Toulouse), V Vakatawa (French Rugby Federation); C Lopez (Clermont Auvergne), B Serin (Bordeaux-Begles); C Baille (Toulouse), G Guirado (Toulon, capt), U Atonio (La Rochelle), S V Vahaamahina (Clermont Auvergne), Y Maestri (Toulouse), L Goujon (Bordeaux-Begles), K Gourdon (La Rochelle), L Picamoles (Northampton).
PREDICTION: France to win by 5 points.
DOUGIE HORNE (SCOTLAND)
SCOTLAND LINE-UP: S Hogg (Glasgow); S Maitland (Saracens), H Jones (Stormers), A Dunbar (Glasgow), T Seymour (Glasgow); F Russell (Glasgow), G Laidlaw (Gloucester, capt); A Dell (Edinburgh), F Brown (Glasgow), Z Fagerson (Glasgow), R Gray (Toulouse), J Gray (Glasgow), J Barclay (Scarlets), H Watson (Edinburgh), J Strauss (Glasgow).
PREDICTION: Scotland to win by 2 points.