The opening weekend of the inaugural Fall Nations Cup featured a host of international matches, lots of attempts, and no shortage of drama. Ireland kicked off the show with an impressive win against Wales on Friday night before Scotland continued their winning streak with a hard-won victory over Italy. Rugby enthusiasts can book British lions 2021 tickets on our website at exclusively discounted prices.
A physical battle between England and Georgia concluded the first round at Twickenham, with the reigning Six Nations champions showing their power to secure extra points success. And with the ticking of the clock towards the 2021 Tour to South Africa, there were a number of individual performances that would certainly have piqued Warren Gatland’s interest.
GEORGE TREBLE DOWNS GEORGIA
It was a brutal physique that dominated the day when England proved they were more than a match for Georgia’s heavyweight group, with the hosts prevailing 40-0 on their return home. Flanker Jack Willis marked his debut with an attempt to get the score going for the hosts, who had not played at home since their Six Nations victory against Wales in March.
Then it was time for the Jamie George show, as the 2017 British and Irish Lions hooker benefited from powerful mauls to crash over the cover-up twice in nearly identical moves. Two fellow Lions also combined for the bonus point trial at the peak of the break, with Jonathan Joseph breaking in midfield before finding Elliot Daly to put England 26-0 up.
George completed his hat-trick becoming the first English hooker to hit a test triple after the interval with another replica of his first two scores, while Dan Robson dived to bring in England’s sixth, with Owen Farrell converting five of those.
And George was happy to keep his own contribution low-key, saying, “It was a great team performance. What I liked the most was that when it came to forwards, we got on the plate.”
SCOTLAND KEEP THE MOMENTUM
Scotland posted their fifth straight win by beating Italy 28-17 in Florence, but Gregor Townsend’s men didn’t have it all their way in their Fall Nations Cup arc. The Azzurri were ready for the game from the first whistle and Paolo Garbisi’s booty together with Matteo Minozzi’s first-half try ensured the hosts won 11-7 at half-time.
Duhan van der Merwe’s impressive try kept the visitors in touch, but Garbisi extended Italy’s lead after the restart with another penalty before Zander Fagerson try tied the score. Garbisi struck again to reestablish Italy’s lead as momentum continued to waver before the turning point in the game arrived with just under 15 minutes to play.
Scotland put faith in their pack and parried a shot on goal, resulting in a lineout maul that eventually gave Scott Cummings a chance to improve. Duncan Weir’s third successful conversion put the visitors four ahead, but they weren’t finished yet, crossing through George Turner again for a valuable extra point attempt.
IRELAND RAIN IN THE JONES PARADE
It was a great night for two greats from the Lions and Wales on Friday, as Alun Wyn Jones made it up 150 caps and George North came off the bench for his 100th international appearance. But his milestones were among the only highlights for Wayne Pivac’s team, which was beaten for the sixth straight loss to Ireland in their final Fall Nations Cup game.
The first tournament saw Andy Farrell’s men open a 16-6 lead at halftime, with Quinn Roux’s try, Johnny Sexton’s eight points and a Billy Burns penalty doing the damage. Leigh Halfpenny took two penalties in the first half and added another after the break to keep Wales in touch, but his efforts were in vain when Ireland pulled away in the final stages.
Burns scored another penalty before Conor Murray took over the kicking duties and nailed another couple of attempts, adding a conversion later after James Lowe crossed on his debut. Lowe looked at home on the international stage when he won his first international match, while Jamison Gibson-Park and Caelan Doris also impressed on an unforgettable night for Farrell and his team.
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