Dan Lucas

Author's details

Name: Dan Lucas
Date registered: October 8, 2014
URL: http://www.theguardian.com/sport/indiacricketteam

Latest posts

  1. England beat Scotland 61-21 to retain Six Nations – as it happened — March 11, 2017
  2. Italy 18-40 France: Six Nations – as it happened — March 11, 2017
  3. Wales 22-9 Ireland: Six Nations – as it happened — March 10, 2017
  4. France 22-16 Scotland: Six Nations – as it happened — February 12, 2017
  5. Wales 16-21 England: Six Nations – as it happened — February 11, 2017

Author's posts listings

Mar 11

England beat Scotland 61-21 to retain Six Nations – as it happened

6.27pm GMT

Right that’s me done. Join me next week for the final round. Bye!

6.26pm GMT

Paul Rees’s full report is in. This is it.

Related: England and Jonathan Joseph thump Scotland to seal Six Nations title

6.25pm GMT

And now Vern Cotter. “We got injuries early and came unstuck early in the game. We’ve had eight concussions in four games. I’m just focussed on trying to put a team together for the game next week, this one’s done and dusted.

“We didn’t defend well off the set-piece then we had some strategic difficulties when we made the changes. We’ll try and put something together for people to be proud of next week.”

6.18pm GMT

Eddie Jones: “We’ve been ready to play well for a couple of weeks. We were ready to play well against Italy but as you know we didn’t play rugby. Today we got a chance to play rugby and I’m very pleased. Next week’s about the grand slam and we’re going to focus very closely on that.

“The players have worked hard and learned new ways. When you’re a professional player it’s difficult to learn new things but they’re very open minded. What’s most exciting is we’re one year into a four-year project and they’re only going to get better.”

6.11pm GMT

Scotland captain John Barclay speaks, for once not to the referee. “We didn’t show up to day, discipline was very poor in the first half especially. England are arguably the best team in the world.

“It’s easy to look at injuries as an excuse but we train for these scenarios and we’ve got quality players.

6.08pm GMT

My esteemed colleague Observer Sport has produced this hot-off-the-interwebz snap report. The actual report from our man at the stadium (Paul Rees, I think) will follow shortly.

Related: England and Jonathan Joseph thump Scotland to seal Six Nations title

6.06pm GMT

Here’s how the @SixNationsRugby table looks with one round to go

England are the 2017 winners! pic.twitter.com/7yY5xghR2O

6.06pm GMT

Jonathan Joseph speaks: “The boys performed extremely well. We were very confident.

“In the week we focussed on starting each session very well. The set piece worked really well, we’re very pleased.

6.04pm GMT

That wasn’t perfect from England. They conceded three tries after all. Otherwise it was a hell of a statement. Slow starters? Nervous? Worries about Owen Farrell? Pah. Scotland were blown away from the third minute to the 84th – it was a complete performance when they had possession at least. The Scottish injuries didn’t help the visitors’ cause, of course, but no one can seriously suggest they affected the outcome.

Congratulations, then, England. They have the title: on the line next week are an outright record of 19 wins in a row and becoming the first team to win back-to-back Six Nations grand slams.

6.00pm GMT

England have won the Calcutta Cup, they have equalled the All Blacks’ world record for the most tier one Test wins in a row and they have won back-to-back Six Nations!

5.59pm GMT

Relentless waves of attack, plugging away from close range for countless phases. Sinckler offloads and Care finally sees the gap, diving gleefully over the line. Farrel converts.

5.53pm GMT

79 min They’re going to take another scrum.

5.53pm GMT

78 min The scrum is a mess but Billy V goes on a charge off the back anyway. Farrell tries the cross-kick for Nowell but Weir secures it. Back we go though for the scrum penalty.

5.52pm GMT

Jonathan Joseph is man of the match for his hat-trick. Well yes, he would be.

5.51pm GMT

77 min Gray takes the throw and the maul forms, but England hold it up and earn the turnover scrum five metres from the Scotland line.

5.50pm GMT

76 min Nice hands send the ball left to Watson, who appears to be OK now, but Huw Jones is across to make a good tackle and take him into touch. Jones has played well today, compared to his team-mates at least.

5.48pm GMT

75 min Jonny Gray is replaced by Tim Swinson for Scotland as England hammer away at the Scottish defence after winning the lineout. They’re 10 metres away.

5.48pm GMT

74 min Penalty to England shortly after the restart, a metre inside Scotland’s half as Barclay enters a ruck at the side. Farrell to touch inside the 22, on the right. Watson is down.

5.46pm GMT

Twenty-four points now for Farrell.

5.46pm GMT

From the restart, Scotland are penalised for chasers being in front of the kicker. Farrell sticks it in the corner and George returns from the blood bin, Hartley going off again. Itoje takes, pops it down and Care loops round to dart over the line. That’s a lovely little step and finish.

5.44pm GMT

Russell curls it over from the touchline.

5.43pm GMT

Russell sends it right where Visser pops up and drives to within a couple of metres. Left they go and Gray is driven back by Sinckler, but Russell does brilliantly to come round and take the offload. Left it goes with another lovely pass and Jones steps inside to dot down. Scotland are one try away from the bonus point.

5.42pm GMT

69 min The ball gets stuck in a ruck; Scotland were going forward so they get the put in. Richie Gray asks for a penalty, for the tackler not rolling away, but is firmly told that he shouldn’t be holding said tackler in the ruck if he wants that.

5.41pm GMT

68 min Scotland plug away, 30 metres out.

5.40pm GMT

67 min Scotland lineout around 12 metres inside the England half. Visser comes off his wing after a couple of phases and shoots through a gap, into the 22, where he is turned over. Care clears to touch midway inside his own half.

5.39pm GMT

66 min Weir takes it at stand-off and switches play left. Scotland spring down the left through Visser and he tries to offload underhanded before being dragged into touch, only to pop it into the hands of George Ford. England make their last change as Tom Wood replaces his club-mate Courtney Lawes.

5.36pm GMT

64 min England are looking for gaps around the Scotland 10 metre line. There aren’t any at the moment and Billy Vunipola knocks on in the tackle.

5.35pm GMT

63 min We’re restarting with a scrum. It looks like that collision with Wilson means George has had to go off for an HIA so Hartley is back on in England’s front row.

5.34pm GMT

It’s another Scottish injury. Wilson makes a complete horlicks of his attempt to tackle George and takes a nasty bash to the head. He’s bleeding and won’t return – Cornell du Preez is on for his debut.

5.32pm GMT

62 min Not much is happening for the minute, so here’s Matt Dony with a tribute from Wales.

“England have been the best team in the northern hemisphere since the World Cup, and they deserve the Six Nations title. The consecutive victories record is amazing, but does flatter them. They have become the ultimate ‘More-than-the-sum-of-its-parts’ team. We were discussing the Lions last night. Admittedly, this discussion took place in a pub in Wales, so probably not the most neutral place, but there are so many positions where one of the other home nations has a better player than England. If you pick a settled side who are used to winning, it has to have a huge English contingent. But, if you pick the best specialist individuals (especially ones with Lions experience), there are surprisingly few English names that jump out. Also, how many of them would get into the 2003 side? Still, hats off to them. The best team will win the tournament. Again. There’s always next year.”

5.32pm GMT

61 min Tim Visser carries the ball for the first time in this match, then Russell kicks to Brown, who returns to touch down the left near halfway. Cole and Youngs are replaced by Sinckler and Care. Simon Berghan replaces Fagerson for Scotland as England nab the lineout and Watson kicks down the middle.

5.30pm GMT

60 min Scotland look to run it from the lineout on halfway. Russell sends a nice little pass out to Price on the wing. I should note that there are now two Vunipolas, Fords and Watsons on the pitch, and there were two Browns earlier.

5.29pm GMT

59 min The restart is a mess and the ball is bundled into touch, off an Englishman last.

5.28pm GMT

Farrell makes it England’s highest ever score in the Calcutta Cup as Teo’o and Mako Vunipola come on for Joseph and Marler.

5.27pm GMT

Itoje takes it, Vunipola and Launchbury come driving through and rumble over the line. Welcome back, Billy.

5.26pm GMT

56 min Itoje takes the throw from his club-mate George. The maul forms and rumbles towards the line but Scotland manage to hold it up and earn the scrum. John Barclay celebrates this minor victory, says something out of turn and England are given the penalty.

5.24pm GMT

55 min England get the penalty from the scrum, with Scotland’s front row in retreat. This time Farrell, who is presumably captain now, sticks it in the corner.

5.24pm GMT

Tommy Seymour has also failed his HIA. Duncan Weir will stay on.

5.23pm GMT

54 min England got a scrum from the restart. That was two minutes ago and we’re still resetting it.

5.21pm GMT

Russell nails a difficult conversion from out wide. England have made two changes: Hartley and Hughes off, George and Billy Vunipola on. Lucky Scotland.

5.20pm GMT

Scotland pick and go and make a tiny bit of ground with each phase. They’re within five… four… then Russell steps and dances towards the line from deeper before running into Launchbury. Left again and Jones squeezes and stretches to touch down in the corner. Will he be their Neymar?

5.18pm GMT

48 min Scotland get the penalty against the head at the scrum as England illegally wheel the scrum. Russell finds touch in the 22.

@DanLucas86 it’ll be a challenge to deny England their losing bonus point from here #optimism #calcuttacup

5.17pm GMT

47 min Russell’s restart drifts into touch on the full and England will have a scrum centre-field.

5.16pm GMT

Huh, Farrell takes the points from 40 metres. Not sure why they went for goal there.

5.15pm GMT

45 min As Seymour goes off for an HIA of his own, Russell finds the corner with a good kick down the left. England steal the lineout again though and within seconds the backs have streamed into the Scotland half. They get a penalty for Jonny Gray failing to roll away too.

5.13pm GMT

The TMO tells the referee not to show a card. That’s the correct decision.

5.12pm GMT

44 min Reid and Brown are off, Dell and Ford on. From the restart, Seymour is hit late and hard and he stays down. It wasn’t too bad a hit from Hughes but the referee says it’s going to be at least a yellow card. That’s a poor decision, it was below nipple height.

5.10pm GMT

Farrell chips it over from under the posts.

5.10pm GMT

Still England hammer away. Joseph is stood deep and runs in at pace to take Youngs’ pop pass and go over for his third!

5.08pm GMT

42 min Now Watson slips away down the left and England have it in the 22. They look to go right but are a bit narrow for my liking. Brown carries it up to within 10 metres.

5.08pm GMT

41 min Ford restarts and Visser takes it in his 22. Eventually Pyrgos clears and Brown just about taps it back on the England side. Lawes and Launchbury carry it up towards the 10 metre line then Hughes breaks and offloads to Youngs. He’s not quite through and looks for Nowell with the offload but Russell reads it well and intercepts.

5.06pm GMT

We’re back for the second half. Scotland probably won’t have wanted to do that.

5.03pm GMT

A treat for you: videos of England’s first two tries.

4.51pm GMT

Yeah I thought that was ambitious. It drifts left.

4.50pm GMT

Still 40 min Russell kicks long and Hughes carries it back up. They get a penalty on halfway as Barclay takes a nap on the ball and Farrell is going to have a crack from 52 metres. No Elliot Daly of course.

4.49pm GMT

40 min Hartley steals it on the ground, outmuscling Dunbar on the floor. Farrell kicks ahead to the corner but Price, who has switched with Pyrgos and gone to the wing, dots it down for the 22 drop-out.

4.48pm GMT

39 min Nothing much happens in the 39th minute.

4.47pm GMT

38 min Long clearance from Youngs and again he finds touch on the right three metres inside his own half. Richie Gray secures the lineout ball this time but then Dunbar is wrapped up by Joseph the other side of halfway.

4.46pm GMT

From wide on the right, Farrell is in the zone.

4.45pm GMT

Ford delays his pass from the lineout midway inside Scotland’s half, Farrell pops it to Joseph and he shreds the defence again. Into the 22, a slalom right and Watson runs a nice supporting line to dive over.

4.44pm GMT

35 min Now Barclay is having a whinge at the referee. If his side concentrated on defending rather than talking to the ref, this might not keep happening:

4.43pm GMT

34 min High from Russell but Brown takes it very well with Wilson bearing down on him. That’s a Paul Collingwood-level catch. Youngs goes high from that and Itoje secures it. England get a penalty to boot as Watson goes off his feet at the subsequent ruck.

4.42pm GMT

33 min Youngs clears and this time keeps it in field. Seymour collects on halfway and jinks back but – sigh – he’s no Stuart Hogg.

Jonathan Joseph against Scotland’s defence @bloodandmud @joshgardner pic.twitter.com/uxcAA0H5yK

4.41pm GMT

From 15 metres in and 35 out, Farrell swings it through.

“Blimey, thought this would be closer,” writes Peter Ward. Me too Peter.

4.39pm GMT

31 min From the restart Price clears to touch and Jonny Gray concedes a penalty for side entry at the ensuing maul. Farrell will go for goal.

“Dan, do kindly remind us of the largest points-difference drubbing Scotland have suffered at Twickenham, if you might. Would be good to know what England are aiming at.” Andrew Benton, I’d like to be allowed back into Scotland at some point.

4.38pm GMT

Easy.

4.38pm GMT

Quick ball off the top and Dunbar slips through Ford. The forwards drive towards the line and Reid just slips between Haskell and Youngs, stretches and scores!

4.36pm GMT

28 min Russell goes to the corner. I haven’t seen the high tackle by Lawes.

4.36pm GMT

27 min Jonny Gray secures the lineout and Scotland bash away towards the 22 in midfield. It’s extremely slow but it’s kind of effective. And hey, they get a penalty and an easy shot at goal from the 22. Fraser Brown is complaining about a high-tackle.

4.34pm GMT

26 min The editors say I have to do the rest of this match. From the restart, Youngs clears to touch midway inside his own half on the right.

4.34pm GMT

England have won the Six Nations. Bye.

4.33pm GMT

Ford to Farrell to Ford on the loop and back to Joseph. He runs a gorgeous line, switches direction to run another and Scotland can’t lay a hand on him from 22 metres.

4.33pm GMT

24 min Haskell forces the knock-on from Russell and England go left then right, whence Nowell kicks ahead. It sits up in play for Seymour, just a few metres from his own line, and the makeshift full-back has to clear to touch just outside his 22…

4.32pm GMT

23 min It was a neck-roll by Hartley, meaning penalty for Scotland. I didn’t see it even on the replay of the incident. Russell finds touch inside the England half and Scotland have a free-kick at the lineout as England close the gap, but the news is that Hogg has failed his HIA.

4.30pm GMT

22 min Haskell smothers Wilson but Scotland retain the ball and send it back to Russell, who kicks down the middle to Joseph. It doesn’t go the full Jonathan Davies though and Hughes knocks on. We’re having a look at something with the TMO though…

4.29pm GMT

Seymour has gone to full-back, Pyrgos to the wing. Scotland have a scrum five metres from their own line.

4.28pm GMT

21 min The scrums look very evenly matched. Ford kicks down the left to Bennett, who steps away from Watson but is then scragged in his 22 by Brown. The forwards get back and secure the ball but then Russell sends a terrible pass looping left and Joseph is so close to snatching it on the try-line. It slips from his fingertips though. To make things worse for Scotland, Bennett has picked up a leg injury and is going to be replaced by reserve scrum-half Henry Pyrgos. Hogg is still having his HIA.

4.25pm GMT

20 min England are going backwards thanks to some scrappy passing from the half-backs sending the ball bouncing in front of Joseph. Dunbar is up on him and exerts plenty of pressure but it’s a scrum England. They’re lucky that one went their way I reckon.

4.24pm GMT

19 min The first scrum of the day goes England’s way, with Fagerson slipping his bind by the looks of things. Scotland are deeply displeased with Dan Cole’s technique – quelle surprise. Farrell kicks to touch on halfway, which isn’t the best kick.

4.22pm GMT

18 min Left and Scotland are trying to get cute with their handling, but Launchbury takes down Russell and forces the knock-on. More bad news for Scotland – Hogg is off for an HIA. Mark Bennett comes on and there will be a reshuffle in the backs, I guess. Richie Gray is also down having some treatment to his ankle.

4.20pm GMT

17 min Left off the lineout and Farrell isn’t far from intercepting a whipped Russell pass. Hamish Watson makes a bit of ground with a good drive through the middle.

4.20pm GMT

16 min Ah this is sad: Daly has to go back off and is now permanently replaced by Anthony Watson. Ben Youngs clears from the restart and finds another good touch on his own 10 metre line down the left. He had no room to work with there but his exit kicks have been outstanding today. Fraser Brown is back.

4.18pm GMT

Farrell takes an easy three points from the 22 and Scotland need a rethink.

4.17pm GMT

14 min In fact Youngs got that all the way up to halfway and Lawes nabs the lineout. Left they go from that after Hughes secures a difficult ball and Joseph’s pace is giving Dunbar all kinds of problems right now. He makes more ground and Watson is penalised for killing the ball at the breakdown. Farrell should take an easy three points from the 22.

4.15pm GMT

13 min Knocked on by Jones and Youngs clears very well once again, finding touch on the far side of the field 45 metres away from his own line.

4.15pm GMT

12 min Russell is lurking in the pocket as Scotland continue to keep it in the tight. Twelve phases and it comes back but he doesn’t hit it cleanly and Youngs charges down a low kick. Hamish Watson recovers it for Scotland.

4.13pm GMT

11 min Scotland work it inside but England are defending well around the fringes for now. So wide they go and Russell looks to combine with Hogg but the latter loses his footing. It’s still with the Scots though.

4.13pm GMT

10 min Lovely kick from Russell, stabbed in behind Nowell and the wing slices his clearance into touch 10 metres out from his own line on the right. I did Hogg a disservice in the previous entry – it was he, rather than Barclay who stripped Lawes of the ball. No8 Ryan Wilson throws in Fraser Brown’s absence and finds Richie Gray at the front. Daly is back on.

4.11pm GMT

9 min Russell misses touch with his penalty but does well to keep the return in play. Hogg kicks long and high to Nowell, who sends it back to the full-back. Back to Ford and on to Brown, who takes it into contact inside his own half. Barclay then strips Lawes of the ball.

4.10pm GMT

8 min Watson takes and Watson kicks to Hogg, who gets his hands on the ball for the first time. That doesn’t last long as he’s taken down by a high tackle. Penalty only.

4.09pm GMT

From about 30 metres and 15 in from the left, Farrell sends it through. Can we get rid of those articles we wrote about slow starts now?

Neutrality’s Simon McMahon writes: “Afternoon Dan. 34 years of hurt at Twickenham. We can probably make that 36. But you never know. Although I think we do. Despair I can handle. Hope not so much. Heart says Scotland, everything else says England. Though if Laidlaw was fit… No harm in getting the excuses (or indeed the cocktails) in early, is there?”

4.08pm GMT

6 min No advantage so we go back from a penalty on the left for offside. Go for goal, says Dylan Hartley.

4.07pm GMT

5 min Hughes takes the long restart and Youngs goes high for Nowell to chase and the Exeter wing taps it back. England go left and Joseph and Brown carry it down the left and into Scotland territory. Back right and Nowell comes off his wing to scamper into the 22.

4.06pm GMT

From 18 metres in, Farrell knocks the conversion over showing no signs of a bad leg. Watson is on for Daly, who is having an HIA.

4.05pm GMT

That’s far too easy. England go left from the lineout and Dunbar badly misses Joseph. The centre is too quick for Hogg to get across and from 35 metres he scorches over on the left.

4.04pm GMT

Yellow card for Fraser Brown – that’s a badly mistimed tackle and a very hard one. He’s lucky it was the wing’s shoulders that hit the ground first. Farrell finds touch on the right, midway inside the Scotland half.

4.03pm GMT

2 min Taken and chipped ahead where Nowell takes just inside his own half. They go right and Daly is thumped as he releases Itoje to have a rumble down the right. Back inside but the referee stops the game because Daly has stayed down after that enormous hit from Fraser Brown. He’s lifted his legs above the horizontal you know and Brown could be in trouble here. We’re with the TMO…

4.01pm GMT

1 min We’re off, through Russell’s boot and Itoje’s take. Youngs clears from his 22, deep, and it’s into touch on the right five metres inside the Scotland half. That’s a great boot from the scrum-half.

3.58pm GMT

@DanLucas86 it’s a mixed up, weird world where Dallaglio is the short arse of the group! #scotlandrugby #AsOne #OurDay #6nations2017 pic.twitter.com/CURcRNoxGo

I once sat in the press seats at Franklin’s Gardens in a row with Dallaglio, Nick Kennedy, Martin Bayfield and Craig Doyle. Dallaglio and I are the same height, so Doyle was the only one who could fit comfortably in the seats. He’s a lovely man, incidentally.

3.56pm GMT

The players are out for the anthems. A thumping victory for Scotland.

3.46pm GMT

There is another match going on today: the Anglo-Welsh Cup final between Leicester and Saracens. Have a read on why no one cares.

Related: The Joy of Six: flawed sporting competitions

3.33pm GMT

A smooth plug this one, from Steve Pye.

@DanLucas86 1983: A new £1 coin; female PM; Man Utd in the League Cup final. And Scotland’s last win at Twickenham: https://t.co/3uS7b70ahX

Related: England need to make their familiar strengths pay against Scotland | Robert Kitson

Related: James Haskell: ‘It’s hard labour being a forward … we’re like removal men’

Related: Four victories since 1911 and 34 winless years: will Scotland end Twickenham hoodoo? | Bryn Palmer

3.11pm GMT

The big news for England is that Owen Farrell has been given the all clear and will take the No12 jersey, after he was unable to train on Friday because of an unspecified leg injury.

12.10pm GMT

Afternoon, once more, folks. Thanks to Wales, this one is simple. Forget the tier one record of 18 wins in a row. Forget the tantalising possibility of back-to-back grand slams. Forget the 34 years since your last win at Twickenham. Forget the meagre four wins here in more than 100 years. We thought we might have a shoot-out for the title next week in Dublin but – apologies to Italy – Christmas has come early. These two are effectively playing for the 2017 Six Nations title!

England are the favourites here to win the match and that would see them home and dry. The Calcutta Cup would take second place to the championship, which is mathematically theirs with any kind of win.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/mar/11/england-v-scotland-six-nations-live

Mar 11

Italy 18-40 France: Six Nations – as it happened

France secured a bonus-point win as Italy faded in the second half once again, confirming another wooden spoon for the Azzurri

3.25pm GMT

Well that wasn’t a bad way to spend an afternoon was it? France weren’t at their best but there were some gorgeous tries and lovely hands in there. They move above Wales and Scotland to third, while Italy remain pointless at the bottom after another rubbish second half. That’s all from me here, join me for England v Scotland over there:

Related: England v Scotland: Six Nations – live!

3.24pm GMT

Canna nails a tough kick from the right-hand touchline to end the match on a relatively happy note for the Italians.

Related: France put Italy in their place after Gaël Fickou gets them going

3.22pm GMT

Sperandio makes a nice break and canters into French territory. Might Italy actually get some second-half points here? McLean is up in support and soon the rest of the team join them in time to plug away. Biagi drives and sucks defenders into the middle, allowing them to go right through the hands and Esposito dives into the corner.

3.20pm GMT

79 min On telly, Ben Kay points out that Italy’s tackle rate is 51% today. That is atrocious. France have carried it up to the 22 and are sniffing a fifth … oh no Esposito has nabbed a loose pass.

3.19pm GMT

Lopez knocks it through and brings up the 40. France have the bonus point now too.

3.18pm GMT

Lovely offload out the back of the hand from Nakaitaci puts Gourdon away down the right. Esposito slips off the tackle and Dulin is in support to collect the pass and jog under the posts.

3.17pm GMT

76 min Huget looks to step and snipe down the left but Italy knock it on in the tackle. Baptiste Serin is named man of the match.

3.16pm GMT

75 min Italy plough up towards the 10 metre line. It’s turned over.

3.16pm GMT

74 min Italy get a lineout on halfway and lose that, but get the scrum when France’s maul is held up. Another debutant, Dupont, comes on for Serin.

3.14pm GMT

73 min Well that’s a nonsense, the TMO has awarded a lineout to Italy and from that they win a penalty for an offside against Gourdon. Le Roux is on for the magnificent Picamoles, Sperandio is on for his debut in place of Padovani.

3.13pm GMT

That’s wrong.

3.13pm GMT

Hold on, the TMO is having a look to check Picamoles’ offload. Esposito is hanging on to his boot and desperately trying to drag it into touch, but I reckon he’s got his arm under the boot and it’s OK.

3.11pm GMT

The ball goes loose when Italy run it and McLean spills it in the tackle. You sense that France just need to avoid doing anything fancy to score. They go right then left but the final pass goes behind Huget. Picamoles tip-toes –ha! – down the touchline and throws the most extraordinary offload back inside. It’s recycled and Ben Arous steps past Chistolini to go under the sticks for the fourth try.

3.09pm GMT

71 min Gourdon now takes it further, through midfield and almost to the 22. That’s a nice angle and good use of the legs. What follows is not so good as France try to pass it along the line too quickly and Dulin sends it to ground.

3.08pm GMT

70 min France change: Lamerat off, Trinh-Duc on. Picamoles comes off the back of the scrum and makes 10 metres or so out of his 22. Fickou then makes more ground up the right.

3.07pm GMT

England news: Owen Farrell is fit to start.

3.06pm GMT

69 min Now France can play under a little bit less pressure and look for the bonus point. They get a scrum at the restart when Benvenuti, I think, knocks on making a tackle.

3.05pm GMT

Through goes the conversion from wide on the left. Game over man, game over. Aw I miss Bill Paxton.

3.05pm GMT

The No8 picks it up, runs at Canna and it’s no contest.

3.04pm GMT

66 min Serin chips very nicely over the top and Esposito has to turn and gather the bouncing ball. He takes it back into his in-goal area and tries to clear but Huget charges it down. The ball bobbles out so it’s a five-metre scrum to France. Panico on for Lovotti.

3.02pm GMT

65 min It looks like Campagnaro hurt his shoulder making that tackle, so Italy lose one of their best players. Benvenutti replaces him. From the scrum, Bronzini boots it clear and Dulin runs it back, getting to the 22 under barely any pressure. Once he’s tackled, the ball is hacked into touch by an Italian boot.

3.01pm GMT

@DanLucas86 I said 26-10, 26-11 is close!
P.S. can the commentator stop saying “Dare not lose”?

Yeah they’re not going to lose. Good work, too.

3.00pm GMT

64 min Vakatawa off, Huget on. From the scrum Lamerat slices through the Italian defence, taking a neat angle and shrugging off Campagnaro to make 50 metres. The Exeter No13 gets back well though and makes the last-ditch tackle, forcing the knock-on in the process.

2.59pm GMT

63 min D’Apice replaces Ghiraldini for Italy. France go right from the lineout but Venditti wins a turnover from Dulin, who has blown hot and cold today. Left they go but – sigh – Parisse knocks on a pass that was perhaps six inches too far in front of him.

2.57pm GMT

62 min Into touch a metre inside France’s half and from the lineout Bronzini knocks it on. Italy have been so poor in the second half once again.

2.56pm GMT

61 min Padovani collects when Dulin underhits his grubber ahead. Italy are back in possession but 50 metres back down the field, so Canna goes high. It’s caught and marked comfortably by Dulin.

2.55pm GMT

60 min Italy get a free-kick from the five-metre scrum and Parisse then Campagnaro have a dart, but the latter knocks on and France look to run it.

2.54pm GMT

59 min An unfortunate Fickou-related typo has been pointed out to me and corrected. Refresh the page and don’t tell my bosses. Jedrasiak is on for France.

2.53pm GMT

58 min Left they go and Bronzini dummies after picking up, darts for the line. Picamoles and Dulin are hanging off him but the scrum-half thinks he’s got his first international try. After consultation with Nigel Owens, O’Keefe goes to the TMO and it turns out Dulin had done very well to get his arm under the ball.

“If Scotland win today, P T Anderson will be directing a film about this years Six Nations, called ‘There Will Be Cocktails’” writes Simon McMahon.

2.50pm GMT

57 min This is a mess from Italy. They win a penalty when Atonio knocks it on in the tackle and Fickou plays it from an offside position. McLean puts it in the corner as Biagi replaces Fuser in the Italian second row. He wins his first lineout, which is a good start.

2.49pm GMT

56 min From the lineout McLean has a look through midfield but is scragged. Recycled and Campagnaro runs at Fickou’s shoulder, making a half break but there’s not a lot of support.

2.48pm GMT

55 min In fact they look to run it. There is no way out of the 22 though, so Serin eventually takes matters into his own hands and puts boot to ball, finding touch on the right midway inside the France half. Tolofua comes on for cap’n Guirado.

2.47pm GMT

54 min Back into the corner from McLean but before we have the lineout Baille and Slimani are replaced by Ben Arous and

The Mountain From Game Of Thrones
Atonio. Parisse takes a messy lineout but it’s knocked on at the breakdown and France, with their fresh props, should make their exit from this scrum.

2.45pm GMT

53 min Penalty Italy, for collapsing a later maul.

2.45pm GMT

52 min Taken at the front but the maul is stopped and brought down, legally says Ben O’Keefe. Italy are going to try and bash their way over the line, which doesn’t feel like the wisest idea against this French back row, which is so adept at defending the fringes.

2.44pm GMT

51 min Italy go for the corner as Bronzini and Mbanda replace Gori and Favaro. They get another penalty, against Maestri I think, for playing the jumper in the air so back to the corner they go.

2.43pm GMT

50 min Italy win the ball back at the restart and get a penalty for stray hands in the ruck. There’s a bit of afters between Ghiraldini and Guirado too but nothing much in it.

2.41pm GMT

Easy as you like, but this could get nasty from Italy here. They are now 102-5 down in second halves in this Six Nations.

2.40pm GMT

You feel France could put the game to bed here. Maestri secures the ball in the middle of the lineout and they form the maul. From it they go inside and Lopez dummies, looking to go himself. He’s stopped but through comes the dummy runner, the hole opens up and Vakatawa walks under the sticks.

2.38pm GMT

Indeed they do go for the corner.

2.37pm GMT

47 min France bulldoze their way to within five metres but Parisse intercepts a loose pass and Canna can clear. Back come France though through Nakaitaci and Picamoles, into the 22 and Italy are pinged for offside on the 22. Time to stick one in the corner?

2.36pm GMT

46 min France secure the lineout and form the maul on the left, a few metres outside the 22.

Scotland’s Simon McMahon writes: “Afternoon Dan. I’m kinda hoping Italy can do something second half, as seeing a team in blue squeeze a narrow away win against a team in white twice in one day is asking a bit much don’t you think?” No cocktails if that happens Simon?

2.35pm GMT

45 min Vakatawa looks to have a run from the restart but is tackled just outside his 22. Fickou makes a break and soars into space before sending it left for Vakatawa to stream down the line. He looks certain to score but Padovani gets back and makes a brilliant tackle five metres out! He takes him into touch and Gori clears from the lineout. What a tackle from Padovani!

2.34pm GMT

From 30 metres, Lopez slots an easy kick and takes his side more than a score ahead.

2.33pm GMT

43 min There was a high tackle on Serin earlier in the move and we go back for a penalty to France. This should be three points.

2.32pm GMT

42 min Picking and going, France are into Italy’s half. Fickou slips a kick through into the 22 but Parisse sweeps up, they go right and Esposito kicks it away. That’s not great from the Italian wing and now Slimani comes through a gap and Maestri carries into the 22 once again.

2.31pm GMT

41 min Cittadini is off for Italy, Chistolini on in his stead. Padovani restarts and Lopez launches a huge return to touch, a couple of metres inside Italy’s half on the left. The lineout goes all wrong for Italy and Guirado gobbles it up at the back.

2.30pm GMT

“Slightly disappointed about the scheduling today,” writes Robin Hazlehurst. “I’m going to the pub for the second half of this as a Calcutta Cup warm up, but Italy’s habit of fading means that is likely to be the less interesting half. Couldn’t they have played the halves the other way round? Or the two matches. Biggest disappointment about this game is you can’t play Fantasy Lions selection during it. Parisse or Picamoles at 8 for the Lions…? Or still Billy V?”

Still Billy V. The other two make the squad though. And hey, the players are back out!

2.28pm GMT

A quick note: If France lose this they will drop below Argentina and out of the top eight of the world rankings. They would therefore need to beat Wales next week to avoid a nasty World Cup draw.

2.15pm GMT

From the penalty France have a lineout on their own 10 metre line. They shuffle it left along the line then Serin slips round the fringe of the ruck and bursts into space, earning his side 30 metres. It’s knocked on a few phases later though and that’s the end of an entertaining half.

2.14pm GMT

39 min Lovotti drives in on an angle and drags the scrum down. Either of those could be penalised and, indeed, is. Slimani is taking Italy to pieces at the scrum.

2.13pm GMT

38 min Another up-and-under from McLean this time and Dulin can’t claim it. It’s a scrum France though as Campagnaro knocks it forward.

2.12pm GMT

37 min Lineout 15 metres inside the French half and it’s taken by Fuser. This game, after a bright, breezy and enjoyable first half hour, has just stalled a bit.

2.11pm GMT

36 min An exchange of kicks from the restart and Italy come running back. Gori is getting busy – grow up – around the breakdown but there’s not a lot of imagination and their attack is very stilted. Canna puts the ball up high and Vakatawa takes under no pressure in his 22. He forgets to call the mark, but Lopez eventually boots it clear.

2.09pm GMT

Through it goes from wide on the right, a lovely strike from the Clermont man.

2.08pm GMT

34 min The scrum wheels, the ball gets stuck and France are awarded a penalty. Slimani has some ice spray stuff on his ankle which – unlike mine – probably isn’t broken.

2.08pm GMT

33 min Same scrum. Tweets!

@DanLucas86 I’d like Italy to beat France. However I think England will do it with a very tight margin

@DanLucas86 Just saying… https://t.co/tG22SzNTrq

2.05pm GMT

31 min Maul formed but France do nowt with it, it goes down and Italy are awarded the scrum as the ball becomes unplayable.

2.05pm GMT

30 min That was funny – Italy said the ruck hadn’t formed, O’Keefe said it had. Lopez puts a middling penalty into touch down the right, just inside the 22.

2.03pm GMT

29 min Lopez chips it short and someone in the dark shadowy bit of the pitch catches it. I believe it’s Nakaitaci but don’t take my word on that. Whoever it was, they’ve got a penalty as the whistle goes for offside against – again, it was in the dark bit I can’t see very well – Gori, I think.

2.01pm GMT

Like that.

2.01pm GMT

28 min Another penalty for not releasing the man on the ground – Gourdon, I think, the guilty party this time. This should go through, just to the left and 20 metres out.

2.00pm GMT

27 min Fuser takes the lineout in the middle and Italy form the driving maul from 30 metres. Gori snipes and gets into the 22, where he’s tackled and they reset.

1.59pm GMT

26 min Taken at the front and Gori goes high with the kick. Dulin takes but we’re going back for an Italian penalty on haflway, as Guirado was lifting Parisse’s leg in the maul. McLean kicks the penalty to touch down the Italy right.

1.58pm GMT

25 min According to Miles Harrison, Picamoles moved to Northampton because he doesn’t like the sun. He’s also on about £400,000 a year there, Harrison doesn’t add as Lopez clears to touch on halfway.

1.57pm GMT

24 min But Lopez’s kick is straight into the chest of McLean and he kicks ahead into space. Picamoles has to get back into his 22 and clear up the mess with Van Schalkwyk in pursuit. The Italian wins possession but Campagnaro, coming up in support, knocks it forwards.

1.55pm GMT

23 min Parisse pops it inside for Steyn but he’s stopped well. Italy send it left but knock on at the breakdown and Sanconnie makes some ground after taking a neat basketball style offload from Nakaitaci.

1.54pm GMT

22 min This time from the restart Serin clears to touch, finding it on his own 10 metre line on the right.

1.54pm GMT

Lopez chips over the conversion after a classic French try.

1.53pm GMT

Oh my word. From the restart with have a bit of kick tennis, before Dulin runs from right to left. Passes to Lamerat and he sends Vakatawa plundering through on a diagonal line. Picamoles makes more ground and Italy’s defence is scattered. They send it right to Fickou, who sells a dummy and runs through a gap from 30 metres.

1.51pm GMT

From wide on the left, Lopez bisects the posts.

1.50pm GMT

18 min Fickou catches the restart and sends Vakatawa thundering down the left, almost to the line! It’s recycled and Picamoles has a look from a couple of metres. Vakatawa thinks he’s scored but there was a knock-on as the ball was shuffled out to him, so we go back for a penalty for offside.

1.49pm GMT

Canna restores Italy’s five-point lead.

1.48pm GMT

16 min Penalty Italy as Maestri led with his shoulder in a tackle. This should be three points for Canna – it’s right in front of the posts.

1.47pm GMT

15 min Taken and Italy go off the back of the maul, into contact 10 metres out.

1.46pm GMT

14 min Italy secure the ball at the lineout on the right and Parisse comes off the back of the maul. Favoro makes a burst and takes them into the 22 but it’s turned over and France think about running it, but Maestri is caught near his own line. Eventually it’s back to Dulin, who clears to touch on the left.

1.45pm GMT

13 min Favaro gets up on Serin quickly but France do retain possession. Now Italy go with the ol’ tackle only, blocking Serin but the No9 eventually gets it back to Lopez, who clears to touch just outside the 22.

1.44pm GMT

12 min It’s a France scrum five metres from their own line. At some point they’ll complete that.

1.43pm GMT

10 min Padovani takes the restart and Serin thumps the ball back whence it came. Or almost – it’s out on the right, on the 10 metre line. Parisse takes the long throw and Italy try to form the maul. That’s a mess but Parisse drives up over the gainline. They have advantage again and Parisse offloads nicely to Van Schalkwyk and the lock busts into the 22! Right it goes and there’s an overlap, but Vakatawa forces Esposito to knock on.

1.41pm GMT

From 45 metres, Camille Lopez moves into pole position in this year’s leading points scorers list.

1.40pm GMT

8 min Penalty to France at the scrum as they make a right mess of the Italian pack. Ooh a few more tweets have come in.

@DanLucas86 I’m rooting for Italy. Not because they’re in with a modicum of chance – I’m a Scotsman vying for the underdogs!

This should be a great, open game @DanLucas86 with both teams under pressure. Parisse’s try is just needed too. Italy 18-23 France. Tight.

1.38pm GMT

6 min

Jon Snow
McLean misses touch with his penalty, which isn’t good. France have it on halfway and Nakaitaci makes a few metres with a powerful drive. Knock on at the breakdown by Slimani though.

1.37pm GMT

5 min Cleared by Canna from the restart and Vakatawa is the man to carry it back, down the left midway inside the Italian half. Italy are competing at the breakdown it seems and they earn a penalty when Baille goes off his feet inside the 22.

1.36pm GMT

4 min 14 metres in from the left, Canna misses a shot he should really have nailed.

1.35pm GMT

Italy have possession 10 metres out and form a maul, which is dragged down illegally. They have the advantage and after three phases Canna steps to drag the defence across. He offloads nicely out the tackle and only one man was going to be on the end of that!

1.34pm GMT

2 min It’s scrappy and comes back on the French side. Vakatawa comes into midfield and knocks on in the tackle though and Italy go wide left, then right and Steyn’s offload allows Esposito to make ground down the touchline. Into the 22 already and the crowd are liking this start.

1.33pm GMT

1 min New Zealand’s Ben O’Keefe, on his Six Nations debut, gives the signal and Lopez gets us under way in gorgeous Rome sunshine. It’s shallow-ish and taken outside the 22; Gori clears and Vakatawa is tackled into touch a metre inside his own half.

1.26pm GMT

@DanLucas86 It will be something along the lines of France 23-10 Italy as France struggle to an Italy who fade after Half Time

Sounds about right.

1.26pm GMT

Anthems time. Two of the finest around, I’m sure you’ll all agree. After this we have the rugby.

1.25pm GMT

First up, the great Rob Smyth is going dry for the year to raise money for Bloodwise (formerly Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research). You can support his efforts here.

1.18pm GMT



Bloody hell someone’s following this match
A tweet!

@DanLucas86 if have any chance of getting a win in this 6Ns it’s today. Any number of Les Bleus cud show up. A few tries for sure.

12.56pm GMT

A quick tribute to Padovani’s tattoo – the best in the Six Nations by a distance.

12.51pm GMT

One point of interest is Francois Trinh-Duc’s return to the France bench. I’ve liked Lopez so far but the Toulon man is Guy Noves’ stated favourite, so I imagine he’ll be on around the hour mark at the latest.

11.49am GMT

Afternoon, folks. Let’s look at the permutations. If France win here, and Scotland beat England later, and Italy beat Scotland next weekend, and England lose to Ireland in the finale, then they have a chance of winning the title. Italy need to get a draw to have any chance of not finishing bottom.

OK I won’t ask you to get excited. This is very much the appetiser before the Calcutta Cup-flavoured main course today. So I’ll keep this brief.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/mar/11/italy-v-france-six-nations-live

Mar 10

Wales 22-9 Ireland: Six Nations – as it happened

George North was in inspired form as Wales claimed a 22-9 win over Ireland, meaning England can win the Six Nations title by beating Scotland on Saturday

10.04pm GMT

A fully deserved win for Wales there. They won the battle at the breakdown, matched Ireland tackle for tackle and, despite Jonny Sexton’s best efforts, were sharper in the backs thanks especially to Webb, Biggar and North. Their chances of winning the title are slim – they would almost certainly need Italy to beat Scotland on the final weekend and a lot of other results to go their way – but they can sleep a whole lot easier over the World Cup draw now.

As for Ireland, they’re going to need some picking up after that. They will rue the number of times they went into the Welsh 22 and came away with nothing, conceding turnovers, penalties or knock-ons far too often for a side that wants to have a tilt at winning the next World Cup. They put bodies on the line and were battered and bruised in a tough old match and have the small matter of England next weekend.

9.59pm GMT

That’s it! Rob Howley has a very vindicated smile on his face as Sam Davies knocks on and Wayne Barnes blows his whistle. And just to rub salt in Irish wounds, Tommy Bowe – he must have been one of those who just came on – is taken off on a cart with what looks like an ankle injury. No comment.

9.53pm GMT

80 min Ireland make a load of changes. I can’t see who they all are but it really doesn’t matter now.

9.53pm GMT

Halfpenny chips it over from under the posts. Wales have won this – obviously.

9.52pm GMT

Sexton tries to chip it cutely over the top and Faletau charges him down! It sits up into the hands of Jamie Roberts, who crashes over from 10 metres!

9.51pm GMT

78 min Poor passing along the line and Ireland have been forced all the way back into their own 22. Still they refuse to put boot to ball. “Discipline!” is the shout and to be honest it could have been from anyone on either side. We’re through 12, 13 phases and still there’s nothing happening…

9.50pm GMT

77 min Tipuric takes the throw, 15 metres inside his own half, and Davies goes high. Earls takes it very well on his own 10 metre line and Ireland look to run it but Wales are up so quickly – Ireland’s backs are taking it standing still every time thanks to that line-speed.

9.49pm GMT

76 min Biggar boots it into touch on the left.

9.49pm GMT

75 min Solid scrum from Ireland, but it’s knocked on in midfield by Earls under a great hit from Roberts. And to make it worse, the ball is played by a man in front of the ball, so Wales have a penalty.

9.47pm GMT

74 min Ireland really need to score here, you feel.

9.47pm GMT

73 min Lovely cross-field chip from Sexton finds Zebo in the 22 and North makes the tackle. They recycle and Sexton goes high again, across to the other wing and Earls and Liam Williams take each other out jumping for the ball. It bobbles into touch for a five-metre lineout. Tipuric taps it down but Gareth Davies can’t gather it cleanly and O’Mahony scrags him, winning his side a five-metre scrum! Brilliant work from the replacement flanker. Is there a better replacement flanker in the world than that man?

9.45pm GMT

72 min Baldwin on for Owens. My fantasy rugby team is being gutted out there.

9.44pm GMT

71 min Sexton goes high but too deep and it’s easy for Halfpenny to take 12 metres inside his own half. The ball goes loose at the back of the ensuing ruck though and Ireland are all over the scrum-half Davies. Scrum Ireland as they win the turnover.

9.43pm GMT

70 min Ireland have been woefully inefficient when in the Welsh 22. Biggar kicks to touch midway inside his own half as Lee replaces Francis. From the lineout, Gareth Davies kicks to Zebo.

9.42pm GMT

69 min Taken at the front by Henderson and here comes the maul. Up to the line and over.. Wayne Barnes puts his arm up … but it’s for a penalty to Wales for obstruction! The maul separated then reformed with Henshaw coming in to block off the Welsh defenders, so that’s a great call.

9.40pm GMT

68 min The maul comes to nothing but Ireland reset and go through the phases once again. Nothing on so Sexton stabs the kick through and though Halfpenny gathers, Zebo drags him into touch right by his own goal line!

9.39pm GMT

67 min Scott Williams off, Jamie Roberts on. Nicky Smith, Gareth Davies and Faletau are all on too. Ireland win the lineout and Henshaw crashes it up on the 22, where they form a maul. I’m surprised Stander went off so early, by the way.

9.38pm GMT

66 min High from Kearney and his opposite number knocks it on. As Barnes calls advantage over Sexton kicks across and Biggar is struggling badly under intense pressure. Halfpenny can’t get it away so in come the forwards. Back to Biggar and his kick from deep is charged down and it slips through Earls’ fingertips as he jumps trying to catch the ball! It comes back to Wales and they clear to touch, but it doesn’t leave the 22.

9.36pm GMT

65 min Lovely kick through from Ringrose and Halfpenny has to turn and sweep up, which he does well inside his own 22. Slowly, calmly, Wales clear through Webb.

9.35pm GMT

64 min Tipuric takes the lineout and Webb goes high, for Biggar to chase and reclaim. Davies spins it long out to Halfpenny and the full-back makes good ground down the Welsh right. Back left but Healy, I think, wins an excellent turnover.

9.33pm GMT

63 min Another change for Ireland as Henderson replaces Devin Toner. Wales make a similar change, replacing Ball with Charteris. Back on the pitch, AWJ steals another lineout but then L Williams boots it straight to Kearney. Recycled and Sexton sprays it beautifully to Earls. He scoots down the right but then knocks on. Stander off, O’Mahony on.

9.32pm GMT

62 min High from Sexton and Halfpenny can’t gather, but Warburton dives on the loose ball and secures it inside his own 22. Top work there from the former captain, who has been outstanding in defence, against the marauding Stander especially, tonight.

9.30pm GMT

61 min Webb goes high and the ball bounces to Henshaw. Ireland go right and Tipuric stops Ringrose, so back left they go and Zebo gains 20 metres with a run down the left touchline.

9.30pm GMT

60 min McGrath goes off, Cian Healy on. Oof that’s some sub to bring on. Sexton goes shallow with his restart and Tipuric gathers it before breaking past the first tackle. He goes to ground in the tackle and then plays the ball when it comes back his way, and gives away a stupid penalty though. Sexton clears to touch but AWJ steals the lineout on halfway.

9.28pm GMT

59 min What a pass from the loosehead Evans, from midfield wide and allowing Liam Williams to shoot down into the 22! Wales go through the phases now, under the posts and with Biggar in the pocket … and he hits the outside of the post with his effort from 30 metres. Should have got that one.

9.27pm GMT

58 min Kicked to Zebo and North smothers him immediately. Wouldn’t it have been good if he’d played like this while Wales could still win the title, Wales fans? Under pressure, Earls kicks it straight down the throat of Biggar and here come Wales again!

9.25pm GMT

From 13 metres, dead in front, Sexton makes it a one-score game.

“George North has decided he’d quite like to go to New Zealand again after all,” wrote Matt Dony, even before Halfpenny had converted his second try.

9.24pm GMT

56 min Taken by Toner but there’s no maul this time. Ringrose is tackled high by Biggar and that’s a very harsh penalty as the Wales No10 immediately pulled out of the attempted tackle when he realised how high on Ringrose he was going. Sexton should knock this over.

9.23pm GMT

55 min 25 phases but then a poor pass from Sexton sees them lose ground. It’s turned over but illegally, with hands in the ruck, and Ireland get the penalty for that. Sexton sticks it in the right-hand corner.

9.22pm GMT

54 min Back come Ireland, hammering away and Best nearly knocks on five metres out from the posts. He holds on after juggling though and Ireland keep the pressure on, O’Brien to the fore at every phase it seems.

9.22pm GMT

53 min Back right now and Ireland are up to the five metre line. Sexton has made such a difference with his passing since his return from the bin. He loops and gets it to Kearney but North stops him in his tracks.

9.21pm GMT

52 min Now Ireland find a bit of space thanks to Ringrose’s footwork and Ryan carries into the 22!

9.20pm GMT

51 min Great clearing kick from Sexton, into touch a metre inside his own half on the left. Ball gave 20 metres away needlessly there. Wide go Ireland from the lineout and Earls takes it into Welsh territory down the right.

9.19pm GMT

50 min Moriarty goes for a drive down the right but is tackled into touch well by Marmion. Sexton returns and oh how Ireland need his hand on the tiller. Ireland lineout, 10 or so from their own line, on their left. Heaslip takes it and eventually Ireland get a penalty for Ball collapsing the maul.

9.17pm GMT

49 min Drop goal coming? Not for the moment as Ball carries it on, then Owens and he’s driven back by Stander. They’re too wide for the drop now … but back inside it comes. Williams, S, steps past Ringrose and they go right now.

9.16pm GMT

48 min Wales lineout on the 22 and Webb darts towards a gap, which shuts quickly. Owens takes it on, then AWJ, then Warburton. Right now and Davies is stopped taking a short pass. Ireland have done well to slow it down here.

9.15pm GMT

47 min The ball goes loose on halfway and Webb stabs a kick towards the left-hand corner for Liam Williams to chase. Henshaw is back and gathers on his own line, but Zebo can’t make much distance with his clearance. Ireland are rattled right now, although Sexton is about to return.

9.14pm GMT

46 min It gets worse for Ireland: Murray sadly slumps off, his head bowed, to be replaced by Marmion.

9.13pm GMT

From wide on the right, Halfpenny nudges Wales further in front. I should mention that was awful defence from Ireland on the short side.

9.12pm GMT

Jones takes at the front and the maul forms. It crabs infield and Webb pops it right for North to slide over! He’s back!

9.11pm GMT

43 min It goes loose and Webb and North hack ahead. Webb then chips ahead and Murray picks it up in his own bottom left hand corner, where Halfpenny gets up and drags him into touch! Great chance now for Wales.

9.09pm GMT

42 min Earls and Stander slowly make a few metres down the left then Ireland send it back inside. Stander has, alongside Kearney, been Ireland’s most impressive player so far but he’s driven back now by AWJ, so Ireland go right and Henshaw carries up to almost the 22.

9.08pm GMT

41 min North takes Zebo’s restart. After a couple of phases it’s cleared and Toner is driven back by Tipuric just the Welsh side of the Welsh 10 metre line.

“Now watching game but I’d say having come in at end hard to see how sexton could get out of way seems harsh to me and I don’t care who wins tonight my game is tomorrow,” writes JDT mobile.

9.07pm GMT

The players are back.

8.52pm GMT

And it’s knocked on. I’m going to get a cup of tea and nip for a comfort break, and hopefully make it back before the second half.

8.52pm GMT

40 min Wales clear through Webb, Ireland run it back and McGrath makes excellent ground with a pick and go from the 10 metre line. Not much ground but he did very well to do it. Left now and Earls slips away from Webb to get to within 10 metres of the 22. Now we go through the phases as the clock ticks over into the red.

8.51pm GMT

39 min Actually Sexton wasn’t really able to roll away from the ruck at all, so a penalty try was out of the question I suppose. As he’s off the pitch, Zebo restarts.

8.50pm GMT

Wayne Barnes says Wales can pick which penalty they want: the one in front of the posts or the one wide on the left. You can guess what they went for.

8.49pm GMT

38 min With a penalty advantage Biggar stabs a cross-kick left and Liam Williams takes it! Inside to Halfpenny, then Jonathan Davies, who gets to within a metre! Sexton kills the ball and is sent to the bin. Not sure why that’s not a penalty try to be honest.

8.48pm GMT

37 min Wales go left and Williams, L, goes scuttling past Earls and into the 22. Shovelled right now and Webb pops it short to Tipuric but it’s well read by Ireland’s defence.

8.47pm GMT

36 min It doesn’t look like Murray is going to last much longer … he’s ok for now, though he looks uncomfortable. Look, Conor, if some of us can come into work on a broken, untreated ankle…

8.46pm GMT

35 min Ah there we go, the scrum is completed. Henshaw drives it out of the 22, Stander is driven back then Sexton goes high down the middle and Kearney takes it well. That didn’t make a lot of ground, then a few phases later Furlong drops a pass.

“Did I see Murray get stamped on when he was on the ground there, or is it my green goggles?” asks Conor Murphy. I didn’t see anything and no one has said anything on the telly.

8.44pm GMT

34 min

8.43pm GMT

33 min Wales have stalled a bit now. Tipuric grinds into the 22 but then Webb’s pop pass inside for Liam Williams is forward. The Wales scrum half once again looks distraught at the correct application of the laws.

8.42pm GMT

32 min Good scrum and North makes it over the gainline in midfield before Moriarty does likewise. North has been very sharp so far. Wales keep battering away, through the phases and Biggar takes it up to the 22.

8.41pm GMT

Murray is fine to continue. Which is good news for Ireland/Munster/the Lions/my fantasy rugby team.

8.39pm GMT

31 min Conor Murray is hurting, think it’s his hand or wrist. Meanwhile Biggar goes high and Earls knocks it on just outside his own 22.

8.37pm GMT

30 min Wales scrum a couple of metres inside the Irish half. They go right from it and barrel up to the 10 metre line but it’s slow ball.

8.37pm GMT

29 min Yet again Biggar’s pass is intercepted but Sexton is immediately turned over. Wales go left and Scott Williams sends out a long looping pass … which Earls intercepts. The centre, stretching, knocks it on though.

8.36pm GMT

28 min Again it’s kicked to Zebo. Again Murray box kicks clear to touch on the left. I’m not going to bother reporting on these Welsh restarts any more – just assume that happened.

8.35pm GMT

From just to the left, inside the 22, Jackson makes it 14 successful kicks in a row for him. And then goes off for Sexton to return.

8.34pm GMT

26 min That’s a great bit of defence from Wales at the maul but then Stander sends Tipuric staggering backwards. Tipuric doesn’t release his man and that’s a penalty, from which Jackson will restore Ireland’s lead.

8.33pm GMT

25 min Stander, Toner, Best, Heaslip. All go but the latter two are driven back and we go back to a penalty to Ireland for collapsing the original maul. Jackson nudges it into the corner again.

8.32pm GMT

24 min Jackson finds a good touch with the penalty, on the left and around 10 metres from the Welsh line. This time Toner takes it and here comes the big Irish driving maul. Stander has it at the back as they get to within two.

8.31pm GMT

23 min Taken in by Ryan on his own 10 metre line and Ireland try to drive it this time. Murray goes high when that doesn’t go anywhere and Wales are penalised for crossing in front of the chasers.

8.30pm GMT

22 min Kearney takes the restart but Jackson knocks on a few phases later and Wales can clear. Kearney then regathers his own high ball and kicks on again but Biggar sends a wonderful clearance to touch on the right well inside the Irish half.

8.29pm GMT

21 min Halfpenny shanks the conversion from out wide. “Now, that was a substantially better try than I was expecting from this game,” says Matt Dony.

8.28pm GMT

What a move! Williams makes a half break in midfield and offloads out the tackle to Webb in support. He bursts through midfield and does brilliantly to spot Halfpenny wide on the right. He finds him with a long pass, Halfpenny on to North and the Northampton man shows great strength to finish in the corner!

8.27pm GMT

Not even that, says Barnes. We’re going to continue, with a Welsh lineout a metre or two inside the Wales half.

8.26pm GMT

We’re going to the TMO, presumably for Barnes to have a look at the Davies/Sexton incident. Just a penalty I reckon.

8.25pm GMT

19 min That’s because Jonathan Davies came charging in as Sexton went down to collect the ball, and kneed him in the head. Didn’t look intentional, but Sexton is off for an HIA. Paddy Jackson is on.

8.24pm GMT

18 min It’s on the Welsh 10 metre line, I should add. A good scrum for Wales and the two centres get it out to Williams, who chips it back inside for the supporting runners to chase into the 22. It’s recovered by Sexton on the floor and Murray clears, but the No10 has stayed down.

8.23pm GMT

17 min The linespeed of the two defences is something to behold. Ireland batter away, Wales get up on them so, so quickly and Sexton eventually kicks poorly, his milquetoast garryowen bouncing over the dead ball line and ceding a scrum.

8.22pm GMT

16 min This is getting a bit breathless. The 5m lineout goes wrong though and Moriarty comes away with it. Biggar clears but poorly and it bounces in no-man’s land.

8.21pm GMT

15 min Biggar knocks on a high ball and Stander comes down the left, shrugging off the challenge of North and making great ground! Recycled and there are hands in the ruck. Sexton pops it in the bottom left-hand corner.

8.20pm GMT

13 min Sexton’s penalty finds touch 11 metres inside his own half, on the left. They go right and Zebo’s looping pass under pressure means Earls has to kick it away. Jonathan Davies and Tipuric take it over halfway but then when they come right Zebo intercepts and skips away from Evans! He kicks ahead from the 22 and Biggar does very well, sliding, to watch it over the try line before safely dotting it down.

8.18pm GMT

12 min Wales are 10 metres out, in front of the posts. They go left from there and Biggar pops it short to Liam Williams, then it comes back inside and Best drives his opposite number Ken Owens back. Still they come, but then it’s dropped and subsequently played from an offside position.

8.17pm GMT

11 min Lovely grubber wide from Biggar and Liam Williams takes it up almost to the 22. Wales recycle and go right but these are some enormous collisions. North carries into the 22 then Ball drives it on. Rob Evans looks to have made a double movement but Barnes lets it go.

8.16pm GMT

10 min From the lineout, Wales get the driving maul going and then go right. Jonathan Davies throws the first pass of his life and North goes charging up but he’s well downed by Zebo. Wales recycle though, inside the Irish half.

8.15pm GMT

9 min Strangely Ireland don’t challenge at the lineout. Tipuric wins and Stander is miles offside at the ruck. What have you done, Italy? Biggar kicks to touch down the left, 10 metres inside his own half.

8.14pm GMT

8 min Again Zebo takes the restart with Ireland ready to lift Henshaw and Ringrose. North wraps him up, Murray clears to Halfpenny and the full-back runs it up to the 10 metre line. But then Biggar’s pass is intercepted by Sexton and Henshaw spins it wide fast! Earls stabs a kick ahead and into the corner to put Owens under pressure.

8.12pm GMT

In fact it’s more like 48 metres with the angle. Or rather it is 48 metres with the angle. In any case, Sexton nudges it through with no difficulty at all.

8.11pm GMT

5 min Zebo comes in off his wing from the lineout but is stopped in midfield. Sexton sends it looping left to Stander, who knocks on but the tackle from Webb was high. Sexton will have a crack from 40 metres, just to the left.

8.10pm GMT

4 min Clean ball and both Irish centres bash it up over the gainline. They recycle right and Kearney looks to step his way through but there’s no room for him. Eventually Sexton puts up the first bomb of the night and North knocks it backwards, but Webb sweeps up this time six metres out from his own line. Eventually they make their exit through Biggar, who clears to touch on the right.

8.08pm GMT

Sean O’Brien shouting ‘tackle only, tackle only.’ Such a hipster.

8.08pm GMT

2 min Left it goes to Zebo and he chips it over North. Tipuric attempts to sweep up but can’t and eventually it’s the big wing who has to go back and clean up the messy ball. Webb clears and Earls brings it back. Wales go for the turnover but knock it on on the floor, about 12 metres inside their own half.

8.07pm GMT

1 min Wayne Barnes – sigh – gives the signal and Dan Biggar kicks off, going long into the 22 where Zebo collects. Murray box-kicks to touch down the Irish left, 11 metres inside his own half. Tipuric, winning his 50th cap, wins it and there’s nearly an interception by Henshaw, but Wales keep it … for a couple of phases, before Jones turns it over on the 10 metre line.

8.01pm GMT

The players are out. Before the anthems, we have a minute’s applause, set to piano music, as a tribute to Elli Norkett, who sadly died in a car crash last month.

7.56pm GMT

“Heart says Wales, head says Ireland by eight,” writes Matt Dony. “Howley-ball still not convincing. Not the most fun winter I’ve ever had, and at the moment, not hugely excited about Welsh Lions prospects. Ah well, heading out for a cheeky half of shandy, so not all bad.”

@DanLucas86 Very hard game to call. Both teams under pressure. Both teams can be accused of a one-dimensional attack. But I can’t wait!

7.43pm GMT

Time for the musical battle

7.14pm GMT

The only injury worry tonight is right here at Guardian Towers, where your MBMer got a phone call on the way in to say that the x-ray he had three days ago showed his ankle is broken – and has been since last Saturday – after all. But anyway, predictions!

@DanLucas86 huge battle of the back rows awaits that’ll be the key area all top class & on form. An Ire win even if Sexton only lasts 65mins

10.27am GMT

Evening, folks. Did you have a nice time off? Good. Now settle down because this one is, as the kids say, an absolute doozy.

Both sides are desperate for a win here, for different reasons. Wales, if they lose, are in danger of slipping out of the top eight in the World Rugby rankings and the likelihood therefore is a pool of death in the World Cup draw later this spring. Admittedly that happened at the last World Cup and we all know what happened then, but it’s not exactly a situation they would be happy with.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/mar/10/wales-v-ireland-six-nations-live

Feb 12

France 22-16 Scotland: Six Nations – as it happened

Two late Camille Lopez penalties edged France past Scotland in a tense, bruising encounter that left the Scots with a number of injuries in Paris

Related: France’s Camille Lopez keeps cool as Scotland battle but fall short

In the end those missed kicks didn’t cost Scotland then. The loss of Laidlaw, Barclay, Hardie and Brown might well have done though; as we suspected might happen they played well but France pummelled them relentlessly. Stuart Hogg looks like he’s been through a meat tenderiser and he was the full-back.

France will be pleased to have got the win. They were unlucky with the refereeing decisions, especially against Remi Lamerat when he had the try disallowed. But though they made a few mistakes the game plan worked, with Scotland knocked back and neat offloads putting the ball carriers Picamoles and Gourdon through the ensuing gaps in the line.

A sensible, uncharacteristically low-key finish to the game as France keep it in the forwards for the final minute. Back to Lopez, to the stands and for all their effort and endeavour, Scotland have, eventually, been bullied into submission here.

79 min Lost by Jones after he looked to have slipped away but then Nakaitaci kicks ahead and Hogg is going to have another go. He steps and heads wide right, slipping through a couple of tackles but then stripped and, with a minute to go it’s in French hands inside their own half.

78 min Le Devedec takes the restart and Lopez clears to touch. Hogg takes it quickly to Weir and he slings it left to Maitland before Price makes some ground, up over the 10 metre line with a half-break. They need something bigger than that as they’re not within striking distance of the try-line right now.

From 15 metres in from the right, he curls it over for a six-point lead and Scotland don’t look like getting out of this one.

75 min Russell is off, Weir on and France have the ball from the lineout inside the 22. Down goes the maul but the debutant Berghan dragged it down illegally. Picamoles, captain of France now, tells Lopez to knock through the three.

74 min This time France’s scrum superiority does draw the penalty, with the entire Scotland front row standing up. Into touch on the right.

73 min Cute kick from Lopez bobbles to Hogg and he counters. Left and Russell finds a gap to get up over the 10-metre line. Ford knocks on though.

Incidentally if you’re looking for the latest score it’s at the top of the “key events” list, wherever that is on your screen.

Cool as. Lopez puts France in front with eight minutes to go.

71 min French tacklers swarm Dunbar in midfield and wrap him up. Machenaud gets over the ball and wins a penalty around 37 metres out! This time Lopez will have a shot from just left.

70 min Swinson takes the throw from a wonky lineout that Peyper lets go. France will not be happy with this performance from the referee.

69 min France smash the scrum to smithereens but Chiocci drives at an angle and it’s a penalty to Scotland! Russell clears 45 metres up the pitch, to touch on the left.

Well. He had lost control but his fingers were definitely still on the ball as it touched the ground. I’d have given it but the TMO says knock-on. I’m not sure who’s doing our talking points for this match but they’ve got a lot to choose from.

68 min Right and Lamerat goes on the crash ball. He dives for the line and looks to have spilled it. We’re going to the TMO.

67 min Ross Ford comes on for Brown as La Marseillaise rings out loudly, the crowd approving mightily of their side’s decision to go for the scrum.

66 min Scotland challenge but don’t win the lineout and here come the French ball-carriers. Two phases and they’re up to within a metr with another penalty coming. Richie Gray secures a magnificent turnover but we go back for the penalty. There’s another injury, to Brown this time.

65 min What the … France do a Robshaw and decline the points, kicking to the corner.

64 min Won at the front and France’s power is really showing now: they maul Scotland back 20-plus metres in seconds. “Three and 17” committed the offences according to Peyper, which is strange as I’m certain Fagerson is off.

63 min Penalty to France, Reid dropping his knee. Spedding finds touch down the left midway inside the Scotland half.

“Have you mentioned the jazz band?” asks Rosaleen Delaney. “Just joined your commentary & wondered who they were? Very tuneful.” I have not, because I don’t know, but they’re quite pleasant.

62 min Swinson takes the throw a few metres outside the 22 and Scotland form the maul, but France absolutely monster it. Held up, driven back, splintered and that’s a turnover and French scrum. Take your pick for reasons, because there are several.

61 min Strauss slips away from Machenaud and gets up to halfway, where the French defensive line comes up too far and is pinged for offside. It’s fairly wide to the right, so Hogg declines to have another go at goal and smacks it into touch down the right. Dunbar returns.

60 min Free kick to Scotland and Strauss carries into Goujon, who looks to have bashed his head on the No8’s hip. Chouly comes on again while the blindside flanker heads off for another HIA.

59 min Turned over now and Guirado immediately goes looking to get over the gainline. A few metres gained, over the 10 metre line and they swing it left but then Picamoles makes a rare mistake, messing up his pass to Fickou and sending it low and forwards to the centre’s feet. Scrum Scotland, which will be the first bit of action for Berghan, Chiocci, Le Devedec and Tolofua, all of whom are on.

58 min Russell finds touch on halfway, on the Scottish left and they go probing after Swinson takes the lineout. Russell is drifting and attacking the line but France are in no mood to leave any gaps and a few phases later Strauss is lumberjacked by Goujon, who has been excellent today.

57 min Dunbar off for an HIA, Bennett on.

56 min Lopez restarts long to Russell, to sends it left to Strauss charging on to the ball from deep. They recycle but the ball is lost in midfield and Machenaud chips ahead into the 22. He gets up to tackle the covering Maitland but uses his hands in the ruck and concedes a penalty. Alex Dunbar looks to have taken a bump.

55 min From 55 metres on the stroke of 55 minutes, Hogg hooks it left. Machenaud is on for Serin.

54 min Picamoles carries from the back of the scrum again but is isolated and holds on in the tackle. He’s inside the Scotland half but Hogg is going to have a go from here.

Ray Butler emails: “Dear Mr. Peyper,

53 min Now Hogg chips ahead from halfway, using the outside of the boot from wide on the left and Maitland gathers it. Inside and Russell kicks towards the corner, but the ball goes touch in goal and we’re going back for a French scrum five metres inside their own half. Vakatawa is replaced by Huget.

52 min Spedding fields Russell’s clearance and beats the first tackler Strauss, getting France on to the front foot in Scottish territory. Right and Lamerat offloads standing tall in a tackle but only to Swinson.

51 min The restart goes long from Russell and France make ground running it back through Nakaitaci, Spedding and Picamoles. Left they go, surging into the 22 but Maestri spills the popped inside pass on said 22.

50 min From smack bang in the centre of the pitch, 50 metres on the dot, it’s going to be Scott Spedding to have a go. Much like Elliot Daly yesterday, he has the distance but shanks it well wide.

“Did Russell think it was going to be called back for a forward pass so took it quickly so it couldn’t be reviewed?” asks Richard Reynolds. I don’t think so, I think Peyper was giving him the hurry up.

48 min Mistake again from Russell though and he kicks out on the full. There have been some changes: both Slimani is on for France, Gordon Reid for Scotland. France take the scrum on halfway, demolish the Scottish scrum and get a penalty.

That’s an easy one. Then again, so was Russell’s conversion. Still, no mistake from Lopez.

46 min I’m struggling to keep up now! From the restart Guirado gets it back in his hands and offloads inside to Gourdon and the flanker breaks into the 22. He’s taken down by Hogg and they recycle, left to Vakatawa and the wing is brought down. Back we go for a penalty to France, just to the left.

45 min Oh that’s terrible. Russell, right in front of the posts, scuffs it under the bar!

Oh my word! Russell slips a brilliant pass out the back of the hand and Seymour chips ahead. The bounce is awful for Spedding and Seymour gathers, turns and offloads to Swinson and the new man swans under the posts!

43 min Penalty to Scotland at the breakdown after the lineout, Lamerat holding on, and Price goes quickly, getting his team into the French half and across the left but Russell’s grubber is charged down. But…

42 min France get the penalty, Fagerson pinged for slipping his bind. Lopez launches a big clearance into touch eight metres inside the Scottish half. Good lord that was enormous.

41 min As we resume, news has come through that Hardie is on permanently for Barclay, which is another blow for Scotland. Oh and straight away the new man has himself with a massive hit on Goujon that results in a nasty collision of heads. Off they both go, the Frenchman I think for an HIA but Hardie will not return. Swinson, who is a capable back row himself, comes on and we resume with a France scrum in the middle of their 22. Chouly is on for France by the looks of things.

Simon McMahon writes: “It can be as strange as it likes, Dan, but if Scotland don’t win then I’m going to be doing a serious Begbie impression in Edinburgh tonight.”

In Trainspotting 2, Begbie looks like Bennett, the villain in Commado.

That was an interesting one. Scotland were smashed backwards at every tackle it seemed, lost their captain and kicker, temporarily at least lost their stand-in captain and France looked dangerous every time they ran at the men in blue. And yet Watson, Strauss and Barclay have been canny enough to win penalties at the breakdown even if they are getting turned over a fair bit. Somehow, too, after losing Laidlaw and Barclay, Scotland have managed to chip away at the French lead. It’s a strange one but fascinating.

Knocked on, that’s half-time.

40 min The replays suggest that in no way was Russell jumping for the ball against Nakaitaci, at least not with any realistic hope. From the restart Price goes high and it’s allowed to bounce before Vahaamahina gathers and crashes forward before Goujon does likewise, into the 22. One last play for France here.

Through it goes, landing perfectly on the camera behind the goal.

37 min Jonny Gray, who appears to be the new captain, takes it in and Price goes high. Nakaitaci goes up for it and Russell takes him out and that’s going to be checked in play by the TMO – he says it’s a fair contest. The result is the ball coming back on the Scotland side and a penalty to the visitors at the ruck, 42 metres out and near enough in front.

Never was that a fair contest.

36 min Stand-in captain John Barclay is off now for an HIA, with John Hardie in the back row. No idea who captain No3 is but my guess is a Gray. From the restart, France fumble it into touch on the 10 metre line.

Yes, this is sensible. Russell is going for the sticks, back on the 22 and 16 metres in from the right. He nails his first kick as Laidlaw, on crutches now, looks on. That’s not a good sign.

34 min Russell shows and goes but is stopped just short. Price fires it left and it’s intercepted at close-range by Picamoles, but we go back for Serin failing to roll away from the ruck.

33 min Russell kicks deep and Barclay takes it in the French 22 from the restart! Watson shows great strength to drive up to within four metres and Scotland can strike straight back here. They have a penalty coming too.

From the touchline, Lopez makes up for his previous missed penalty with an outstanding kick.

With a penalty coming Vakatawa then Lopez look for gaps. Still they’re felled but Scotland’s defence is out on its feet. Right again and Fickou is on the wing to slip between Dunbar and Hogg to stretch and score in the corner.

30 min Vahaamahina and Atonio carry it on before the enormous prop offloads brilliantly to Gourdon. Out wide to Vakatawa then Spedding, 10 metres short but somehow Scotland’s scrambled defence makes the necessary tackles.

29 min But there’s yet another turnover, Picamoles at the heart of things again, and France spread it wide before making ground down the right. Scotland’s backs recover but a few phases later Fickou proves so slippery, getting out of one tackle and making ground into the 22 down the right.

28 min Cleared to touch by Russell and at the lineout on the 10 metre line, Gourdon drops it. Russell clears cross-field to Spedding, who makes a big old mess of his own garryowen and Richie Gray catches it on halfway.

27 min In fact it was Lopez that Price shoved and the French No10 hits the post with a simple kick. That’s a freebie for Scotland.

It’s a penalty to France now. Price shoved Lopez for trying to take the ball away after the penalty was awarded.

26 min Now France’s turn to go through the phases on halfway. Picamoles carries down the left and offloads out the tackle to give Vakatawa a chance to go through. Eventually the move breaks down near the 22 and Scotland get a penalty for holding on, but Price retaliates, lashing out at his opposite number and this could be reversed. Let’s find out.

25 min Laidlaw’s day is done, having done his ankle. Ali Price, the snappy Glasgow No9, is no bad replacement to have. Back with the action, Scotland have it on halfway from the lineout. Russell goes high but slices it and Spedding wins it back for the French.

24 min With Laidlaw struggling, Picamoles busts through the space he’s left and gets into the 22. He’s tackled brilliantly by Brown though and the hooker wins the turnover penalty!

23 min Up pops Fraser Brown and France run it with the advantage. Lamerat is felled by a high tackle but it came after a forward pass, so we go back for the scrum penalty. Lopez, tight to the touchline, finds touch midway inside the Scotland half.

22 min Vakatawa claims in his 22 and Serin pops to put Gourdon through a gap. Here comes another French surge but their momentum is stalled when Fickou’s no-look pass goes behind Lamerat. Picamoles regathers but in the ensuing attempts to play some rugby the ball goes loose thrice – the third time off Dunbar’s hand so Peyper mercifully calls a halt to things, giving France a scrum near halfway.

This is pretty easy by modern standards: a few metres to the left but only 35 out. Through it goes and Scotland’s excitement is quelled.

19 min Another shallow restart and this time France claim it back. Gourdon, so impressive against England looks to take it on; he’s stopped but Lamerat offloads beautifully to allow Spedding the half break. Across to the right and Picamoles barrels into the 22. Eventually the ball goes loose, but we’re going back for a penalty against Watson for obstruction on Serin.

18 min From the right-hand touchline, 45 metres on the angle, Laidlaw’s conversion comes back off the bar!

As much as the Scots want quick ball, so France want to slow them down and it’s the home side proving effective here. Still Scotland go through the phases but they have barely made a foot in the last metre. They have a penalty coming for a tackle off the ball so get cut with their stepping and passing and it comes off! Jones takes it on the bounce, steps Lopez and offloads to Hogg, who skins Serin on his way to the corner!

15 min Russell puts width on it but Nakaitaci is very alert to the danger of Hogg, wrapping him up immediately. Back inside and Laidlaw has a dart but is scragged 15 metres short.

14 min Nice from Scotland this time: Barclay wins it and Russell finds a decent touch with a cute cross kick. France go quickly but make a horlicks of it: they pass it back to Spedding after good line speed from Scotland and he boots it out on the full from a metre inside his 22.

13 min Scotland get their calls wrong and Maestri doesn’t even have to jump to tap it back. France go wide, wax on, wax off passing, but the drift defence essays Vakatawa over the touchline.

12 min And Hogg takes it well on halfway before Richie Gray drives on through Serin, the one small player in the French team. Russell now looks to put some width on it but a phase later Fagerson is rocked back in the tackle. Watson regains some of that ground with a rather awkward, yet effective, step, but with nothing happening Russell stabs a kick through. It’s ordinary, and Spedding whacks it back from his 22 to touch on halfway on the French left.

11 min Scotland can’t hold it steady and France get a free-kick. Lopez sends it high down the right.

9 min Ouch, Scotland fold under the French weight. Strauss looks to make something of nothing and picks up at the base, but fumbles it so France get the put in this time.

8 min France look to run it from the restart and for a moment it looks as though Spedding will be away. Great work though from Jones, who not only gets across to make the tackle but, with Jonny Gray’s help, holds the full-back up and wins a turnover scrum on the 22.

It’s not the easiest, 39m from the line and off to the left a touch, but the left-footed Lopez slots it very coolly.

“Sitting in Whistler Canada but i will be backing scotland..beat france by 5,” reckons Graham Higginbotham.

6 min Guirado goes long and Lamerat takes it well on the Scottish 10 metre line. France swing it left through the hands and Dell, I think, is penalised for having his hands in the ruck. Lopez will have the first crack at goal.

5 min Russell tries a short chip from halfway but Guirado turns, catches and offloads it in one lovely movement. Lopez spots space in the 22 and kicks it deep, but Hogg goes back and clears his lines well.

4 min First scrum then, to France around five metres outside the 22. There is a 35kg difference in the pack weights but Scotland hold firm and Lopez’s high garryowen clearance isn’t the best.

3 min As feared, Scotland are getting knocked back at every contact. The two wings come infield, offload cleverly and create space for Goujon to cut through and get to the 22. This is ridiculous: it’s turned over again and Maitland hares away down the wing, from the 22 and over halfway before Serin gets back and tackles him. The ball comes back on the French side this time and they look to swing it wide left, only for Jones to snaffle the interception just outside the 22. France relieved he knocks it on. Whew.

2 min Lineout eight metres inside the French half and Brown goes short to Jonny Gray. Taken into contact a few times then Seymour comes in to take a short pass and have a dart. Attempting to go through the biggest French side in history isn’t working for Scotland right now and Fagerson spills it so France can counter.

1 min Jaco Peyper gives the traditional signal and, dressed in the French red, white and blue change shirt, Camille Lopez kicks short but Jonny Gray takes under pressure. Carried infield by his brother and France win the turnover immediately. Guirado charges up to the 22 down the right but holds on in the tackle. Russell kicks to touch down the Scottish left.

It’s close.

Only the most myopic Scot would say Flower of Scotland is better than Le Marseillas at a rugby international. #FRAvSCO @SixNationsRugby

The anthems are done. We will however have a minute’s reflection, for both Joost van der Westhuizen and for Sione Lauaki, who sadly died yesterday.

Related: Sione Lauaki, former New Zealand rugby player, dies aged 35

“If Simon thinks he has a problem consider mine I am Scottish AND a Francophile,” writes JDT Mobile.

If you’re more of a Prince fan, here’s a pun-headlined chat that the ever-excellent Gerard Meagher had with the ever-quotable Jim Telfer. You’ve got about 10 minutes to read it before kick-off.

Related: Scotland can party against France like it’s 1999, says Jim Telfer

On the BBC they are showing a Trainspotting-pastiche “Choose Scotland” vignette about Scotland’s outside centre Huw Jones. This is the soundtrack.

Oh there we go. Simon McMahon drops us an email from north of The Wall. “Afternoon Dan. Just arriving in Edinburgh, only to find the games in Paris! Ach well, it’ll be a good atmosphere here too. Head says France, heart says Scotland. By 3. COME ON SCOTLAND!!!”

I have a feeling your heart might be on to something there, Simon. Then again I’ve been wrong a few times already.

Is there anyone out there? Fancy sending me your predictions, your thoughts, some puns? Some cocktails? I’ll take what I can get either on email at dan.lucas@theguardian.com or on Twitter at @DanLucas86

Right, the teams. If you clicked on this earlier there were a few mistakes in teams I published – refresh the page and now Uini Atonio is not France’s captain, Tommy Seymour is not at outside centre and Alex Dunbar not on the wing, and Hamish Watson is not at No8 – he’s at openside flanker, which is where it initially said Josh Strauss was playing. Thanks, a certain national broadcaster.

In terms of actual changes, there is one to each starting XV. For the hosts, Loan Goujon swaps with Damien Chouly and comes in from the bench to the back row. For Scotland, Ryan Wilson is injured so John Barclay, the Scarlets flanker who was impressive off the bench against Ireland, takes his place.

Afternoon, folks. It seems strange to say this of a fixture that has finished up with this exact same result for 18 years but, in this tightest of Six Nations, this might be the hardest match to predict of the lot. Scotland have not won in Paris since Gregor Townsend and co dazzled in 1999 but Vern Cotter, in his final tournament, has produced the Scots’ most exciting side since then.

Few people genuinely thought Scotland could win this whole thing. Even after that opening-match win over Ireland in Edinburgh they are an outside bet. But they were the most impressive team on weekend one and, impressive as France were in defeat to England, only one of these two sides found a way to come back after falling behind to get their noses over the line.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/feb/12/france-v-scotland-six-nations-live

Feb 11

Wales 16-21 England: Six Nations – as it happened

England left it late to stage a dramatic comeback against Wales, capped with Elliot Daly’s winning try in a thrilling match that saw Eddie Jones’s side extend their winning run to 16

6.55pm GMT

Grab your match report, hot off the press.

Related: England sink Wales in thriller with Elliot Daly’s flying finish

6.41pm GMT

That was nerve-racking to say the least. Wales had the territory. They won the turnover count by a ratio of 10 to one. They didn’t just win the breakdown, they did a Virat-Kohli-against-English-bowlers-in-India on England at the breakdown. They had two kickable penalties in the first half they didn’t deign to take. They led 16-11 with nine minutes to go. And England’s winning run extends to 16 games.

If Ireland’s thrashing of Italy earlier was a poor advert for the Six Nations, that was the championship at its finest. On on one of the coldest February nights in recent years in Cardiff, it was never going to be free-flowing, offload-heavy rugby. It was utterly engrossing, with every player putting everything they had into it.

6.34pm GMT

Farrell kicks it down the right to touch, on the Welsh 10 metre line. After a slow march up the field, Itoje secures the lineout and Care boots it off the pitch!

6.33pm GMT

79 min Lawes does well to slow down legally but Wales, needing a try, still have it. Through the phases, they plug away but Sinckler wins the turnover and the penalty! Joe Launchbury is named man of the match.

6.31pm GMT

78 min Ball wins the restart for Wales, who have it around 35 metres out. Cory Hill is on for Warb, Tom Wood for Nathan Hughes.

6.31pm GMT

A huge kick, from the left-hand touchline and Farrell puts England ahead by a try. Two and a half minutes remain.

6.30pm GMT

Oh Jonathan Davies! He clears straight down the middle to Ford in space and he comes roaring back. A wide pass sends it to Daly on the left, he runs a flat line and sears past Cuthbert and into the corner!

6.29pm GMT

75 min Biggar goes long and Hughes is stopped in his tracks by another huge tackle from Warburton. Haskell makes a metre or so taking it from deep, then Te’o slaloms through a gap! Into the 22 down the inside left and he pops it to Care, who can’t quite get away. England recycle and it goes to May, but he then Sinckler are stopped a metre or so short … and Liam Willams wins the turnover!

6.27pm GMT

73 min Cuthbert looks to go down the right but is stopped by Daly. Wales plugging away; they’ve looked far more secure in possession than England, to borrow some football terminology. And as I say that, Cuthert loses it and Ford kicks in behind the defence. He just overcooks it though and Halfpenny dots it down for a 22 drop-out.

6.25pm GMT

72 min Warburton takes the lineout and Gareth Davies looks to go round the corner. He’s stopped though.

6.25pm GMT

71 min Marler is off, Mullan is on. May is on for Nowell. Dan Cole is off for Kyle Sinckler. Jamie Roberts is on for Scott Williams. And Danny Care has cleared to touch from the restart, finding it on the 10 metre line.

6.23pm GMT

From 15 metres in on the right, Farrell pulls three points back.

6.22pm GMT

70 min Farrell will go for the points.

6.22pm GMT

69 min Ford goes right to Itoje, who gives it on to Nowell and the Exeter man has a look. Nothing doing so England go left to George. He’s stripped but Samson Lee is punished for the high tackle on Nowell I initially thought everyone had missed.

6.21pm GMT

68 min Te’o takes it on the crash ball, as does Lawes and the latter proves effective in getting up to the 22. On to Launchbury but Smith drives him back with a strong tackle. Lawes makes ground again.

6.20pm GMT

67 min Wales wheel the scrum illegally and it’s a penalty to England. Farrell kicks to touch down the left and finds it on Wales’s 10 metre line. Lawes takes and England form the driving maul.

6.18pm GMT

66 min Now we’ve calmed down, we can have the Welsh lineout midway inside the English 22. It’s a bit of a shambles though, knocked back into touch and England opt for the scrum on their own 22.

6.17pm GMT

Ch-ch-ch-chages. Webb off, Gareth Davies on. Youngs and Joseph off, Care and Te’o on.

6.16pm GMT

65 min Right and Biggar intercepts! He screams up to halfway with Daly giving chase and kicks ahead into the 22! The chase is on and Daly goes back to slide it into touch, football style. What a game this is!

6.15pm GMT

64 min Haskell has been everywhere since he came on and he thrusts again, driving England to within five. Brown goes and loses it but backwards. George scuttles forward, Itoje has a go.

6.15pm GMT

63 min England keep going and George is the unlikely man to burrow down the left flank and make ground. Back right they go and though the pass is behind Farrell he turns, picks up and offloads in one outstanding move. Nowell can’t get through though.

6.14pm GMT

62 min Daly gets up to tap the restart back but it goes to Welsh hands and Webb box kicks clear for Launchbury to take then Hughes makes the break around the fringe! Wales scramble back effectively though, then George is driven back by Tipuric.

6.12pm GMT

As Owens departs to be replaced by Baldwin, Halfpenny thumps it through from right in front to restore the five-point advantage.

6.11pm GMT

60 min Penalty to Wales right under the sticks for Haskell not rolling away. Surely they’ll take the points now?

6.10pm GMT

59 min Webb dummies to give it to Faletau but instead sends it wide via Biggar to Halfpenny on the left. Owens is then driven back but Webb makes the ground back up.

6.10pm GMT

58 min Wales pick and go but Faletau is driven back by Haskell. They go wide now and Scott Williams is dragged down but stays in play. Wales are around eight metres out.

6.09pm GMT

57 min Brown takes the restart and is tackled by Faletau, who immediately wins the turnover! This must be the end of the road for Brown? Wales go wide to Liam Williams then back inside. Jon Davies makes a break around the fringes and they go left to Liam Williams, who is dragged down short.

6.07pm GMT

It’s actually even less than 40 metres, more like 36. And that’s simple enough, meaning England get the first points of a half they haven’t been in.

6.06pm GMT

55 min The crowd think it’s a turnover. It isn’t as Warburton entered the ruck at the side. Farrell will have a pop from 40 metres, straight in front.

6.06pm GMT

54 min Farrell kicks to touch down the left and, finally, puts England in the Welsh half. Launchbury takes the lineout and theu plug away in midfield, Warburton smothering Haskell.

6.05pm GMT

53 min Webb pops it right to Jonathan Davies and Daly gets caught in two minds. Davies can’t collect it, which is lucky for England as Davies was in otherwise. Wales change their props and Taulupe Faletau makes his return in place of the magnificent Ross Moriarty. From the lineout England maul it forwards. They try and go wide until Joseph throws a poor pass over Nowell, but we’re going back for a penalty for side entry at that maul.

6.02pm GMT

52 min Moriarty drives over the gainline in midfield then Webb tries to go through. No space there but Wales recycle right. It’s been one-way traffic in this half and now Liam Williams steps int the 22. Francis is driven back by Lawes though. The Northampton man has been England’s best player in both games.

6.01pm GMT

51 min England go left off the scrum but then Brown puts a bloody awful kick miles out on the full from 10 metres outside his 22. I guess it was that or actually have to pass the ball, which Brown is singularly unable to do.

6.00pm GMT

50 min Liam Williams looks to step but can’t see a gap. Back inside, then AWJ knocks on with things getting a bit rushed there. Haskell replaced Clifford, by the way.

5.59pm GMT

49 min As Biggar finds touch on the 22, on the left, James Haskell comes on.

Nice bit of nostalgia here from Gary Naylor.

World Cup Quarter Final 1987 and England play Wales in a Brisbane municipal park – https://t.co/XFxlHUGz3W @DanLucas86

5.58pm GMT

48 min Moriarty monsters Hughes backwards and Youngs kicks to Webb. He ducks past Ford who catches him high just inside the Welsh half. Just a penalty as Webb had gone very low.

5.57pm GMT

47 min England’s scrum on their own 22 is solid. Youngs back to Ford and he completes the exit from deep, finding touch near halfway. Jamie George is on for cap’n Hartley. Tipuric wins the lineout and Webb has to be reminded by his No7 to come in and pick the ball up. High he goes and Nowell collects outside his 22.

5.56pm GMT

45 min Oh what a tackle from Moriarty on Itoje, who does well to offload but then England are turned over at the next breakdown! Davies surges forward and gives to Halfpenny to carry on into the 22! He’s tackled but offloads to Webb, who then sends Biggar under the posts albeit with an enormous forward pass. That all came from Moriarty’s hit on Itoje.

5.54pm GMT

44 min Joseph, perhaps not the natural choice, takes it on the crash ball and England go wide, with Lawes sending a nice basketball style pass out to Nowell on the right wing. Back left and Joseph stabs one through, then Halfpenny can only clear to Ford.

5.52pm GMT

43 min Lawes takes the throw on his own 22 and England maul it 10 metres or so upfield. Youngs goes high and long and Biggar, charging forward, can’t reach it on the full 12 metres or so inside his own half. Taken into contact and, under pressure from Itoje, Webb knocks it forwards.

5.51pm GMT

42 min Brown steps but is well tackled then Youngs chips ahead to Biggar. The No10 finds touch with an excellent chip down the right; England are unhappy with a late tackle by Moriarty on Farrell who, unlike Webb, doesn’t request a referral to the TMO. He should have done.

5.50pm GMT

41 min Here we go again, Ford kicks left to Cuthbert. He’s driven back by Itoje but, after a phase, Biggar clears to Hughes on halfway. England have missed Billy Vunipola, as you would expect. Ford knocks on in midfield and Scott Williams clears.

5.47pm GMT

“Didn’t know what a ‘live feed’ was until today but discovered you as I travel from Wales to London by train. Your reporting almost as good as the TV…..Come on Wales – crush ‘em! Thanks Dan” writes

Brian Moore
Ceri Humm.

Sup @DanLucas86 Am off the grid in Arg and relying on your feed. How’s Clifford getting on?

This is an outstanding game for the neutral fan @DanLucas86 but jesus it’s torture for us English. Breathless, brutal, frantic rugby.

5.36pm GMT

Wales deserve the lead on territory alone really, and they might wish they had been more efficient. They’ve been fearsome in the tight, where England are struggling. Ben Youngs has been poor again.

Gary Lucas writes: “Thought I’d found rugby on TV but they seem to be throwing the ball a long way forward. Either American football or a rerun of All Black’s v France 2007. Cocktails on me in the Dominican Republic (with apologies to Simon McMahon)”.

5.34pm GMT

Webb goes high from the restart, Brown takes and S Williams takes him down just inside the Welsh half. Recycled but Clifford is stripped, only for the ball to bounce back on the England side. They go through the phases around halfway, then Ford goes high and shallow. Liam Williams knocks it on but the clock has by that time gone red.

5.32pm GMT

Now the Welsh pressure pays off! Moriarty off the back of the scrum, Webb steps off and takes the pass. In comes Scott Williams on the dummy straight line and Liam Williams has come looping around behind him to dart under the sticks!

5.31pm GMT

37 min Hughes comes off the base of the scrum, making five metres. Youngs’ kick is far too slow and charged down by Webb. It deflects to Marler but it’s a horrible bobbling ball and now he knocks on! Youngs undid all of Hughes’ good work there.

5.30pm GMT

36 min Wales get the shunt on, five metres from the English line but on the visitors’ ball. Garces resets as both sides unceremoniously flop over.

5.29pm GMT

35 min Scott Williams goes on the angle and thinks there’s a gap, but England drift and Farrell makes the tackle. Webb tries to get quick ball out but throws it far too hard to Alun Wyn Jones, who knocks it on at close quarters! Pundit Jonathan Davies whinges, wrongly, about Ben Youngs being offside. He has spent his entire career whinging wrongly, in fairness.

5.26pm GMT

34 min Left now through the hands, then back inside and Evans busts through a tackle! They go right, inside the 22 and Jones is tackled very well by every Welshman’s favourite, Joe Marler, low around the knees. Slow ball but Wales still have it and drive on…

5.25pm GMT

33 min That’s a much better scrum from Wales and Hughes carries it under pressure. After a long time with the ball in the ruck, Jones wins the turnover and sends it out right! Wales’ turn to batter away at England again.

5.24pm GMT

32 min Hughes charges off the back of the scrum and carries it into contact in midfield. The ball goes dead in the ruck and England will have a second scrum in quick succession, about eight metres upfield from the last.

5.23pm GMT

31 min Warburton takes and Wales immediately knock it on. OK this time it’s funny.

5.23pm GMT

30 min From the lineout midway inside England’s half, Youngs box kicks high. Daly chases but he was in front of the kicker. Penalty Wales about 12 metres inside the England half, wide on the right. Still no shot at goal though, as Biggar pops it down the right into touch, inside the 22.

5.21pm GMT

29 min Cole gets the better of Evans, who collapses under pressure. Penalty England, which isn’t funny in the slightest.

5.20pm GMT

Blimey, Wales have opted for the five metre scrum rather than a straightforward shot at the lead.

5.20pm GMT

28 min Jones darts, stopped a metre short. Then Webb thinks he’s scored with a snipe of his own. He’s short, says Jerome Garces, but we’re going to the TMO at, er, Webb’s insistence – “It was on the line” says the lying so-and-so. “He’s short” says the touch judge but we’re still checking. Yes, well short. Back for a penalty to Wales for offside.

5.18pm GMT

27 min Wales lineout, 15 metres out and Warburton pops it to Webb, who gives it inside to Scott Williams on the crash. England are looking to hold Jones up in the tackle but Wales are able to recycle and England are under heavy pressure again. Right now through the hands and Scott Williams, then Biggar look to use their strength to go over.

5.17pm GMT

26 min Now Webb kicks and it bounces kindly, allowing Biggar to hack ahead to the line! Nowell gets back and does very well under pressure but Youngs is forced to clear to touch from his own try-line. He does, but tight to touch he doesn’t have room to get it out of the 22.

5.16pm GMT

25 min Wales struggle there but Moriarty comes away with it. Up it goes from Webb and Joseph’s pass to Brown is unkind, allowing Jon Davies time to smash the No15 five metres inside the England half. The visitors to well to retain it and clear to Halfpenny in his 22.

5.15pm GMT

24 min Ford kicks it wide for Daly but the Wasps man can only tip it into touch. Wales have the option of a scrum where Daly touched it or a lineout and opt for the former. 24 minutes in and we have the first scrum.

5.13pm GMT

From 15 metres, the full-back chips his side to back within a couple.

@guardian_sport @DanLucas86
Am in Cambodia .game not on so depending on you for intensity of game and as always humour too, cheers

5.12pm GMT

21 min Halfpenny on to Liam Williams and he soars down the left into the 22! Awful camera work and by the time the match comes back into focus Wales have flung it right, England’s defence stretched. Tipuric picks it up 10 metres away from the posts and drives; he can’t break the gain-line but Launchbury is off his feet and this should be three easy points.

5.11pm GMT

20 min From the restart Rob Evans is forced to cover for Cuthbert’s missed tackle from Brown. Ford clears down the left, finding touch on his own 10 metre line where Wales take it quickly and get it left through the hands.

5.10pm GMT

19 min Farrell curls his conversion wide of the left-hand post. England have made their fast start though.

5.09pm GMT

Itoje and Hughes go but the latter is driven back a couple of metres. England keep it and go to the backs: Daly cuts back inside and gives it to Brown. The full back is dragged down a metre short, but Wales have no one around the fringes and Youngs dives over the ruck to score!

5.08pm GMT

17 min Back right and now Launchbury ignores the man outside him! Taken on by Itoje out wide and Halfpenny saves the try with a tackle just a few metres out! Wales are slowing it down but England are camped on their line…

5.07pm GMT

16 min Left now and Joseph steps to get to within 10 of the line before they go back inside to Nowell, in off his wing and in midfield. Lawes carries it on, retaining it despite the pressure from Tipuric in the tackle. Left again and Farrell sends it wide to Daly with a long pass, but the Wasps man is tackled by Cuthbert.

5.06pm GMT

15 min Long to Youngs from Biggar and Hughes carries it up. Left they go and Farrell gives it nicely to Brown but after making ground the full-back ignores the overlap outside him and takes the tackle from S Williams. Back into midfield and England go through the phases just outside the 22.

5.04pm GMT

14 min With the angle it’s 58 metres, they reckon on TV. I’m not so sure about that but it’s a long way out. He smashes it, but hooks it left and misses for England for the first time.

5.03pm GMT

12 min High again from Biggar and again Itoje takes it well. In come the Welsh tacklers to form the maul and they promptly drag it down. England penalty, which Farrell kicks to touch a metre inside his own half. Launchbury takes and Farrell goes through a gap with a lovely little drift inside. Offside go Wales and we’re in Daly territory, a couple of metres inside the Welsh half.

5.01pm GMT

Just outside the 22 but off to the right. Farrell gets it.

@DanLucas86 This neutral wants a cracking, bruising match that somehow kills both teams’ 6N ambitions with a Hartley red card for the crack.

5.00pm GMT

9 min And Brown takes it up to midway inside the Welsh half. Right they go and Nowell steps, looking to make space. He’s tackled high and England have the advantage; Youngs chips and Jones, knowing the penalty is coming anyway, obstructs him. Clever, but cynical stuff from the Wales captain.

4.59pm GMT

8 min England get a lineout deep in Welsh territory and go quick off the top. They carry it into the 22 and move it left, but Farrell is wrapped up and turns it over with a big overlap outside him! Biggar clears to Brown.

4.58pm GMT

7 min From the lineout Scott Williams makes a line break through the middle, but his offload is dropped by Moriarty. Someone plays it on the floor and England have a penalty.

4.57pm GMT

6 min Lawes takes the throw from his club-mate and England maul it up to their own 22 before Youngs box clears well, finding touch on the England right somewhere near his own 10 metre line.

Elliott Watson writes: “I’m in Mumbai where the only bar I can find showing the rugby has a Welsh language feed. It’s an education, though not a very good one.” We can’t get BBC Wales in Guardian Towers I’m afraid.

4.56pm GMT

5 min Now right and Nowell takes it up into the 22 but Cole is promptly shoved back out of it. Now a nice loop around and Joseph makes ground on the left but Biggar strips Hartley of the ball and Webb can clear! England come back but have to do so from deep and Hughes spills it into the tackle from Jones. Halfpenny picks it up and kicks quite brilliantly down the left, the ball bobbling into touch midway inside England’s 22!

4.54pm GMT

4 min Farrell restarts and Cuthbert is smothered by Daly. It’s slow ball for Wales and Webb’s box kick is charged down by Itoje! England swing it into midfield where Clifford and Launchbury make carries.

4.53pm GMT

It’s on the 10 metre line, a nudge to the left of the sticks. Straight through it goes.

4.52pm GMT

2 min Now Wales go wide where Tipuric spots half a gap and carries into it. Back left and Lawes cuts down Moriarty with a good low tackle, but then he fails to roll away. Rhy Webb points that out to Garces, who awards Wales a penalty.

4.51pm GMT

1 min Kicking left-to-right as I look at it, Not-Sam-Davies kicks off, sending it high to Itoje on the 22. Hughes carries, then Youngs clears to Biggar down the Welsh right. Scott Wiliams takes it back up over halfway, then AWJ does likewise.

4.45pm GMT

The players are out, which means pointless flamethrower time! We’ll have the anthems, then a minute’s silence for Joost, then Jerome Garces will get this thing going.

4.39pm GMT

An email! “Think it would be good to have Care and Haskell on early to help get in front,” writes

Henry
Pat Paul. “Hope we have good game.”

4.38pm GMT

Troll.

Not sure who I want to win.. #ENGvWAL #6nations2017 pic.twitter.com/sf091RX0St

4.33pm GMT

Rob Howley speaks. “When George [North] woke up this morning he saw the medical team and it was pretty obvious he wasn’t going to play with a six-day turnaround.” Quick off the mark, that medical team.

4.32pm GMT

That last post reminds me: two years ago Wales made the ill-advised decision to bring in pre-match entertainment from DJ Spoony. DJ Spoony’s real name? Johnathan Joseph. And speaking of music, let’s do battle with some pre-match songs.

4.29pm GMT

It’s the battle of the centres, at least in terms of pre-match reading. In the all-Welsh corner, Paul Rees meets Scott Williams:

Related: Wales’ Scott Williams provides the lock-picker not the bulldozer

Related: Jonathan Joseph: ‘I like the atmosphere, it spurs me on and gets me going’

4.15pm GMT

Yes, that’s right.

Wales wing George North is OUT of this afternoon’s #SixNations game v England after failing to recover from leg injury. Alex Cuthbert starts pic.twitter.com/ZWwjV1nmht

11.32am GMT

Afternoon, folks. Welcome, then, to a match that some would have you think is all about a roof. It will, after a long discussion, a few mind games and far too much speculation, be open but good god what a sideshow. You don’t need me to tell you what history these two teams have and in recent times Wales v England has been a fixture with as much spark as at any time since the English first crossed the Severn for a game in 1882.

After slumping for several years, England improved in 2009 and 2011. In the former year, Joe Worsley inspired them to a narrow defeat when those of us who went as England fans expected a hammering, before Toby Flood inspired the men in white to a narrow win in 2011. Then in 2013, England went to the then Millennium Stadium chasing the title and a grand slam and … well, that hardly went to plan: Sam Warburton inspired Wales to a crushing 30-3 win that did for England’s title hopes on points difference and was surely a key factor in the Welsh No7 taking the Lions captaincy from Chris Robshaw, who didn’t even make it into the squad after being ground into the dirt.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/feb/11/wales-v-england-six-nations-live

Feb 11

Italy 10-63 Ireland: Six Nations – as it happened

Ireland ran riot, with CJ Stander and Craig Gilroy scoring hat-tricks, to pick up the first bonus-point win in Six Nations history against Italy

4.13pm GMT

Right, a quick turnaround for me, with Wales v England next. Fortunately there is very little to say about that: a total non-contest in which few Italians enhanced their reputations and everyone played pretty well for Ireland. For those wondering, they only get one bonus point despite scoring nine.

Anyway, join me for this!

Related: Wales v England: Six Nations – live!

4.11pm GMT

Nine from nine for Jackson, who brings an end to proceedings with the conversion.

4.10pm GMT

81 min Ireland have it just inside the Italy half as the clock goes red. Dillane and Ryan crash it up the middle then Jackson sends it on to Van der Flier, who makes more ground. Jackson tries a chip and it’s deflected back to him. McGrath, Heaslip and Ryan again carry it on before Stander drives looking for No4. He’s just short so Marmion goes to his backs and Jackson, who has been wonderful, sends a flat pass out for Gilroy, who becomes the second Irishman to bag a hat-trick today!

4.07pm GMT

79 min Ireland are going to have one more probe. As unchallenging as this might have been for Ireland, the emails I’m getting from their fans calling for Italy to be booted out the Six Nations are somewhat unedifying. People were saying the same about Scotland not that long ago and look what happened last week.

4.06pm GMT

Still Italian ball and still they go backwards. It’s knocked forwards eventually and Stander hoofs it up the pitch. Mbanda goes to field it but the bounce is horrible, straight back into the hands of Gilroy, who cuts inside and goes over from 45 metres. Jackson knocks over the extras.

4.04pm GMT

77 min Italy have the ball on the 22.

4.04pm GMT

76 min Italy get the ball after a chip ends up in their hands and it goes left for Venditti and Biagi to make ground, crashing up to the five metre line. Back right they go but the passing isn’t accurate enough and backwards they go.

4.02pm GMT

75 min Keatley replaces Zebo.

4.02pm GMT

74 min Italy recover the ball from Allan’s shallow restart and continue to probe around the fringes just inside the Irish half. Venditti almost wriggles through a tackle at the breakdown but loses the ball in doing so.

CJ Stander is named man of the match, giving everyone but me a load more fantasy rugby points.

4.01pm GMT

That should say 49 in the last entry, maths fans.

4.00pm GMT

McLean launches a long kick to Kearney, who comes surging back up over the 10 metre line. Dillane drives on. I reckon there’s one more try for Ireland … oh there it is. The ball pops into Ringrose’s hands 40 metres out, he gets through some very tired tackles and scarpers off under the sticks.

3.58pm GMT

71 min Italy have stolen the lineout but been forced back into what I think is their own 22 – it’s a bad camera angle. The subsequent breakdown is an unholy mess and Italy get the scrum as the ball was unplayable. Marmion and Van der Flier are on, I think O’Brien is off, as is Murray. Allan on for Canna for Italy.

3.57pm GMT

70 min Italy’s ploy of not kicking to touch has been a poor one, by the way as their defence has been run ragged. Earls chips ahead, Canna clears to touch around halfway.

3.56pm GMT

A couple of poor kicks then Padovani loses it in the tackle. O’Brien sets off to his right and sucks in the straggling defenders. It’s popped right along the line, Gilroy cuts inside Campagnaro and jogs under the posts.

3.54pm GMT

67 min They’re still on the 22. After 15 or so phases Jackson chips across but Venditti catches and calls the mark.

3.53pm GMT

66 min Dillane gets over the gain-line then they go left to Zebo, but for once he can’t find any space. We continue to go through the phases. Or rather the players do.

3.53pm GMT

65 min “Angle” says Jackson, penalising the new man Panico for driving at one. Jackson kicks to touch just outside the 22, on the left. Dillane taps down and Stander drives into contact, taking it to within a metre or two of the 22. It’s all gone a bit flat for Ireland.

3.51pm GMT

64 min From the scrum, Mbanda takes a bouncing ball that slipped out of Campagnaro’s hands and thinks he is away. The bad news for him is that it is adjudged to have bounced forwards. Panico is on for Lovotti.

3.50pm GMT

Bad news Wales.

Wales wing George North is OUT of this afternoon’s #SixNations game v England after failing to recover from leg injury. Alex Cuthbert starts pic.twitter.com/ZWwjV1nmht

3.49pm GMT

62 min From the lineout on halfway it goes high and Gilroy takes well, but it’s spilled by Irish hands at the next breakdown. Italy scrum just inside the Irish half. James Tracy is on for Scannell just in time for this scrum.

3.48pm GMT

61 min Ireland are penalised for McGrath’s failure to drive straight. Dillane is on for Toner, Bronzini for Gori.

3.46pm GMT

60 min Italy’s scrum is walking backwards, up pops the front row and they’re probably slightly fortunate that ref Jackson only says reset.

3.45pm GMT

59 min Italy have a scrum midway inside their 22. It looks like a swinging Italian boot caught Chistolini’s knee in the midst of the last play.

3.45pm GMT

Chistolini is in some pain, didn’t see what happened as it was off camera. “The poor man can’t walk” says Glen Jackson, so Cittadini returns. Not sure the former Wasp will be too happy about this.

3.44pm GMT

58 min Terrible lineout, to the front and Fuser is driven into touch. Toner wins quick ball and Ringrose takes it into the 22 before offloading to Earls. Recycled quickly and Jackson flings a long pass wide for Gilroy but it’s forwards. Remarkable effort from Gilroy to try and throw it back in play before overrunning into touch, but in vain.

3.42pm GMT

57 min Toner pinches the lineout and go left, allowing Zebo to look for space. He has none so grubbers ahead and it bobbles into touch midway inside the Italian half. Steyn on for Favaro.

3.40pm GMT

56 min That’s a better scrum from Italy and they get a penalty, which Gori takes quickly and scuttles up to the five metre line. Back inside it comes for Parisse, just under the posts but he turns over and Murray boots it clear, up to the 22 and into touch on the Italian left.

3.39pm GMT

55 min Italy go left then Canna switches it back inside to Campagnaro. There is a knock on and Italy have the advantage but their backs are standing too deep. Canna loses it under pressure from Ringrose but we go back for the knock-on, just outside the 22 and tight to the left-hand touchline.

Matt Dony is with us: “Through some spectacularly bad planning, I missed most of the Wales games last week while driving from West Wales to Ashford on the way to France. And I’ll miss most of the game today driving back in the other direction. I’m only just checking up on this game now while taking a break so 5 yr old can run off some pent up sitting-in-a-car-for-best-part-of-a-day-and-half energy. Where was this Italy performance last week? And, I wonder if I can convince my exhausted, grumpy family to take a ‘quick’ detour in to Cardiff? I mean, it’s not far off the M4…”

3.38pm GMT

54 min Furlong off, Ryan on.

3.37pm GMT

53 min Canna loops around but then Padovani is smashed by Ringrose. The Leinsterman knocked it on in the tackle though, so it’s an Italy scrum smack bang in the middle of the Irish half.

3.36pm GMT

52 min Now Italy have some territory for the first time in this half and Radiohead fan Padovani sidesteps his way up to the 22, before Campagnaro makes a bit more ground burrowing down the right. Back left they come but then Gilroy disrupts the movement. Italy do well to retain possession.

3.35pm GMT

51 min McGrath is on for Healy.

Des Maxwell writes: “Really, Mr. Lucas? You dropped CJ from your fantasy team and you don’t like The Killers. I’m being to suffer a dearth of respect for my otherwise faithful correspondent.” Sorry.

3.34pm GMT

50 min Chipped over the top and Earls gives chase, grubbering on into the in-goal area. The chase is on for Ringrose but new man Campagnaro is able to get there first and dot down. The restart is taken by Stander, then Earls kicks ahead and it’s back in Italian hands but only just outside the 22. McLean kicks long and then a poor pass from Kearney forces Gilroy to knock on out wide, just inside his own half.

3.32pm GMT

49 min Campagnaro replaces Benvenuti.

3.32pm GMT

48 min Murray puts it up and Parisse takes it on halfway under pressure from Zebo. Back to Canna and his cross-kick is enormously overcooked. Out it goes on the full. Gilroy comes on for Henshaw. Quick ball off the lineout just inside the Italy half and then Padovani can’t field Kearney’s hard grubber kick. Scrum Ireland, midway inside the Italy half.

3.30pm GMT

I shouldn’t have dropped Stander from my fantasy team, should I? Gega and Biagi replace Ghiraldini and Van Schalkwyk.

3.29pm GMT

Quick ball and they go left, with Kearney up in the line and taking contact. Donnacha Ryan comes back on. Heaslip barrels up to the 22, but at the next phase the ball is disrupted well by Favaro looking to intercept. It’s still with Ireland though and Stander, on the 22, spots a gap, steps through it and sizzles through to the line! A hat-trick to the flanker!

3.27pm GMT

44 min Right now and Ringrose makes headway at pace down the right. He’s tackled then Murray flips a short box kick over the top for Henshaw to chase. Padovani is alert to it though and this time McLean does go for touch with a big clearance, into touch on the Ireland right just inside the Italian half.

3.26pm GMT

43 min Grubbered through and Canna fields in his 22 near touch. This time it’s Padovani who clears and Kearney runs back, up to the 10 metre line.

3.25pm GMT

42 min Scannell throws, Toner takes and the hooker has it at the back of the maul. To Italy’s relief it goes nowhere and the ball shoots out, allowing Favaro to dive on it. McLean clears down the middle again.

3.24pm GMT

41 min PEEEEP! Jackson restarts, McLean scuffs his clearance back to the No10 down the middle and Kearney takes it into Chistolini’s tackle. Immediately, Favaro goes off his feet and concedes a penalty, which Jackson puts into the 22 on the left.

3.23pm GMT

Italy have made a change: Chistolini is on for Cittadini.

3.21pm GMT

Italy’s defence was impeccable in the first half against Wales last weekend. Today it has been pretty damn abysmal.

3.09pm GMT

Scannell overthrows, Henshaw knocks on and that, to Italy’s relief, is the half.

3.08pm GMT

40 min Jackson kicks the penalty to touch down the right, finding it midway inside the Italian half with 15 seconds to go in the half. Time for one last play.

3.07pm GMT

39 min Mbanda and Esposito make ground down the right, before it comes back inside for Ghiraldini. They’re enjoying the ball now Italy, but doing nothing with it. Then McLean is penalised for holding on on the ground.

3.06pm GMT

38 min This is slightly encouraging, he says without trying to patronise the Italians. Favaro loops round and takes it out wide before making good ground at pace down the right. Back left they go, but then McLean puts a poor kick across and Kearney dots down for the 22 drop-out.

3.05pm GMT

37 min Cleared to touch and Italy get it from the lineout on halfway. They go left and Parisse carries through a couple of tackles and over the 10 metre line, before it goes right and Favaro makes a bit more ground.

3.03pm GMT

Ireland have a bonus point by the way.

3.03pm GMT

That’s the easiest of the lot.

3.03pm GMT

McLean clears long from the restart, down the middle, and Kearney goes high with the return. Parisse is under it but there was a man offside at the initial clearance. It’s an easy shot at goal but we’re beyond that now and Jackson finds touch 10 metres out on the right. Heaslip takes Scannell’s throw and has it at the back of a big maul. Stander peels off it and a second mini-maul forms. It has few problems barrelling over.

3.00pm GMT

Donnacha Ryan was sent to the sin-bin too.

2.59pm GMT

Ireland attempt to shuffle the maul towards the touchline, but Heaslip pulls it down and it’s another penalty.

Game of Thrones’ Jon Snow
McLean sticks it in the bottom-right hand corner and again Parisse takes the throw. A might maul forms, down it comes and Jackson immediately marches under the posts! Good refereeing that.

2.58pm GMT

30 min Ireland look to make a nuisance of themselves once the ball is out but, in doing so, fail to roll away. McLean boots it to touch down the Italy right, finding touch inside the 22 where Parisse takes the lineout.

2.57pm GMT

29 min Cleared to touch from the restart and though Italy win the subsequent lineout, it’s filthy ball as Stander gets up with Van Schalkwyk. The flankers disruptive hand concedes the knock-on though.

From the unfortunately named Alastair Trump: “Italian rugby hasn’t made sufficient progress in the last 5 years. They should be in a second tier 5/6 nations with Romania, Portugal etc. I can’t even watch this game anymore its so one sided. Obviously Parisse should be allowed a ‘transfer’ to any country in Europe, the world, universe…”

2.55pm GMT

Another touchline effort, then, for young Paddy Jackson and not for nothing does he have a career success rate of about 81%.

2.54pm GMT

Ireland keep it tight for now, with Heaslip and Furlong, you’ll be shocked to hear, carrying it into contact. Now into the backs and Jackson gives it right to Ringrose, on to Earls and into the corner he goes. This is so, so easy.

2.53pm GMT

25 min Ringrose to Zebo and he’s got free reign out there: zipping left and right off the sidestep and fizzing into the 22 down the left flank. Tackled and they recycle, driving to within 10.

2.52pm GMT

24 min Taken by Heaslip and Ireland spin it right, where Ringrose takes it into contact. Left they go now and Henshaw fizzes a pass to Zebo, perhaps too fast and not quite accurate enough, and Zebo knocks it into touch. From the lineout though, after Parisse had won it, Ghiraldini knocks on.

2.50pm GMT

23 min Gori sends a looping pass out wide to absolutely no one. Padovani steps up and takes it on the bounce, but his foot slips out into touch. Not great this from Italy.

2.49pm GMT

22 min Italy come out of this scrum unscathed and go down the blindside. No space there, so they spread it right. Nowt there either.

2.48pm GMT

21 min This could be a long day for Italy. From the restart, Ireland spread it left to right along the 22, then Earls kicks ahead low. He can’t keep it in though and Italy will have their first lineout, five inside the Ireland half and on the left. It’s a poor throw from Ghiraldini, but it deflects forwards off the fingertips of Toner.

2.47pm GMT

Right on the left-hand touchline, Jackson scuffs it miserably. And yet somehow, it limps through!

2.46pm GMT

Lovely offload out the tackle and out the back of the hand from Heaslip, after a neat step, to Henshaw and the No12 arcs round the right and makes ground. Jackson has a go and another penalty is coming. Again though Ireland don’t need it: left to Zebo, out again to Stander and he is near enough unchallenged as he crosses.

2.44pm GMT

17 min Jackson’s restart is shallow and Scannell rips it back on to the Irish side from the ruck. Ireland carry it up to the 22 far, far too easily then Kearney steps inside and looks for a gap. Favaro is wise to him though. Through the phases they go, with Italy holding firm for the time being.

2.43pm GMT

Well that was a freebie.

“Afternoon Dan.” Afternoon, Simon McMahon. “Being a great singer is a strange thing, isn’t it? Requiring a certain je ne sais quoi. Thom Yorke, Wayne Coyne, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, James Blunt, the Ireland rugby team. Ireland by 40.”

2.42pm GMT

15 min Toner takes in the restart, Murray clears from the 22 but doesn’t get any distance and Esposito gathers. They go left and Henshaw goes for the interception, but Ireland were offside from Murray’s box kick and Italy have an opportunity to grab three points straight back. It will be Canna from fairly wide out, around five outside the 22.

2.41pm GMT

From wide on the right, Jackson sends it straight as an arrow through the posts.

2.40pm GMT

Zebo is fit to continue it seems. Jackson takes it into contact, Stander drives on and Italy, on their last warning, are offside again. No matter as another phase sees the ball out into the hands of Jackson, standing flat, and he gives it wide to Earls for the simplest of finishes from five metres.

2.38pm GMT

11 min Whipped out left behind the decoy runner and quick hands send it out to Zebo. He nips round the outside and dives for the line, but loses it under pressure from Gori as he attempts to finish. He’s landed awkwardly on his shoulder too and this is bad news for

my fantasy rugby team
Ireland. The men in green have yet another penalty for offside though and will take a scrum. Five metres out, under the posts.

2.37pm GMT

10 min Ireland get the shove on then go right to Jackson. Recycled quickly but it’s not clean and it’s backwards to Scannell. Heaslip, then Furlong pile towards the line, then Murray snipes, just short…

2.35pm GMT

9 min The ball gets stuck in the ruck and so we go back for an Irish penalty, for offside. Heaslip decides to go for the scrum.

2.34pm GMT

8 min It doesn’t and Ireland pile into the defence in midfield, driving up to within a couple of metres of the posts…

2.34pm GMT

7 min 10 metres out, Murray pops it to Zebo coming in off his wing. It’s recycled and Ghrialdini, making the tackle, knocks on again. Ireland scrum six metres out and 16 in from the left-hand touchline. This could go down the short side to Zebo I reckon.

2.33pm GMT

6 min Parisse picks it up at the back but knocks on under enormous pressure, with his own pack falling backwards on top of him. Great chance now for Ireland.

2.32pm GMT

5 min With no room away from the touchline at all, Zebo twists and turns past Canna. Up to the 22, but then an accidental offside at the ruck and Italy will have another scrum. They’ll want it to go better than last time, no doubt.

2.30pm GMT

4 min Taken down quickly and Henshaw takes it into contact. Murray, on the loop around tries to grubber through. It deflects back up into his hands so he does so again and Vendittit gathers it. Cleared by McLean, returned by Kearney and, eventually, Padovani clears long to Jackson.

2.29pm GMT

3 min Healy does one on Lovotti, forcing the Italian up and winning a penalty against the head. It’s tight to the touchline, so Zebo takes it, left-footed and finds touch around the 22.

2.28pm GMT

1 min Former Saracen Glen Jackson is the man with the whistle today and he does the honours, giving the whistle a good PEEP! and Canna gets round two under way! In the 22 it goes and Zebo takes. Up goes the box kick from Murray and Zebo takes again near halfway. Right from Murray and O’Brien crashes it into the midfield before Ringrose bursts over halfway. A busy start from Ireland but then it’s knocked on in the tight, out wide on the right.

@DanLucas86 Ireland’s Call “Ireland! Ireland!” Chorus is just to let the pissed people now who they’re supposed to be supporting isn’t it?

2.23pm GMT

A minute’s silence for Joost, then we’ll kick off.

2.21pm GMT

Anthems watch: No matter how rousing Ireland’s Call may be, I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a worse group of singers than their players. And I’ve seen The Killers.

2.18pm GMT

Here come the players! It has stopped raining in Rome, which makes it a hell of a lot nicer than London.

2.16pm GMT

That tattoo on Padovani. Outstanding. In a way that no Englishman could ever carry off @DanLucas86

Conor O’Shea has (not quite) said he wants Italy to be fitter, happier, more productive.

2.05pm GMT

I’ve been sent a picture! David Edwards noticed this tattoo on Italy’s Edoardo Padovani during the Wales game last week. Padovani being a Radiohead fan sort of makes me want Italy to win this one.

1.58pm GMT

@DanLucas86 if we don’t win by a least 25 there’ll be one of these in Dublin Limerick Galway & Belfast waiting 4 the players! pic.twitter.com/bpJDNfPTwz

Joe Schmidt has told his players he wants a fast start today. Against Italy’s rush defence that could be difficult, although there will be gaps for the likes of Jackson and Ringrose to exploit if they’re on top form.

1.57pm GMT

Elsewhere on the Guardian today, this is better than anything I’ll write, to be honest.

Related: Experience: I accidentally bought a giant pig

1.40pm GMT

We have 50 minutes until kick-off, which is plenty of time for you to be getting lost in a YouTube wormhole. To help you/give you an excuse, this week’s edition of Classic YouTube pays loving tribute to Joost van der Westhuizen, who sadly died on Monday.

Related: Joost van der Westhuizen, tennis defaults and Graham Taylor’s comic turn | Classic YouTube

Related: Joost van der Westhuizen will be remembered for inspirational spirit and dignity | Robert Kitson

1.23pm GMT

Glendenning smashes it out the park.

Man who claims to have never read a word of Harry Potter quotes liberally from Harry Potter book https://t.co/DhSD0bck9q

10.41am GMT

Afternoon, folks. Last Sunday, Conor O’Shea said performances were more important than results and that he was focussed on getting a full 80-minute performance out of his team. “We need to be there after 80 minutes, fighting” he said. In the 78th minute, George North romped home from 80 metres despite only having the use of one leg for Wales’s third try to seal a 33-7 win.

The most disappointing thing for Italy is that they had been the better team in the first half and deservedly led at the break. Sergio Parisse had as good a first 40 minutes as you’ll see from a loose forward. Brendan Venter’s defence smothered Wales’s ball-carriers and poor old Dan Biggar had a bit of a nightmare. Sadly for the Italians, hosts then and again today, the wheels came off when Sam Davies came on and attacked the line.

Team Update: @RoryBest2 ruled out. @N_Scannell222 to start with James Tracy on the bench. #TeamOfUs #shouldertoshoulder pic.twitter.com/oCgZxw1znA

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/feb/11/italy-v-ireland-six-nations-live

Feb 05

Italy 7-33 Wales: Six Nations 2017 – as it happened

Wales were resurgent in the second half as they came from behind to beat Italy after they had been given a scare early on

3.59pm GMT

In the end a comfortable enough victory for Wales. The change of props was key as they began to get on top at the set piece then. They rattled Parisse and he conceded a few knocks ons and a couple of penalties too. You also have to put the three tries down to the introduction of Sam Davies; Biggar’s passivity played into the Italian defence’s hands but not so with his Ospreys rival. I’d expect the younger man to start against England next week.

That’s the first round of the 2017 Six Nations done and it’s been a decent one. That’s all from me too. Cheers for reading, I’m off to put my hands in a bowl of ice. Bye!

3.56pm GMT

Wales are looking for the bonus point and Liam Williams places a stunning little grubber inside with the outside of his boot for Gareth Davies to chase. He kicks it on, almost a carbon copy of his try against England in the World Cup. McLean secures it and Italy keep it in hand, only to concede yet another turnover. Liam Williams gets it out wide and, off balance, scrambles and twists for the line. We go to the TMO and … he’s let it slip out of his hands at the last moment! And that’s it!

3.53pm GMT

Sam Davies steps inside a broken Italian defensive line on his own 22 and passes right to North in space. He goes off down the touchline at pace, looking for all the world like someone whose hamstring is about to snap. He cuts inside the last man McLean and goes under the posts.

3.51pm GMT

77 min Poor decision making costs Italy a try. Campagnaro makes a lovely break in between the two Welsh flankers and gives it right after making a good 30 metres. It goes out wide to Bisegni on the right, but he kicks it dead from the 22.

3.50pm GMT

76 min Sam Davies grubbers it ahead for North to chase and it looks like the Northampton man might have overstretched himself vainly chasing it. He’s fine to continue but hobbling. From the lineout, Italy go inside then back left, only to turn it over and Sam Davies clears.

3.49pm GMT

74 min So we restart with an Italy scrum on their own 10-metre line. They go right and Bisegni makes a lovely little run down the right, streaming inside Liam Williams and making ground. Wales win the turnover though and send it right.

Canna is on for Padovani, who was presumably the injured man.

3.47pm GMT

There’s an Italian player down by the looks of things. Again, can’t see who. JP Doyle stops the match, and Wales make a couple of changes. Webb and Moriarty off, Gareth Davies and King on.

3.46pm GMT

73 min Stolen by Wales and cleared long to Padovani, who is immediately smothered by Webb. They go left and Venditti kicks ahead but Halfpenny collects it and returns.

3.45pm GMT

72 min It comes inside and Scott Baldwin, who appears to be on, stops his opposite number Ghiraldini coming through. It’s unplayable, Italy were going forward so they get the scrum. Tomasso Allan on for Canna.

3.44pm GMT

71 min Another penalty to Italy, side-entry to the maul by Tipuric. That’s also the sin-bin period over, but 14 points and the game conceded in it by Italy. Canna takes the throw in the middle.

3.42pm GMT

70 min Canna changes it up and goes short with the restart, and they immediately get a penalty for [Wales player] not releasing the tackled man. Canna nudges it into touch inside the 22 and Furno takes the throw at the front.

3.41pm GMT

Drilled over from the touchline.

3.41pm GMT

Tipuric takes it at the front and Wales form the maul six metres out. It goes nowhere so back inside and the forwards suck the defenders into the breakdown. Left it goes and Scott Williams delays his pass to fix the defence and create an overlap; Davies slips it wide for Liam Williams to dot down in the corner.

3.39pm GMT

66 min Liam Williams puts it up high and chases his own kick, and it looks to me as though he was taken out. The TMO checks it off-camera and says it’s fine, but then Parisse is penalised for backchat. Sam Davies kicks it to touch.

3.38pm GMT

65 min Canna sticks it into touch on the 22 as his half-back partner Gori is replaced by Bronzini. Wales nick the subsequent lineout and send it left to Halfpenny, who kicks it long into space and forces Venditti to come across.

3.36pm GMT

64 min In the meantime, there has been some kicking back and forth and now Italy are probing away at the halfway line. They get a penalty when Tipuric goes slightly high on Canna.

3.36pm GMT

63 min Hill replaces Ball for Wales, Minto comes on for Italy; not sure who went off.

“Acoustic Big Love is insanely hard to play on guitar. AND he sings at the same time. You don’t have to be a fan of The Mac to recognise he is a genius. I’ve been driving across the country all day, and only just turned the game on. Rather glad I missed the first half.” That from Matt Dony, the Welshman who only emailed the moment Wales took a comfortable lead.

3.34pm GMT

From out wide on the right, Halfpenny gets the extras.

3.34pm GMT

Again Wales go for the scrum and this time it’s steady. Webb darts round the blindside and pops it to Liam Willaism, who is stopped short. They switch it to the right and Venditti comes flying out the line, leaving a massive overlap. Scott Williams sends it on to Jonathan Davies, who goes over unchallenged. That could be the game.

3.32pm GMT

Panico comes on for the scrum.

3.31pm GMT

60 min The penalty count is 14-2 in favour of Wales, although they’re at 2-2 in the scrum. Wales get another penalty and there’s going to be a card here. Lovotti is sent to the sin-bin.

3.29pm GMT

Still 58 min Ghiraldini is penalised for collapsing the scrum. The newly confident Welsh pack wants, and gets, another scrum. Ceccarelli on for Cittadini.

3.28pm GMT

Wales opt for the scrum five metres out, down in the left-hand corner.

3.28pm GMT

58 min This time Wales run it back from the restart, Halfpenny coming into the line to take the pass and make ground up the right. Then Webb breaks and Wales are rampant! Lovely offloading, outside to Scott Williams, back inside to Tipuric and then on to Jones. They go again, Jonathan Davies to North and they break down a metre out. Back inside and Webb snipes. He’s tackled and reaches for the line; Fuser gets a hand under it though and Webb can only ground it just short. We’re going back though for a penalty against M’Banda for offside.

Bad news for Italy though as Parisse is down, his head having bumped into the hip of one of his own players. He’s continuing though.

3.24pm GMT

It’s wide on the right, midway inside the Italy half. Halfpenny’s radar is working just nicely though.

3.23pm GMT

55 min Someone is unhappy with JP Doyle. “Fuckin’ hell ref,” says Webb, allowing me to publish a swear word in the Guardian. Parisse is incorrectly pinged for offside at a ruck and Halfpenny will have another shot.

3.22pm GMT

54 min Italy changes as Furno and Campagnaro come on. Benvenutti is off, Biagi too I think. Back with the play and from the restart Jonathan Davies sends a massive long kick down the middle and Padovani, under no pressure, spills it in the middle of his own half.

3.20pm GMT

From just to the left and a decent way out, Halfpenny strokes his team in front.

3.19pm GMT

52 min We’re going back to the TMO to check on a tackle by Steyn on Moriarty. It’s a lift and a drive back into the ground, but he controlled it and went to ground with his man. It’s a penalty to Wales, which I reckon is harsh. Halfpenny to go from 42 metres for the lead.

3.17pm GMT

51 min It’s very scrappy but Jonathan Davies sweeps up the loose ball as it comes squirting out the back of the scrum.

3.16pm GMT

50 min High from Halfpenny and Parisse can’t hold on. Scrum Wales, five inside the Italy half. Wales are going to make a couple of changes: both props off, Evans and Francis on.

3.15pm GMT

49 min Wales were lucky to get that penalty, which is punted down the left to touch with little angle to work with. From the breakdown at the lineout, Webb goes high and Parisse secures it. Canna clears.

3.14pm GMT

48 min The result of that is a Wales scrum a metre outside their 22, near the touchline. It’s a powerful effort from Italy but they go too early and concede a penalty.

“Alun-Wyn Jones has got to be Lions captain hasn’t he?” asks Craig Trainor. “The leadership he’s shown in this second half so far has been magnificent.” I can’t imagine he won’t be.

3.13pm GMT

47 min And that’s it for Gega, who is replaced by the experienced Ghiraldini. From the restart, it’s cleared to Bisegni, who puts it up high and Parisse is just unable to reclaim it, running off the pitch and coming back in to jump against Sam Davies but he can’t hold on.

3.12pm GMT

Back to within a point then.

3.12pm GMT

46 min Again Liam Williams comes into midfield and carries to within 15. Alun Wyn Jones drives on and Gega is penalised for not rolling away. Penalty right in front.

3.11pm GMT

45 min Jake Ball is bleeding from near the eye and looks like Carrie White.

3.08pm GMT

44 min The maul is formed and Liam Williams cuts in off his wing to take it. Wales are unable to get any fluency to their passing though with the Italian rush defence looking strong. They win the turnover and, after a number of probes, Padovani slices his clearance into touch inside his 22.

Incidentally I credited some analysis to David Flatman earlier, but it’s Ben Kay.

3.07pm GMT

43 min Gori box kicks clear to touch down the right, halfway inside his own half.

3.06pm GMT

42 min Kicked to Halfpenny who goes high, then Parisse is unable to collect. Jonathan Davies, who cannot pass, kicks into the 22 and Padovani fields.

3.05pm GMT

41 min Davies, on for Biggar kicks off. Italy clear and Wales come back with Owens taking it over the 10 metre line, but he’s turned over very well by Lovotti and McLean kicks into the 22. Halfpenny’s return is half-charged down so Owens is allowed to play it on halfway, then Davies kicks to Padovani in the 22.

3.04pm GMT

Sam Davies is indeed on at half-time.

3.01pm GMT

“What sort of weird alternative-facts universe are we living in,” asks Robin Hazlehurst, “with Scotland and Italy top of the table as it stands and playing the most attractive attacking rugby, and Wales and Ireland on the bottom. Seems the championship decider will be on the final weekend after all, but in Edinburgh, not Dublin!”

3.00pm GMT

Brendan Venter’s fingerprints were all over that Italian performance. The backline have been up in Wales’s faces so, so quickly and the midfield has been forced to kick nearly every time they’ve had possession. I reckon Sam Davies will be on at half-time.

2.49pm GMT

40 min Through the phases but then Warburton gets over it, forces McLean to hold on on the ground and it’s a penalty to Wales. Off the field it goes and that’s half-time. It looked as though Sam Davies was about to come on there.

2.48pm GMT

39 min Now they go wide right to Bisegni, who pops it back inside as he’s tackled. It’s intercepted but Williams is dragged into touch. Italy take it quickly and sling it across the line with Wales slightly off-guard. They’re up to within 10 now, but Wales’ defence is so quick to reset.

2.47pm GMT

38 min Italy are into the 22 now but Tipuric drives Gori a long way back. Smith goes for the turnover and wins it, but then loses it again. Wales slowing it down very well now.

2.46pm GMT

37 min Canna restarts long to Jonathan Davies, who kicks back. Parisse then launches it high, chases and collects his own kick just outside the 22. I wish I was Sergio Parisse. Italy go left along the 22 and look for gaps.

2.44pm GMT

With a rather massive scar under his right eye, Halfpenny steps up from about 30 metres, off to the right, and he thuds it through.

2.43pm GMT

… for an HIA.

2.43pm GMT

It’s Fuser, who is now standing up. He’ll still be replaced by Josh Furno.

2.42pm GMT

There are a couple of players down. For Wales it’s Biggar but he looks OK. The cart is on for an Italian whose face and number are both obscured from my view.

2.41pm GMT

35 min Penalty Wales for tackler not rolling away. JP Doyle tells Rhys Webb that if he appeals for a decision again then he’ll penalise him. That’s funny, because no one likes scrum halfs.

2.40pm GMT

34 min Scott Williams is scythed down but his body position is good and Wales can send quick ball out to the left. Italy slow it down around their 22. As Flats notes on the telly, Italy are putting just one man into every breakdown.

2.39pm GMT

33 min It’s not technically great but Parisse still comes off the back of it and Padovani clears long to Biggar. Wales run back through North, then Fuser takes out Webb before the No9 had his hands on the ball. Penalty, which Biggar kicks to touch near the Italy 22.

2.38pm GMT

32 min In fact North was dragged into touch before he spilled it forwards, so it’ll be an Italy lineout.

2.37pm GMT

31 min From the restart, Gori passes back to Jon Snow* lookalike McLean, who whacks it down the left and into touch. Wales lineout 13 metres inside the Italy half and Jon Davies crashes it up the middle. They go left, then right and North knocks on in the tackle.

*The Game of Thrones one.

2.36pm GMT

That was easy.

2.36pm GMT

Parisse takes it off the base and pops it sublimely inside to Steyn, who is stopped a couple of metres short by Ball. Back inside and Wales hold it up, forming the maul. That’s a mistake as Italy are far, far too powerful and from a couple of metres they send the Welsh reeling back under their own posts! Gori at the bottom of it.

2.33pm GMT

He does.

2.33pm GMT

27 min Wales are twisted this way and that and are penalised for not driving straight. If I was Parisse I’d go for another scrum here.

2.32pm GMT

You’re putting in a shift this weekend @DanLucas86. Wales should win this, but then we said the same for Ireland. O’Shea needs a fiery debut

2.31pm GMT

25 min Italy shove Wales off their own ball and here goes Parisse! He takes a line right to left and exchanges offloads with Canna. Wales can’t cope with the No8 and he goes straight through them, up to the line. Cittadini has a go but is held up. Italy have a five-metre scrum. What a player Parisse is.

2.30pm GMT

24 min It’s a Wales scrum just outside their 22 and about 10 metres in from the left. I tell you this because I have plenty of time while they reset said scrum.

2.28pm GMT

23 min North kicks and this time Padovani runs it back, cutting a swath down the left and finding Parisse, who barrels into the 22. Right they go and Wales’s defensive line is intact. Gori knocks it on midfield.

2.27pm GMT

22 min Kick tennis for a full 51 seconds, before North calls a mark five metres in from touch. That wasn’t the most memorable minute.

2.26pm GMT

21 min The scrum is as steady as you’ll see so Italy go into midfield. Back to the fly-half who puts up another high one for Liam Williams in his own 22. This time he does – just – claim it and calls the mark.

2.25pm GMT

20 min We have a TMO referral when the ball comes off Jonathan Davies’s knee. He kicks it in goal and dives for the ball, but Lovotti just managed to fall on it first. Canna kicks the drop-out long and Liam Williams spills it on halfway with Bisegni bearing down.

2.23pm GMT

19 min Webb tries to go himself after the maul is stalled. He’s brought down five metres out but Smith drives through for a couple more. Siox, seven, eight phases and they crab right.

2.22pm GMT

18 min That’s brilliant defence from Italy, sending the maul back five metres. Down it goes and Wales haven’t used it, but Doyle says that it had been pulled down by someone. Another penalty and another kick to the bottom-left corner.

2.21pm GMT

17 min Owens throws and Warburton takes. Another penalty as Biagi took out the jumper. Back to the corner.

AWJ is back on.

2.20pm GMT

16 min Benvenutti comes flying into the ruck and takes Webb out without the ball. Penalty Wales and Biggar pops it into the corner.

2.19pm GMT

15 min The lineout is nicked but Wales can’t gather cleanly and it’s flung behind the backline. Webb snipes and Smith carries though and that takes them into the Italian 22. Sticking with the forwards for now.

2.18pm GMT

14 min Biggar chips across from right to left and again it’s perfectly weighted. Liam Williams gathers it perfectly and tries to go outside Canna, who drags him into touch near the 22.

2.17pm GMT

13 min Tipuric takes it at the front and goes to ground but it’s slow ball, so Wales keep it in the tight. Biggar kicks in behind Bisegi for Liam Williams to chase, but the full-back Padovani gets on to it in double quick time. Once again, Italy clear comfortably to the 10 metre line.

2.16pm GMT

11 min Oh, it appears there was a Welsh hand there as Italy have the scrum. It’s solid, back to Padovani on the right and he launches it to touch down the right. Textbook exit, that.

2.15pm GMT

10 min 38 metres out Wales just about win the lineout, Ball taking it under pressure from Parisse. Italy’s line speed is very, very quick, hence all the kicks over the top so far. This time they keep it in hand though and Tipuric crabs a few metres forwards. But Fuser strips him and Italy go left with Parisse acting the playmaker. It’s knocked on in midfield though.

2.13pm GMT

9 min For the first time, Italy are under a bit of pressure. It’s short to Biagi and he drops it, but backwards and McLean is able to hoof it clear well.

2.12pm GMT

8 min And that’s more like it from the Welsh forwards as Cittadini collapses the scrum and concedes a penalty. Biggar puts it to touch on the right a few metres inside Italy’s half. From that they go wide left and Halfpenny, up into the line, tries to make some ground. Back right and Tipuric gets over the gainline, then Biggar grubbers to touch inside the 22.

2.11pm GMT

7 min It comes to nothing though as Fuser is driven back well and Gori fumbles it at the back of the ruck. Scrum Wales, around 25 metres from their own line.

2.10pm GMT

6 min Lineout to Italy on the 22 and Parisse takes. The forwards pick and go at the Welsh tacklers, keeping it tight.

2.09pm GMT

5 min North took a slight knock there as Venditti caught him in the thigh with his knee as they contested the ball. Absolutely no intent and North should be just fine I imagine. First scrum, nine metres inside the Italian half and wide on the Welsh right. It’s an excellent scrum from the home side, unsurprisingly, and the Nicky Smith goes to ground. Penalty Italy and Canna kicks to touch down the left.

Cap’n Jones is off for a blood replacement, the Dragons’ Cory Hill on for a Six Nations debut.

2.06pm GMT

3 min From just beyond the 10 metre line but off to the right, Halfpenny removes his scrum cap, steps up and, oddly, fires a long way wide to the right. Canna’s drop out is long and taken by Liam Williams, who is well scragged. Back to Biggar and he goes for the cross-kick but North spills it. Lovely kick though.

2.04pm GMT

2 min High from Biggar and Wales get the penalty as Canna obstructs the chaser. Halfpenny will go for goal from around 50 metres.

2.03pm GMT

At JP Doyle’s signal, Canna gets us away. Biggar clears but misses touch and Venditti carries it to the 10 metre line, but Wales quickly win the turnover. Left to Jonathan Davies and he steps up over the halfway line.

1.59pm GMT

The players are out for the anthems. Meanwhile, Simon McMahon has emailed in: “Fleetwood Mac puns, Dan? You should know us better than that. Tusk, Tusk!” Honk.

1.46pm GMT

Eddie Jones is basically Lindsey Buckingham.

@DanLucas86 Lindsey Buckingham nailed a universal truth in an interview – “Anyone who is any good at anything knows they could be better”

1.43pm GMT

@DanLucas86 question: why is it that people think Italy away is so “tricky” for Wales? 5 Lions on the team, 10 payer who have won 6 N

Well yes, but Alex Cuthbert is a Lion and has won the Six Nations and he doesn’t exactly improve teams. As mentioned below, Italy don’t tend to concede many in Six Nations openers. The team selection is conservative from Howley and there are a lot of out-of-form players. Wales are favourites but don’t take the win for granted against an improving Italy.

1.41pm GMT

On the telly, the discussion is around concussion. One thing they do have in this championship – that I believe is not the case in the Premiership – is independent head injury assessors. This is really something that should happen at all games.

1.34pm GMT

If you’ve got a spare 45 minutes, Nigel Owens was on Desert Island Discs today. By all accounts it’s very much worth a listen – I haven’t heard it yet but by the looks of things it’s a very emotional episode.

Related: Rugby referee Nigel Owens considered chemical castration after sexuality struggle

1.25pm GMT

A bit more on Italy.

@DanLucas86 Yep, it’s still not ideal but their average points conceded for R1 is 27, by R5 it leaps to 38.

1.24pm GMT

Happy 40th birthday, by the way, to this stone cold classic album. And the greatest breakup song of all time.

1.18pm GMT

Conor O’Shea talks. “We have a big responsibility to the future of Italian rugby.” He says that mentality is half the battle and he needs to get the side out of the mindset of losing games after losing games. “The important thing today is playing for 80 minutes. We need to be there after 80 minutes fighting.” He also says the presence of the Italian president shows the changing perception of rugby in the country. He’s a very impressive coach.

1.13pm GMT

This is an outstanding stat and not one I had ever even considered, so unlikely does it sound.

@DanLucas86 Afternoon Dan, good point on a tricky start for Wales. Italy, on average, concede the least amount of points in Round 1.

7.36pm GMT

Afternoon, folks. It is a mixture of the new and the old today. New coaches for a new Six Nations on both sides and, for Wales, a new captaincy era. Alun Wyn Jones leads the side as the permanent captain for the first time and a trip to Rome is arguably the trickiest start he could have asked for.

Wales should beat Italy. They are, as ever, expected to beat Italy. They have won the past 10 against their hosts today but Jones has tasted defeat in Rome before. Furthermore, this is a better Italian side than that which faded so badly in the 2016 championship. They come into this championship off the back of a startling win over South Africa in the autumn. And their new coach, Conor O’Shea, is not only the single nicest man in rugby but has assembled a very good a coaching team in Mike Catt and Brendan Venter. These three, along with Sergio Parisse, will at least have instilled in Italy the belief that they can win.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/feb/05/italy-v-wales-six-nations-2017-live

Feb 04

England 19-16 France: Six Nations – as it happened

England laboured to victory at Twickenham, requiring a late Ben Te’o try to secure a record 15th win in a row

6.46pm GMT

So England get the win, their 15th in a row and therefore set a new national record. They won’t exactly be celebrating that though as it was a very poor performance and arguably the first step backwards under Eddie Jones. There was a real lack of cohesion compared to Ireland and Scotland especially earlier. They’ll hope that’s something that will be righted quickly or else they will lose their unbeaten record pretty quickly.

Cheers for reading and for all your emails. Bye!

Related: Ben Te’o comes to England’s rescue after France threaten shock victory

6.42pm GMT

It’s a very powerful scrum and Picamoles comes off the back of it, carrying France up over halfway. It goes back left and Fickou is absolutely monstered by Te’o. It’s a penalty to France but Doussain has missed touch! With a couple of seconds to go though, Nowell boots it back into French hands. Both of those were abysmal kicks: Doussain for the execution, Nowell for the decision. France try and run it back but hold on in contact, England get the penalty and – to their immense relief – the win.

6.38pm GMT

79 min A few phases see the ball crab infield along the 10 metre line before Care knocks it on at the back of a ruck. Scrum France, with a minute to go. Louis Picamoles is named man of the match, as if there was anyone else who has been on the No8’s level today.

6.37pm GMT

78 min Machenaud, from his own line, clears very well to touch on the England left. He made a good 35 metres with the box kick, which was pretty central too. Itoje takes it and England once again keep it locked in the maul.

6.36pm GMT

77 min France scrum 15 or so out from their own line. England will be happy with the territory at least. It’s a mess and Picamoles is swamped at the back of it.

6.35pm GMT

76 min Itoje takes and we have a maul on the 22. Care goes round the corner and pops it to Nowell, who can’t get through but then George makes ground down the middle. Taken into contact but then Wood runs straight into the back of Dan Cole and concedes the scrum for accidental offside.

6.34pm GMT

75 min Penalty against Maynardier for entering the ruck at the side. The referee, who has been poor, played the advantage for a fair while despite it being obvious England were never going to use it. To touch again, on the left, on the 22.

6.33pm GMT

74 min England turn it over and France spin it right quickly. Nakaitaci steps brilliantly to get past Nowell but then offloads it outside to Vakatawa, who was right on the touchline. Another lineout to England, this time just inside his own half.

6.32pm GMT

73 min An exchange of kicks leaves England with a lineout just inside the French half. It was nearly so much better for France as Iturria was close to pinching it from the restart with a lovely athletic leap.

6.30pm GMT

72 min That extra power has told then for England. Meanwhile Maynardier, Doussain, Huget and Arthur Iturria come on for Guirado, Lopez, Lamerat and Vahaamahina. This is Iturria’s Test debut.

6.29pm GMT

From out on the left, Farrell’s conversion goes inside the near post and England lead by three.

6.28pm GMT

And there it is. Haskell bounces off Goujon top get England on the front foot then, at the next phase, Te’o comes off Farrell’s shoulder and barges over for a try on his Six Nations debut!

6.27pm GMT

70 min The maul is stationary so Care gives it to Te’o to bust the gainline. He does so, as does Haskell after him. Left again and Farrell slips but it’s still there, just five metres out. England have the advantage for offside against Fickou so they go to the backs and Nowell is so nearly through! Another advantage for the same offence…

6.25pm GMT

69 min England penalty at the scrum, Slimani going to ground. It’s on the French 10 metre line but very wide on the right. Rather than give it to Daly for a shot at goal, Farrell sticks a good penalty into touch midway between the 22 and the tryline on the right. Ben Te’o is on for Ford., Nowell for Joseph.

6.24pm GMT

68 min “Bonus points or not, I’m thoroughly enjoying the start of this year’s tournament! Almost enough to make me forget about other sports today.” This from Wales fan Matt Dony, who has forgotten what Rob Howley’s Wales look like.

6.23pm GMT

67 min Machenaud goes sniping down the blindside from a maul, stepping past Care and Mullan. The former catches him though, drags his opposite number down and Machenaud knocks on.

6.22pm GMT

66 min Kicked away poorly by Vakatawa now. Ford responds with a much better effort, into touch midway inside the France half on the England right. Care is on for Youngs, who has been poor. Mullan replaces Marler.

6.21pm GMT

65 min A nice little loop around from Ford but then knocked on by Daly. Machenaud kicks it up for Brown to field inside his own half then Youngs goes high to Spedding. Now France can run it as he steps past Farrell before they go wide. Nothing on for the big wings yet, which is some consolation for England.

6.19pm GMT

64 min I’ll be honest, I’m not overly keen on this referee’s pernickety approach to the scrums. More resets.

Lovely try from France that. So at least we can bring Wade on for some magic. Wait! What? @DanLucas86

6.18pm GMT

Actually he’s on for Launchbury. Goujon is on for France in place of Chouly. Crikey this is a good squad France have.

6.18pm GMT

63 min Taken up to the 22 by England’s forwards but you feel like a knock-on is inevitable, whereas with England last season you always sensed there might be an opportunity from this kind of position. There is a knock on, in fact, albeit by Lopez looking for an interception. Haskell on for, I think Wood.

6.16pm GMT

62 min Cleared well to touch by Lopez. and England will go again from around 40 metres.

“Evening Dan,” begins Oliver Thorpe. “This morning we went to see the Spanish Army vs Navy rugby match, raising funds for the Spanish cancer charity. 98-7 to the army was the final score. Not since Trafalgar has the Navy been so heavily beaten but fairdinkum, they’ve only been playing for 2 years and never lowered their heads.”

6.15pm GMT

Knocked over from right in front and France have the lead they deserve.

6.14pm GMT

France get a free-kick and send it quickly left, with Fickou looking to put Nakaitaci into space. He’s brought down but France recycle inside the 22. Marler drags Slimani down to halt their momentum. Recycled again, slowly, until Gourdon trundles over Brown. Slimani is inside to add the finish from close range.

6.12pm GMT

58 min May turns on the afterburners and goes soaring into the French half, but then Farrel’s kick for the corner from halfway is a yard or so out and Vakatawa ensures it goes dead. French scrum right in the middle of the park.

6.11pm GMT

57 min Now the forwards batter away at the French defence, before May comes in off his wing and knocks on in contact. Machenaud on for Serin. From the ensuing scrum they go right and look to put Nakaitaci into space but there’s nothing there for him, so Machenaud clears.

So @EnglandRugby are missing the Vunipola brothers, and how good is Picamoles

6.09pm GMT

56 min Dylan Hartley’s first match for two months is over, as Jamie George replaces him. He’s the form hooker in England, too. From the restart England maul it up towards their own 10 metre line, then Lamerat is penalised for offside going for the interception. To touch on the right, 25 out.

6.07pm GMT

This time, from 10 metres and just to the left, Farrell does put England in front for the first time.

6.07pm GMT

54 min Lamerat kills the ball stone dead five metres from his own line and is somehow not sent to the sin-bin. Penalty only.

6.06pm GMT

53 min Farrell comes on the wrap around and England’s backs go along the line but, more importantly forward at pace. A couple of phases and France are going backwards at pace – England to within five…

6.05pm GMT

52 min Kicked to touch and England go quickly off the top from around the French 10 metre line. After a couple of phases though they turn it over and Vakatawa looks to go down the left before being dragged out. Haskell needs to come on soon.

6.04pm GMT

51 min Picamoles goes barrelling into Farrell and somehow the Saracens man stands him up. That was a massive collision. Picamoles is held up so England will have the turnover scrum. In fact they’ll have a penalty back in their 22 for a slightly high accidental tackle by Gourdon. I think I’d rather have had the scrum.

6.03pm GMT

50 min France drive up to their own 10 metre line whence Serin goes high and Vakatawa claims. Back to Lopez who kicks cross field to the corner and May collects before going off on one of those sideways runs. Ford is then forced to kick down the middle as May is going nowhere.

6.01pm GMT

49 min Hartley and Guirado are told to “stop playing silly buggers” by Gardner for going head to head, prompting perhaps the first ever apology for the referee’s language on ITV. It’s a mess of a scrum and the new props on the French side force England’s front row to pop up. Penalty France and Spedding finds touch.

5.59pm GMT

48 min Secured at the front by France but Launchbury gets in there and holds the maul up to win a scrum for England five metres out. Great work from the Wasp.

5.58pm GMT

47 min Oh wonderful from Ford! England secure very slow ball in midfield but then the No10 delays for an age before sending Farrell gliding through a gap. He sends it flat and wide to Daly who goes flying into the corner from the 22, but he’s just dragged into touch by a great tackle from Nakaitaci.

5.56pm GMT

46 min Into touch on the left, midway inside the French half. They go inside then back left to Joseph who chips over the top yet again. This time it’s a better kick but Serin reads it and dots down for the 22 drop out.

Props Atonio and Baille are replaced by Slimani and Chiocci.

5.55pm GMT

45 min From the lineout Picamoles thunders his way into the 22. It’s recycled and he thunders through again, getting France to within 10! But then a massive hit by Lawes on Serin secures turnover ball and England clear. Spedding bounces off Farrell with ease but then hold on in the tackle.

5.53pm GMT

43 min 15 metres in and 35 out, Farrell gives England the… oh no he’s hit the post. Vakatawa runs it back down the France left and chips ahead, but Ford gets back well and England make their exit from their own 22.

5.52pm GMT

42 min “Shifting across again” says Angus Gardner, who awards a penalty to England against Atonio. He awarded a free-kick for that in the first half. And people say the laws are difficult to understand.

5.51pm GMT

41 min Lopez kicks off and Itoje takes it just outside his 22. Up it goes from Youngs and Picamoles takes it. It’s knocked on at the next phase though and Hartley secures the ball for England, who send it left and Brown stabs it down the line for Daly to chase. France try to take it quickly but it’s not straight and England will have a scrum midway inside the France half.

5.49pm GMT

The players are back out. Goody.

5.48pm GMT

Robin Hazlehurst is similarly unimpressed/secretly gleeful: “Rubbish? Course it was rubbish, it is the third-fourth match, and when have they ever been good. Wait for the wooden spoon playoff tomorrow. Has today shown that bonus points are irrelevant? One of these teams will join Ireland in getting one…”

5.46pm GMT

“That was the worst half of rugby under Eddie Jones” Sir. Clive Woodward

See? France were much the better side and the only one that looked like scoring a try. George Ford is, I think, playing in this match and Ben Youngs has looked like the Ben Youngs that plays for Leicester rather than he of the autumn.

5.35pm GMT

That was rubbish.

5.35pm GMT

40 min Knocked on as France tried to be a bit too clever in the tight. England go left but Joseph’s kick is poor and allows France to counter. Vakatawa comes forward and slips but then Spedding speeds into the line and only a strong tackle from Farrell stops him. Recycled and Lopez kicks across, where it’s tapped back for Lamerat 10 metres out on the right. He’s tackled by Brown though, hold on and Farrell kicks the penalty out.

5.33pm GMT

39 min Youngs box kicks to touch from the restart and finds touch on halfway. Picamoles, fielding it with a foot in touch, thought it had been kicked from outside the 22 but alas. Taken in and France form the maul.

5.31pm GMT

From 50 metres with the angle, Daly sends it through with 10 to spare. Scores level.

5.31pm GMT

37 min Baille penalised for pushing before the ball is in and England get the penalty just inside the France half. Daly will take this.

5.30pm GMT

37 min England get the free-kick for France shifting across on the far side. England opt for another scrum.

Picamoles is struggling by the way.

5.29pm GMT

36 min This time Lopez is off target though from 42 metres. That was his easiest so far. England clear long to Spedding, who is wrapped up on halfway. Recycled but then the pop inside from Guirado to Lamerat is forward. Not a great minute for France.

5.28pm GMT

34 min An exchange of kicks then Vakatawa gathers his own chip one handed. He’s tackled on the 10 metre line then Wood dives on the ball emerging from ruck and is penalised. That was harsh: it looked out of the ruck to me.

5.26pm GMT

33 min Now Ford kicks ahead but it’s abysmal, so Lopez boots it clear from his own 22.

5.26pm GMT

32 min Serin clears into the arms of Brown, who runs back and is brought down by Gourdon just beyond halfway. A couple of balls later it goes loose and England reel backawrds once again.

5.24pm GMT

31 min England go to the backs straight away before Cole drives over the gainline. Into the 22 and through the phases but then – sigh – Lawes knocks on in contact. England keep getting territory but haven’t created a single chance.

5.23pm GMT

30 min Taken quickly and France drive at the line but England win a turnover. Youngs puts Daly away and he turns on the gas before popping it back inside to Youngs. Up to halfway and Youngs is brought down, but Vakatawa goes offside at the breakdown. Farrell kicks the penalty to touch in the 22 on the left.

5.22pm GMT

28 min France lineout on halfway and from the second phase Picamoles carves the defence apart once again. What a player he is. They recycle and Lamerat makes ground before offloading out the back of the hand to Nakaitaci, only for the wing to be dragged into touch at the last minute!

5.21pm GMT

27 min Farrell finds touch inside the 22 and they go quick off the top. Farrell spins off one tackle but then it’s Wood’s turn to concede a penalty for diving off his feet. There was almost a soupçon of a try-scoring opportunity there.

5.20pm GMT

26 min Free-kick to France and Picamoles goes quickly. He can only get up to halfway so they go right, but Lamerat holds on in the tackle. I’ll be honest, it’s not flowing yet this game and the atmosphere is pretty flat.

5.18pm GMT

25 min Back from his rest, May takes the restart. After he’s tackled Youngs goes high but neither Joseph nor Picamoles is able to take it on the full – the latter accidentally tripped by Fickou and landing awkwardly. It’s French ball nonetheless, but then Atonio holds on in the tackle and England get a penalty, which Farrell kicks to touch midway inside the French half on the right. Itoje takes the lineout and England form the maul, but it’s held up and France have a scrum. Great work from Guirado and Gourdon there.

5.16pm GMT

On the France 10 metre line, 16 in from touch, Owen Farrell brings England back within three.

May returns from the sin-bin.

5.15pm GMT

22 min Kick, Vakatawa, Itoje again. Back to Lopez and he sends it high for Brown, who is well tackled by Nakaicaci as he landed. Youngs looks to snipe from the 10 metre line and England chuck it about a bit, but Angus Gardner is playing advantage so it’s a free play. And indeed we go back when it’s intercepted.

5.13pm GMT

This France team does look as unflappable as any in a long time. Lopez knocks it over from almost 40 metres and wide on the left.

5.12pm GMT

19 min They do not get a penalty and Picamole and Gourdon come away with it under great pressure from Hughes. A couple of phases but then Serin sends Picamoles away down the left after breaking tackles from Launchbury and Marler. Itoje comes racing in to catch him and catches him high.

5.11pm GMT

18 min England get everything wrong and Hartley throws it into Dan Coles’ head. Free-kick France and they take the scrum 13 metres or so inside their own half. They’ll want a penalty here.

5.10pm GMT

17 min Lineout taken by Maestri, Serin box-kicks clear to touch down the right midway inside his own half. He’s a very dangerous player the young No9.

5.09pm GMT

16 min The penalty finds touch on the France right, midway between halfway and his own 10 metre line. The throw from Guirado is too long though and Wood steals it and goes haring towards the French 22. Recycled and it goes right to Joseph, on to Daly on the right wing but his chip is overdone and goes into touch.

5.08pm GMT

15 min Chouly secures the lineout and Marler concedes a penalty for coming into the maul at the side. Not even subtle that.

“I’m just hoping for a good clean game at the end of which we can say -’Scotland! Scotland!’ – rugby was the winner,” writes Simon McMahon.

5.07pm GMT

14 min Vakatawa catches it and is driven back by Itoje. As David Flatman notes, England have concentrated on attacking France’s best strike runner from the restarts. He’s such a good pundit. It’s kicked to Brown and England come back; Ford’s attempted chip is charged down but it comes back to Daily in midfield and he sends a glorious diagonal kick into touch, 10 metres out on the bounce.

5.06pm GMT

The crowd behind the posts begin to jeer the French fly-half, before realising that his kick is actually about to clip the post on its way through.

5.04pm GMT

12 min Off the back of the scrum, Youngs slips off of Lopez. France go left and Fickou is hit low by May. He lifts the centre of the ground and the whistle goes immediately for a penalty. Fickou spun round and his chest hit the ground a split second before his head bounced off the turf. That’s going to be a yellow card for the Gloucester flyer.

5.02pm GMT

11 min From the restart May nearly wriggles clear. Youngs goes high and Joseph gives chase but can only knock it on into the hands of Spedding, who counters menacingly with a jinking diagonal run deep into the England half before he’s brought down by the last man Brown. France recycle and move it back and forth along the line, then get a scurm as Wood knocks on trying to intercept.

5.00pm GMT

About 17 or 18 metres in from the left and a few outside the 22, that’s bread and butter for Farrell.

4.58pm GMT

8 min France look to run it out of their 22 from the restart but Itoje is there to make a good tackle, so Fickou clears to Brown. Youngs’ passing hasn’t been great so far but Joseph gets the ball in his hands and shuffles up towards the 22. Back inside it comes through Wood and Chouly fails to release the man after making the tackle. England have a penalty in a near identical position to France.

4.57pm GMT

The left-footed – and much bigger than I remember – Camille Lopez drills it through to give France a deserved lead.

4.56pm GMT

6 min Twickenham is nearly silent as France, with a penalty coming, go right and Picamoles carries into the 22. He’s been excellent for a rubbish Northampton side this season. No advantage and we go back for the penalty, 30-ish metres out and off to the left.

4.55pm GMT

5 min Farrell kicks lon and France come back down the right, up ot the 10 metre line and then left, where Guirado burrows up to the 22.

4.54pm GMT

4 min Lopez sends it wide right to where both French wings are stationed. Vakatawa carries it on and his offload bounces into the hands of Nakaitaci. He bursts forward and grubbers it up for Spedding to chase and the full-back knocks on. Atonio concedes a free-kick for engaging early.

4.52pm GMT

2 min Uini Atonio is 6’6” and well over 24 stone. And Vahaamahina is behind him. Good lord.

Wales’s Matt Dony is with us. “Such happy memories of 2005. A Welsh Grand Slam (including THAT Henson penalty), the Ashes, and Istanbul. Oh yeah, and I got married. As I’m refusing to acknowledge any football has taken place, I’m investing everything in another upset here. Scotland showed the way against one favourite. Now come on France!”

4.51pm GMT

Owen Farrell kicks off and Vakatawa takes on his 22. Back to Lopez and he clears to Hughes, who comes flying into the line at pace. Launchbury takes it on and Hughes has another look, 30 metres out. Youngs then throws a poor pass to his No8 who can’t take it off his bootlaces. Scrum France midway inside their own half.

4.49pm GMT

@DanLucas86 You get tweets from Accenture Rugby and still get your tea from the machine. The humility of it all.

They’ve actually chained me to the desk for the duration of this tournament.

4.45pm GMT

Time for the anthems means I’ve just got time to get a cup of tea from the machine. And then, in five minutes, we’ll begin!

4.44pm GMT

Eddie Jones talks! He says that the selection of Elliot Daly on the wing is to give England a “third centre”. This makes sense, as he is a centre.

4.43pm GMT

Today sees the Six Nations coaches with the best and worst overall records face each other. Guy Novés is at 40% from 10, Eddie Jones with a 100% 13 from 13.

4.36pm GMT

So questions for England. How will they cope without the Vunipolas for one. They’ll certainly miss their ball-carrying although Nathan Hughes is a wonderful athlete, quick and with good hands and an eye for an offload. He should create chances for Ben Youngs to snipe. Joe Marler was the surprise of last year’s grand slam campaign but he can be a penalty machine, as can Tom Wood and James Haskell.

There is also the issue of Dylan Hartley. Just when you think he’s turned over a new leaf – and it is worth pointing out that his disciplinary record for England is excellent – he goes and does something stupid like trying to take Sean O’Brien’s head off for Northampton against Leinster. The biggest issue here though is that, as a result of that moment of idiocy, he has played no rugby in 2017. Is he fit enough? Eddie Jones thinks so and Eddie seems to know a fair bit.

4.19pm GMT

Hello. I’m just going to take a short break after MBMing the Scotland v Ireland match, so why not have a read of this? Rob Kitson talks to England’s Jonny May.

Related: Jonny May: ‘I am just trying to be my best. I’ve always had a belief inside’

9.31pm GMT

Afternoon, folks. It has been 12 years since France last won a Six Nations game at Twickenham. Back on 13 February 2005, no one knew who Rihanna was, Donald Trump was hosting a new TV show called The Apprentice, England hadn’t won the Ashes for 18 years, John Paul II was pope, Manchester City would use David James up front, social media was a weird thing from the future and your MBMer had shoulder-length curly hair (it looked terrible). The world changes and still France do not win at Twickenham. Earlier I said that there are few matches you’d be confident in calling in this year’s championship; this is one of the exceptions.

England are, of course, the overwhelming favourites. A win here would be the 15th on the bounce and a new England record. But then France are rarely easy. Even when they were poor in last year’s championship, they were not a million miles away from derailing England’s grand slam bid in Paris. They were impressive in defeat to New Zealand as they showed flickering signs of improvement in the autumn. Wesley Fofana’s injury is as much a blow to the tournament on the whole as it is to the French team but Gael Fickou is a more than handy replacement who has hurt England before.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/feb/04/england-v-france-six-nations-live

Feb 04

Scotland 27-22 Ireland: Six Nations – as it happened

Scotland, inspired by the electric Stuart Hogg, held off a second-half fightback from Ireland to win the 2017 Six Nations opener at Murrayfield

4.16pm GMT

Right, afraid I can’t hang around long. But what a performance from Scotland. Hogg was enthralling, Laidlaw as cool-headed as they come and Gray, Wilson, Watson and the replacement Barclay all tackled their backsides off. When Ireland took the lead through the excellent Jackson the momentum all seemed to be with them and Scotland teams past would have folded. Hope springs eternal for them.

Anyway, enough of that. Join me at Twickenham for England v France now!

Related: England v France: Six Nations – live!

4.12pm GMT

As I mentioned below.

4.12pm GMT

As Stuart Hogg is named man of the match, Laidlaw curls it through from wide on the left and Scotland have won on the opening weekend for only the second time in the Six Nations!

4.11pm GMT

79 min Do not expect to see the ball again if Scotland can keep their discipline. Even better, in fact, as there are Irish hands in the ruck and Scotland get the penalty themselves! This time Laidlaw will go for the posts with less than a minute to go. He just needs to wait for the clock to go red and then kick it dead.

4.09pm GMT

78 min Taken by Jonny Gray at the front but there is no momentum in the maul. Laidlaw looks to sneak round the blindside and gives it to Maitland but there’s nothing doing for him there. They go through the forwards now.

4.08pm GMT

77 min Space out wide now and Dunbar is in space and arcs into it down the left. Henshaw comes across and gets him just below the shoulder. The angle means he can’t help but slip up to the head and the Murrayfield crowd is incensed, but it’s very much accidental. No yellow card says Poite and the Irish centre is slightly lucky. Now this is interesting: Russell sticks it in the corner.

4.06pm GMT

76 min Hogg sees space and goes wide to Bennett, who chips deep into space. Murray fields the kindly bouncing ball and gives it to Zebo, who fires a very good clearance down the ground with no angle to work with. Back come the Scots.

4.06pm GMT

75 min Knocked on by Stander but Laidlaw kicks it away and Kearney is able to field. That was a missed counterattack opportunity for Scotland. Oh but then Toner throws a pass into no man’s land and Henshaw is forced to scramble back and dive on it, 30 metres from his own line. Murray kicks it.

4.04pm GMT

74 min Taken in by Jonny Gray inside his 22. Hogg launches a monster of a clearance down the middle and Kearney runs it back into the Scottish half before Zebo and Van der Flier take it down the blindside.

4.03pm GMT

Slots it. Seven minutes to go.

4.03pm GMT

72 min Right on the 22 Barclay takes it into contact and Jackson fails to roll away, conceding the penalty! Laidlaw, from 22 metres and just to the right, to retake the lead.

4.02pm GMT

71 min Hogg boots the penalty down the left and into touch in the Irish half. Barclay wins it just outside the 22 but it’s scrappy and thus slow ball. Swinson then Fagerson carry inside.

“If Scotland win this I’ll invent a new cocktail just for Mr Dony,” writes Simon McMahon. “Let’s call it the Grand Slammer. Three parts whisky, two parts Italian vermouth, one part Benedictine, dash of bitters, ice, garnished with hope.”

4.01pm GMT

70 min John Ryan, the Munster prop rather than the angry man who emails into the cricket OBOs, is on for Furlong. Ireland win the lineout and go right but Henshaw is well tackled by Ford. Van der Flier carries well over the gainline but the supporting forwards go off their feet and Scotland get a penalty.

3.59pm GMT

69 min Cleared now by Hogg from deep and Bowe is safely under it 15 metres inside the Scotland half. Ringrose and Jackson combine nicely in midfield but then Kearney throws a pretty miserable pass straight into touch on the left. Scotland, to no one’s great surprise, go for the lineout.

@danlucas86 Hi Dan, thought you might be interested to know that between 2012 & 2016, Scotland conceded 23% of penalties in last 10 minutes.

3.57pm GMT

68 min Taken by Toner at the back, who gives it to Dillane but the big Ulsterman knocks on. Scotland will look to run it from deep.

Bowe on, Earls off.

3.57pm GMT

67 min Murray clears and Russell takes only to be stripped by Van der Flier. He’s a very exciting, quick player and it could be that the more dynamic replacements will help Ireland see this out. It’s been a marvellous comeback from them and O’Brien and Jackson especially. Jackson chips towards the corner, Hogg fields and is dragged out by Earls.

3.55pm GMT

66 min Turned over though in the 22 and Laidlaw boots it deep and into space. Zebo goes back and collects as a tired looking Seymour gives pursuit, and his clearance is deflected on its way into touch on the right, midway inside the Ireland half. Toner wins the lineout.

Strauss and O’Brien go off, Swinson and Van der Flier come on.

3.53pm GMT

65 min A poor box kick goes to Seymour midway inside the Ireland half, but he’s turned over so Murray and Maitland exchange kicks. Murray then goes high and Hogg, leaping to take it, is taken out by his own man giving Ireland possession and good territory. Carried up towards the 22.

Dillane is on for Henderson.

3.52pm GMT

A simple conversion gives Ireland the lead.

3.52pm GMT

After a series of drives they go to the backs and Ringrose gets Ireland on to the front foot. It’s recycle and Jackson goes through, Strauss bounces off him and the No10 stretches to touch it down.

3.50pm GMT

61 min Taken by Toner but it goes to ground. Henshaw gathers the scrappy lineout ball and carries it up before they go left and through the phases. Furlong goes through low and gets up to within 15 before they reset. Again the inside centre hits the line from deep on the crash ball. They’re back outside the 22 but Heaslip makes ground against Russell.

3.48pm GMT

60 min Ford goes long and Richie Gray takes the ball safely. Scotland look to make a bit of ground through the forwards, fail to do so and Russell has to kick from deep inside his in-goal area. It’s into touch for an Ireland lineout on the Scotland left, just inside the 22. Bennett replaces Huw Jones, who has made a couple of mistakes today.

3.47pm GMT

59 min Now it’s Ireland’s turn to try and drive their way through Scotland, midway inside the home side’s half. Zebo slips through and gives it to Kearney, who surges down the right towards the line. Maitland comes back and makes a brilliant tackle, dragging the powerful full-back’s foot on to the touchline just as he gave it inside to Earls to touch down. What an effort!

3.45pm GMT

57 min Barclay takes it in as Healy comes on for McGrath in the Ireland front row. Scotland are looking to bash Ireland out the way now and I’m not convinced that’s the most effective rout. Russell then looks to kick and it bounces off Murray, who turns and gathers it in space! He goes on a weaving diagonal run towards the middle and gives to Heaslip. Dunbar catches him and the No8 offloads out the tackle but Maitland has read it beautifully. Cleared to touch on the 10 metre line.

3.43pm GMT

56 min Gordon Reid on for Dell, who has taken some punishment today. Russell, from his own 22 and centre-field, finds touch just inside his own half on the right.

3.42pm GMT

55 min Now there is a gap and it’s caused by O’Brien’s bullocking run! Up to the 22 now and Ireland can sniff the lead. Back inside to Heaslip but he is smothered by Barclay. Screams of “Sir! Sir!” as it becomes evident that the Ireland No8 is holding on in the tackle and he’s penalised accordingly.

3.41pm GMT

54 min Through the hands and Ringrose’s cute pass almost puts Earls through a gap! He’s scragged and Ireland have it a few metres inside the Scotland half.

3.40pm GMT

54 min Slow show now from Scotland. Maybe a drop-goal? Glasgow should have gone for one from a similar position against Munster a couple of weeks ago. They don’t do it here and Stander wins the turnover.

3.39pm GMT

53 min Richie Gray takes at the back and Laidlaw quickly sends it into the middle. Crashed up then the ball goes loose but into the hands of Hogg who wriggles away from Earls just outside the 22. Of course he wriggles away, he is a near impossible player to tackle.

3.38pm GMT

52 min Best finds Toner and Murray box kicks clear out the back of the maul. Scotland lineout just outside the 22 on their right as Russell returns. Weir can be happy with his contribution.

3.37pm GMT

51 min Up it goes from Laidlaw close to the left touchline and Maitland takes nicely on the 10 metre line. Scotland recycle and Weir spots space behind Zebo. He finds touch with a stunning cross-field kick to the corner that bounces an inch inside touch.

3.36pm GMT

50 min Weir restarts as Scotland make another change, Barclay for Watson, who made 20 tackles in the match. Ireland kick the restart back and Hogg yet again nearly goes through down the right only to be scragged round the collar by Heaslip. They go left and Jones goes backwards aftter juggling it.

3.35pm GMT

Jackson converts from the left comfortably.

3.34pm GMT

Murray snipes and is stopped just inches short. Scotland are short of tacklers around the fringes though and Henderson dives low and through Weir for the try. Well deserved that.

3.33pm GMT

47 min Through the phases again, Best gets to within a couple of metres…

3.33pm GMT

46 min The Scottish scrum will be stronger for having Ford in it but there is a danger of a penalty try or yellow card here, five metres from the line and right next to the posts. Scotland hold up well and Ireland’s scrum goes back so they go to the backs. Another penalty coming for offside against Jonny Gray.

3.32pm GMT

Russell is going off for an HIA after a collision with Henshaw earlier. Duncan Weir replaces him for the next 13 minutes at least.

3.31pm GMT

45 min Zebo knocks on out wide and we’ll go back for the penalty. It’s right under the posts but Ireland go for the scrum. They very much had the upper hand there in the first half.

Andy Byrne asks: “Admittedly, I’m not fully up to speed with modern-day rugby but when did 15 minute half-time breaks begin?” They’ve had them for two or three years now. I have no complaints.

3.30pm GMT

44 min Up to with 10 metres now, left then back into the centre. Jackson switches and gives to Zebo in off his wing, but he is very well marshalled by Wilson. On they go and McGrath offloads out the tackle to Stander. Back into the middle and the penalty is coming for offside against Seymour. Ireland up to within five.

3.28pm GMT

43 min Stander takes in the middle and Ireland set the driving maul. The Grays do very well to get stuck in and splinter it, so Ireland will drive through the forwards, who make ground.

This was wonderful.

3.27pm GMT

42 min Ford for Brown is a permanent change by the way. Scotland go left but hold on under pressure from O’Brien and Ireland get a penalty. Jackson finds touch just inside the 22 on the right.

3.27pm GMT

41 min No changes in terms of personnel at half-time as Jackson kicks deep to Watson in the 22. One phase, back to Hogg and into touch midway inside his own half. Massive though his boot is, he is kicking into the wind this half. Ireland’s lineout is a mess and Ford sweeps up at the back for Scotland.

3.25pm GMT

The players are coming back out. How are your nerves, Scotland fans?

3.24pm GMT

@DanLucas86 what I feared from Scotland. Decision to go for touch/tries instead of kicking for points being rued in dressing room I’d say.

The strange thing is how unimaginative Ireland have been in attack. They’ve pummelled away and you have to wonder how long Scotland can keep up tackling like this, but there has been so little behind the pack from the men in green.

3.20pm GMT

Half-time correspondence

Robin Hazlehurst writes: “So a losing bonus from the Calcutta Cup, Ireland beat England in Dublin and the championship is Scotland’s. I wasn’t joking. Hear me now, believe me later.”

I know we always talk about each year being tighter @DanLucas86 but this game just illustrates that it’s wide open. I can’t bloody wait.

3.12pm GMT

Well that was some half. Scotland have been on the back foot for most of it but were monstrous in defence and lethal in attack. Enjoy your trip to New Zealand, Mr. Hogg.

3.10pm GMT

40 min Left now and for a moment it looks like Hogg is in but Heaslip just about stops him. Right they go but Russell’s final pass is intercepted by Zebo! He kicks ahead and races Seymour. The latter gets it inside his own 22 but Zebo gets him. The Scotland forwards scrabble back and a relieved Laidlaw puts it into touch.

3.08pm GMT

39 min Taken by Wilson at the front and Scotland form the maul before Seymour comes off his wing and through the middle. Russell flings a huge pass wide to Hogg and it’s on to Maitland, who carries into the 22. Richie Gray drives through the middle and the forwards make more headway. Ireland manage to slow it down before Strauss smacks McGrath out the way.

3.07pm GMT

38 min Hogg kicks to touch down the right, midway inside the Ireland half. Ireland look very short on ideas: I imagine a lot of people in Ireland are praying for Jonny Sexton right now. The tackle count is 84-37.

3.06pm GMT

36 min Jackson finds touch on the left, around the Scotland 10 metre line. From that, Stander carries through the middle and makes ground before they go right. More phase play in midfield but then Earls goes into a ruck at the side and gives away a penalty.

“Cocktails on McMahon?” asks Matt Dony. I’m sure he’ll love you tempting fate like that.

3.04pm GMT

35 min This time Murray does clear quickly, box kicking up to halfway whence Jones barrels through Ringrose. Right it goes after a couple of phases and Russell tries to step past Heaslip but he’s brought down, then Stander gets over the ball nicely and wins the penalty for holding on.

It’s come early this year, Dan. The hope, that is. I can handle the despair etc etc,” writes Simon McMahon.

3.02pm GMT

Unperturbed by the conditions, Jackson sends it straight through.

3.02pm GMT

33 min Offside at the breakdown against Scotland. Ireland have a penalty 39 metres out, just to the left and Jackson will take on the wind and go for goal.

3.01pm GMT

32 min This time Ireland’s backs come from deep and that gives Earls the momentum to get up to the 10 metre line before they switch back to the left. Ringrose makes more ground but this is slow build-up from Ireland. Kearney is smacked backwards by, I think, Watson. Murrayfield turns up the volume.

3.00pm GMT

31 min Hogg clears down the middle and Jackson takes it on the bounce. He gives to Kearney who goes over halfway before being tackled by Gray. Left and Ringrose nearly drops it, but retains possession.

2.59pm GMT

From the right-hand touchline, Laidlaw smacks a brilliant right-footed kick straight through. Well well well.

2.58pm GMT

Oh dear! Alex Dunbar sneaks into the lineout near the front, Ford throws it flat above Laidlaw and the centre stretches to grab it and go over unchallenged. Ireland went to sleep there.

2.57pm GMT

28 min Ireland try to be clever, popping it down the blindside down the restart but Kearney drops it into the hands of Seymour on the 22. Back inside they come, slow ball so Russell grubbers down the right for his wing to chase. Zebo slides back and slides it into touch. Five metre lineout to Scotland.

2.55pm GMT

27 min From the left touchline, with the wind against him, Jackson’s kick drifts across the face of the posts. Seymour should have made that interception, by the way, as he got both hands on it.

Brown is off with a bloody nose again.

2.54pm GMT

Sloooooww ball and Ireland have the advantage. They go left and Jackson, I think it was, sends out a long looping pass for Earls. Seymour goes for the interception and misses, allowing Earls to dive over in the corner!

2.53pm GMT

25 min Ireland 10 metres out now. Heaslip and Furlong crash it up but can’t make ground so they go left. Earls tries to wriggle through but is stopped. Scotland’s defence taking a right old battering here as we go through 13, 14, 15, 16 phases…

2.52pm GMT

24 min In fact it’s ruled that he dropped it forwards so Ireland get the scrum just outside the 22, on the left. This time there is no penalty so they go right. Henshaw bashes it up then Jackson makes a half break and is desperately dragged down by Watson.

2.51pm GMT

Laidlaw curls it through. This is masterful efficiency from Scotland, who have barely had the ball.

Hogg promptly drops the restart backwards into touch.

2.50pm GMT

Actually it’s nowhere near the 22, more 15 metres inside the Ireland half. Quick ball and Strauss carries up the middle. Laidlaw gets it wide so quickly and Hogg’s pace has Kearney backpedalling. He dummies to give it to Seymour but goes himself and eludes Earls’ tackle to glide over. That was outstanding.

2.48pm GMT

20 min Hogg clears with his left foot and Zebo takes the scuffed ball on the bounce, going over the 10 metre line. He holds on in the tackle though and Scotland get what I think is their first penalty. Hogg finds touch on the right, near the 22.

2.47pm GMT

19 min Penalty to Ireland before Murray even feeds. Fagerson collapsing it this time; Laidlaw is told to give his men a talking to and, in response, asks Poite to keep an eye out for the early hit from Ireland. Jackson’s penalty is a beauty, finding touch 10 metres out, but Scotland nab the line-out for the second time.

2.45pm GMT

18 min Scotland line-out five metres inside the Ireland half. Brown’s throw – Brown is back on – isn’t straight and Ireland have another scrum. “Wonderful” thinks the Scotland hooker.

2.45pm GMT

17 min Eight metres or so inside the Scotland half, on the left, Ireland get quick ball off the top of the line-out and Zebo carries it up the middle, off his wing. Scotland are tackling like demons out there and Ryan Wilson wins turnover ball with a mighty tackle. Russell kicks deep into the 22, with the wind behind him, and Zebo returns to touch.

2.43pm GMT

16 min Jackson’s chip is charged down and Ireland go back into their own half. Up it goes from Murray and Hogg claims very well. He’s very close to the touchline though – great work from Murray that – and the full-back is forced into touch.

2.43pm GMT

15 min Out it comes and Dunbar runs it up the middle. Back it goes to Hogg and he clears 65 metres downfield to Kearney, who runs into Jonny Gray five metres inside the Scotland half.

2.42pm GMT

14 min Scotland are under horrendous pressure on their own ball. They can’t get it out the back and they will be happy Poite calls for a reset.

@DanLucas86 Ireland have the experience & a Power Packed Pack 2 make Big Vern’s men tackle like there’s no tomorrow. Close, Ireland 2 win

2.41pm GMT

13 min Ireland have another penalty: either it’s for Jonny Gray bringing the maul down or Laidlaw going offside. Take your pick, Ireland. Back to the corner they go and Toner takes it. Another maul but Romain Poite awards a scrum to the backpedalling Scots. Hmm, not sure about that: it’s for accidental offside as the maul splintered. Not sure how much of an advantage the scrum is for Scotland either.

2.39pm GMT

12 min O’Brien breaks the line and breaks one tackle before being brought down. Wilson goes off his feet and it’s an Ireland penalty on the left. Jackson declines the points and knocks it into the corner. Ireland can play to their old strengths here.

2.38pm GMT

11 min From the restart, Laidlaw clears and Ireland carry it back up to the 10 metre line with the back rows plugging away. Left it goes and Ringrose carries it forward before giving it wide to Zebo. Up to the Scotland 22 for the first time.

2.37pm GMT

It’s windy and it’s wide-ish on the right, but Laidlaw’s kick swirls in the wind and goes through. Simple Minds ring out around the ground, which is pleasing.

2.36pm GMT

Wide it goes, Dunbar’s pass isn’t great but Ringrose misses the interception and it goes to Hogg on the bounce. He’s got a clear run to the line from eight metres and over he goes on the right!

2.35pm GMT

8 min Now they go through the hands on the short side, Hogg then Seymour wriggling though. Back inside and Strauss drives, just a metre out! Richie Gray drives, again just short so they go to the backs…

2.34pm GMT

7 min Taken at the back by Wilson and Scotland form the maul before Watson pops short to Maitland. Quickly it goes right and Jones is stopped on the 22.

2.33pm GMT

6 min Jackson goes to touch near the Scotland 10 metre line on the left. Groundhog day was Tuesday, right? Jonny Gray pinches this one though and Hamish Watson carries up to halfway before they quickly go wide, via Hogg to Maitland and into Irish territory. Russell kicks towards the corner but it’s gone to Earls on the bounce. He slices his clearance and now Scotland have a chance.

2.32pm GMT

5 min Blood replacement early on as Brown has taken a smack in the nose. On comes the veteran Ross Ford with a nice juicy scrum to get stuck into. He does not enjoy it as Dell pops out again and concedes the penalty.

2.30pm GMT

4 min Stander carries back up to the 10 metre line on the right but eventually it’s knocked on and Scotland counter, as Laidlaw goes wide with the defence scattered. Maitland carries it on and they go back right, only for Jones to knock on. It’s another scrum in almost exactly the same place as the last one.

2.28pm GMT

3 min Ireland get the penalty as Alan Dell stands up under pressure. It took a while but Ireland with the clear advantage there. Jackson finds touch on the Ireland left and on the Scotland 10 metre line. Toner takes and Murray goes short to O’Brien, who is hammered back by Fraser Brown.

2.27pm GMT

2 min It’s knocked on by Richie Gray at the front of the lineout and we’ll have the first scrum. Big test for Zander Fagerson, who is in my fantasy Six Nations team.

2.26pm GMT

Peeeeep! Romain Poite blows his whistle and Finn Russell gets things going with a long kick to Zebo, who is tackled by Dell on the left of his 22. Back to Rob Kearney and he booms a clearance into touch midway inside his own half on the left. Good start for Scotland.

2.25pm GMT

Quickly, tweets:

@DanLucas86 it’s been hard on Mads. His ‘retirement’ to France a smart move. Sextons a hard shadow’ Jacksons well able to stand out from it.

.@DanLucas86 #SCOvIRE #SixNations live. I predict Scotland win title. I also thought Trump wouldn’t win election. https://t.co/ybLAEegkIj

2.24pm GMT

For whatever reason – possibly the volume on my TV – they never sound the loudest at Murrayfield. Once the bagpipes mercifully drop out, Flower of Scotland still sounds wonderful.

2.09pm GMT

Joost van der Westhuizen, the great South African scrum-half, is reported to be in critical condition in hospital. Thoughts are with him.

2.05pm GMT

Quiz! Er, I only got 9.

Related: How much do you know about the Six Nations (and Five Nations)? – quiz

Related: Jonny Gray’s ‘scary’ potential at the forefront of a new dawn for Scotland

2.02pm GMT

Is there more pressure on Conor Murray? “I hope not,” says Joe Schmidt. “We’ve got a lot of guys who can kick and we have a lot of confidence in Paddy Jackson.”

1.59pm GMT

“Yippeeeee” is the subject line for this email – the first of the championship! – from Robin Hazlehurst. “Ridiculously excited about this six nations, obviously (and equally obviously, just off to the pub). Is it fair to call this game the championship decider and the second game today the third-fourth play off? Ireland are obviously massive favourites for the tournament, each match, the slam, etc, and I’m sure they’ll play better with that monkey on their back. Can’t wait for this!”

I suspect Robin’s tongue is planted firmly in his

pint
cheek. But then again, Mike Aylwin reckons Scotland are going to win the whole damn thing so who knows?

Related: Six Nations predictions: back Scotland if you’re brave but Ireland are in box seat

1.47pm GMT

Elsewhere.

It’s FT here in Exeter and England U20s have got their Six Nations campaign off to a flying start Full report: https://t.co/tIKYZ7PTOQ pic.twitter.com/unIeAysHAM

1.47pm GMT

On the teams, then.

@DanLucas86 greetings from Ghana. Think you’re right about it being tight. Hope ringrose-Henshaw axis will run in a few. Jackson to do well.

1.40pm GMT

Which are not new laws. Wayne Barnes is on the telly explaining them to Jerry Guscott with various examples. It’s a fairly simple directive to be honest: don’t go for the head.

8.40pm GMT

Afternoon folks. It’s back! It’s that time of year when we get excited after watching some excellent rugby in the autumn and in the final two rounds of the European Cup. A time rich with promise, with intrigue and with high hopes. And then, in two days’ time, it all feels a bit of a damp squib of an opener. It is the Six Nations.

It is apt then, that we kick off the 2017 championship in Scotland. Once again they looked good in the autumn, picking up a very good win over Argentina and suffering another late defeat after giving Australia a scare. They play with as much verve and attacking intent as anyone in the northern hemisphere but, for whatever reason, tend to regress in February.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/feb/04/scotland-v-ireland-six-nations-live

Jan 29

India v England: second T20 international – live!

4.23pm GMT

14th over: England 93-3 (Stokes 17, Root 30) target 145 Raina is also going to bowl through. Stokes backs away and thumps his first ball back down the ground for England’s first boundary in – by my count – 28 balls. The next ball he plays similarly, only now going over the top for a straight six. Root misses out on a full-toss, but England won’t mind too much given that’s an over that went for 13, doing a bit of damage to Raina’s figures: none for 30 from his four but just 17 off the first three.

4.18pm GMT

13th over: England 80-3 (Stokes 5, Root 29) target 145 Mishra is into his final over. India’s fielding in the outfield is so good that even on a ground this size expected twos are being kept to ones. Root looks to sweep, misses and Dhoni removes the stumps, but he’s absolutely fine. Mishra finishes with an excellent one for 25.

4.15pm GMT

12th over: England 77-3 (Stokes 3, Root 28) target 145 A third over for Raina and why not – his first two went for just nine and not a boundary among them. This is a more inauspicious start though, as a wide is followed by two wides. He thinks he’s got Root with a full one but it’s

probably
just missing leg, Hawkeye confirms. Those two wides mean this is a fairly long over for a spinner, and it goes for a handy eight runs.

“Morgan 17 c McMahon b Lucas” honks McMahon.

4.11pm GMT

11th over: England 69-3 (Stokes 1, Root 26) target 145 After a drinks break, Mishra continues and gets rid of England’s captain straight away. He almost makes a mockery of my saying he’s not a problem by taking a second wicket, but Stokes gets away with it. He can only squeeze the free hit out for a single into the off-side though. That’s sort of a shame for Mishra as it was a glorious ball, but it’s his own fault for overstepping, which is pretty unforgivable for a spinner. He appeals for lbw a couple of balls later but it’s missing leg.

“Hi Dan.” Hi, none other than Mac Millings! “Of course I’ll write you an email. It’s true that I was previously saving myself for Smyth, but then it turned out he was publishing emails from other people, too, the cad. If I may answer Andrew Benton’s poorly worded question from the 16th over of India’s innings, the real reason I don’t write in much any more is that, having fallen on hard times, I have been forced to wade into the sticky world of amateur pornography, under my nom de spume, Jack Fillings. Yours, the [insert relevant type of artist here] formerly known as Mac Millings.”

4.08pm GMT

Mishra comes round the wicket to Stokes and takes out his off-stump with a straight one! He simply played down the wrong line and … oh no he’s overstepped by a long way! Just as happened to Root in the last match, Stokes has a reprieve and free hit!

4.06pm GMT

First ball after drinks Mishra strike! Morgan slog-sweeps and immediately drops his head in disappointment as the ball comes off the lower half of the bat: Pandya is under it well inside the midwicket boundary.

4.02pm GMT

10th over: England 65-2 (Morgan 17, Root 24) target 145 Five singles from Raina’s over. It’s finely poised as the ropes come on to mop up some of the dew. India will be happy about that.

4.00pm GMT

9th over: England 60-2 (Morgan 14, Root 22) target 145 If you’re having girl problems I feel bad for you son, I got 99 problems but then man with that number on the back of his shirt ain’t one. Mishra has shelved his leg-breaks, perhaps mindful of the way Rashid took some punishment. Root gets back to back boundaries to fine-leg, the first swept from well outside leg-stump, the second inside-edged past the stumps. After the fifth ball, Kohli gets a telling off from the umpires for throwing the ball in on the bounce. He gives them a fair amount of backchat, which continues after the over is concluded: he could be in a bit of trouble for that.

“With this pair at the crease and the batting still to come, England should win this from here, eh? When’s the next World T20?” writes Simon McMahon.

3.55pm GMT

8th over: England 49-2 (Morgan 13, Root 13) target 145 Kohli said he might do this, depending on how the match was going: Raina is on for some part-time offies. After his first ball, a delay for something I’ve never seen before: they’re changing the batteries in the bails. Five off the over with not even a suggestion of a boundary, although that’s not an utter disaster in context.

In other sport, Sutton Utd have just knocked Leeds B out of the FA Cup.

Related: Sutton United v Leeds United: FA Cup – live!

3.50pm GMT

7th over: England 44-2 (Morgan 11, Root 11) target 145 This is going to be interesting: Mishra, the leggie, is on and I suspect he’s the spinner England were planning on going after. But then they probably hadn’t planned on losing two for two in the fourth over of the match. After four straight singles, Root pushes through the covers for two. He’s going to play the anchor here, which I think is fine when you’re chasing in a low-scoring ODI. He wants two off the next ball and there’s a review for a run-out when he doesn’t dive, but the replay shows he didn’t dive because he was home by miles.

Autocorrect’s Matt Dony is back: “Eight emails about me? I’m pretty much internet famous. I’d like to thank all the little people who have helped to make me so big.” You actually saved me, because your typo ensured no one noticed that I’d put Ashwin as the not-out batsman even though he’s not playing. Again, refresh, corrected and that.

3.44pm GMT

6th over: England 36-2 (Morgan 9, Root 5) target 145 Nehra is taken off, Bumrah on. Nehra was bowling so well I’d have been tempted to give him one more. Then again, the ball isn’t coming on to the bat from this medium pacer either; maybe Morgan is regretting the decision to bow first? He does get his first boundary with a nice shot, waiting on a slower ball and easing it through the covers with neat timing.

3.40pm GMT

5th over: England 29-2 (Morgan 3, Root 4) target 145 With two new men at the crease, Kohli keeps his spinner on to build up the pressure. There is a slip in for both batsmen too. Half a shout for lbw against Morgan but he got a massive chunk of bat on that. England aren’t getting tempted into going for the drives, instead just knocking it about for five singles.

Morgan’s SR in the Powerplay is just 76.71 & 64% of his balls faced are dots. There’s an argument to be made for holding him back. #IndvEng

3.35pm GMT

4th over: England 24-2 (Morgan 1, Root 1) target 145 The tactical battle between Nehra and Billings is comfortably won by the bowler as he removes the two openers with consecutive balls! The batsmen crossed when Billings was out, so Roy was on strike for the next ball but it’s Morgan who will face the hat-trick ball … and he leaves it outside off-stump. This is brilliant bowling; India will feel this is on, especially with their spinners to come. Two wickets and as many runs from the over.

“I’m going for 144 for England, too,” writes Andrew Benton. “It’s not easy going and their margin of victory last time was narrow. India’ll haul ‘em in this time to set up a thriller in the third. Billings/Millings, Dhoni/Dony … whatever/whoever next?” Naylor/James Taylor?

3.31pm GMT

Roy tries to work it into the on-side but gets a leading edge. It loops up and Raina takes a simple catch on the edge of the circle at midwicket!

3.29pm GMT

Billings comes down the track but Nehra has given him absolutely no room for the hook shot. Up it goes off the toe-end of the bat and Bumrah, coming in from long-leg, holds it.

3.27pm GMT

3rd over: England 22-0 (Roy 10, Billings 12) target 145 Now Billings goes for the big hit, sending Chahal’s full first ball high over long-on for six. A single brings Roy on strike and he goes for similar, top-edging a slog-sweep to the same region for six more. Chahal is tossing it up, trying to induce the mistimed shot, but the mid-on fielder is up in the circle so it’s safe enough for the batsmen to go that way.

3.23pm GMT

2nd over: England 7-0 (Roy 3, Billings 4) target 145 Ashish Nehra from the other end and you imagine England will look for early boundaries here. Roy, looking to drive a full one through the off-side, splits his already taped-up bat. It’s a good line from Nehra, nice and straight and not giving the batsmen any room to swing the arms. Roy goes after a short one but can only send his pull racing to the man at deep midwicket. If anything, Clive, he’s hit that too well as they only have time for one.

Eight emails now, about Matt Dony’s typo. Refresh the page and it disappears.

3.18pm GMT

1st over: England 2-0 (Roy 1, Billings 1) target 145 It’s Chahal, who removed both openers in the last match, to open up the bowling. A good move as Roy is far more comfortable with pace on the ball. Chahal is through it quicker than signatures on an anti-Trump petition and concedes just a pair of singles.

The typo in Matt Dony’s email in the 20th over of the first innings has been noted by five of you and corrected. I’ll be honest, I was concentrating on the cricket, because, you know, that’s my job.

3.14pm GMT

That wasn’t great from India, although nor was it too far short of the average first-innings score of 149 on this ground. They are an outstanding side when it comes to ground fielding, which could be important in an arena this side. And they’re back out.

3.03pm GMT

20th over: India 144-8 (Bumrah 0) Jordan to bowl the final over; don’t expect to see a huge amount in the batsmen’s half of the pitch. Dhoni swings one off his hips for a single, before Pandya gets off the mark with a bunt down the ground for two. He sends a wide down the leg-side before Pandya is run out off the third and Mishra off the fifth. Dhoni has the chance to hit a boundary off the last but then he’s out too. That’s a brilliant over from Jordan.

“I do appreciate that my email was used right after an entry that closed with ‘Enter Dhoni.’ Felt a bit like a personal introduction. It’s a simple thing, but I always enjoy hearing commentary about Dhoni because firstly, it’s almost always positive, and secondly, his name is a perfect homophone for mine. There aren’t many of us Dony’s around, so it’s a rare pleasure.” Writes

Mac Millings
Matt Dony.

3.02pm GMT

Has a big swing at one outside off, inside edges into his off-stump.

3.01pm GMT

Dhoni wants two to deep midwicket, it’s not on so Mishra runs himself out to give Dhoni the strike off the last ball.

3.00pm GMT

Unlucky. Pandya slaps it straight back past the bowler and demolishes two of the stumps at the non-striker’s end. Dhoni had set off so Jordan picks the ball up from by his feet, picks up middle stump and completes the run-out. Dhoni gets the strike though.

2.56pm GMT

19th over: India 139-5 (Pandya 0, Dhoni 3) It looks like my earlier prediction of 180 being a good score might have been a touch high, then. Mills, rather than Stokes, will bowl the penultimate over. Pandey gets his first boundary from his 24th delivery, spotting a fuller slower ball from off-stump and whacking it into the stands beyond mid-on. He gets a couple more from the next ball but his innings is curtailed on 30 from 26 balls. If that sounds like a handy contribution, it wasn’t.

Look! A girl! “Hi Dan,” writes Eva Maaten. “Okay, I’m coming out of hiding since there was a mention of the lack of women contributors. I used to write in more often – in the days of Lawrence Booth, Andy Bull and Rob Smyth – but I realised that when one googled me the first things to come up were my witticisms (or not) on the OBO. And since I was trying to establish myself as a professional consultant (and not in the area of sports journalism) this didn’t seem to be such a good advertisement… Am watching in Johannesburg – great to live in a cricketing country again after a 6 year stint in the Philippines.”

2.54pm GMT

Slower ball, Pandey misses with the big mow and out go middle and off.

2.51pm GMT

18th over: India 129-4 (Pandey 21, Dhoni 2) Jordan, who will presumably bowl this and the final over, returns and he strikes straight away to dismiss Rahul for a fantastic 71 from 47 balls. The under-pressure opener scored 57% of his side’s runs up to the point he was out. England will probably be happy to keep Pandey there, too. He whacks the final ball out to deep midwicket and looks to have got four, but Stokes is so quick across this big outfield and takes it cleanly on the bounce to save three.

“I’m very much in favour of a simple roll call,” writes Matt Dony. “It means I can save all my really good Manic Street Preachers-based material and ‘comedy’ pessimism (treading the fine line between self-deprecating and self-loathing) for the rugby next week. Result!” Don’t take this the wrong way, regular writers to this blog, but you’re not really trying today.

2.47pm GMT

Big wicket! Jordan bangs in a short off-cutter, Rahul tries to smash it but he’s not strong enough to inject it with the requisite power, given there was no pace to work with, and flat down the throat of midwicket it goes. Enter Dhoni.

2.44pm GMT

17th over: India 124-3 (Pandey 18, Rahul 71) This innings has flown by: we’ve barely been playing an hour. Rahul gets away with an uncontrolled slash at a wide yorker, slicing it up in the air and the ball landing just short of Jordan at third man. Instead he takes a single, before Pandey chips down the ground for a couple to bring up the 50 partnership from 37 balls. That’s good, taken out of context, but in truth Pandey is struggling badly – he’s yet to find the boundary – and Dhoni must be kicking his heels. Rahul edges a full-toss down to third man for the first boundary in 19 balls.

2.39pm GMT

16th over: India 114-3 (Pandey 14, Rahul 65) Back to Mills, who was thumped for 15 in his last over but at least doesn’t have to bowl to Virat Kohli now. Round the wicket again, plenty back of a length and plenty of slower balls. It’s not just the fact that he’s bowling to the plan well, but Mills deserves credit for disguising his slower balls and cutters well enough that the batsmen are struggling to read him. Six singles.

“There are only two questions left re OBO contributors,” reckons Andrew Benton. “1. Where is the great Mac Millings?, and 2. Where are all the women contributors? Need a bit of gender balance here in the Guardian, I’d have thought.” Only Rob Smyth is deemed worthy of an email from Millings these days, it seems. As for the gender balance, I promise you I don’t have women flocking to my inbox and I’m keeping them hidden. Unless you count the ones from my girlfriend about festivals this summer.

2.35pm GMT

15th over: India 108-3 (Pandey 11, Rahul 62) Time to go back to seam for an over or two? Yep, here’s Stokes for Dawson and his potpourri of varying paces is far too good for Pandey. Oh and how unlucky is this!? He beats the batsman with a slower ball, clips the stumps, which light up, but the bail remains in its groove! That’s a very strange one as the bails are only supposed to light up when dislodged. I assume it must have just bounced up imperceptibly. If ever a bowler deserved a wicket, it was Stokes there.

“Picking and sticking with a spinner is baring ripe fruit now with Moeen,” writes Dean Kinsella. “So often slated as not being good enough at international level is really showing his worth in this series – then add in the batting.” Indeed, he’s had a couple of near-perfect games with the ball. He’s also a player you’re always pleased to see doing well.

2.30pm GMT

14th over: India 105-3 (Pandey 9, Rahul 62) And now we’re back to Rashid, whose first ball is sent screaming over extra cover for four by Rahul; the fielder didn’t have time to move an inch. Then a poor leg-side ball is swept down to fine-leg for the same. As Nasser points out, Rashid and Dawson have bowled fuller than Moeen and are getting punished for it.

Thanks to Damian Clarke for sending me a list of names headed “roll call”. I didn’t recognise any of them, sorry.

2.26pm GMT

13th over: India 93-3 (Pandey 7, Rahul 52) A gentle nudge out to midwicket allows Rahul the single he needs to bring up a 32-ball half-century. Three fours and a pair of sixes in it and the low-key way in which he passed the milestone feels almost incongruous for a T20 in India, even on this ground. A single from each and every ball in this over. Moeen finishes with excellent figures of one for 20 from his four; he didn’t concede a single boundary either.

2.23pm GMT

12th over: India 87-3 (Pandey 4, Rahul 49) Pandey, the newest batsman, misses out on a full toss, which he can only flat-bat out to deep mid-on for one. Rahul though isn’t going to miss a thing and he comes down the track and launches a gigantic six over the same region. Even as an England fan, you can’t really complain about a talent such as this kid’s (well, he’s 24) getting some much-needed runs. Another full toss to finish the over and Rahul nails it through long-on to edge towards his half-century.

2.19pm GMT

11th over: India 72-3 (Pandey 2, Rahul 36) A couple to Yuvraj with a nice clean drive out to deep mid-off, clearing the back leg and nailing it off middle stump. That’s as good as it gets for him though: he was lucky to survive the lbw appeal a couple of overs ago as that was clipping the bails, but this one was keeping a good eight inches lower. Five for one from the over.

“Afternoon Dan.” Afternoon, Simon McMahon. “The tennis was ok, but even a week later I’m still a bit sore about Andy’s loss. I mean, Federer’s great blah blah blah, but 18 Slams is just a bit, well, greedy if you ask me. A SUPER OVER would make up for it though. And the Six Nations starts next week. So I’m over it now. Good old OBO.” Ah yes, I’m getting my rugby hat back on for the next few weeks after this.

2.16pm GMT

Yuvraj will remain on 225 career sixes: he’s missed a big sweep and is struck in front of middle. Moeen is on fire.

2.14pm GMT

10th over: India 67-2 (Yuvraj 2, Rahul 35) Woaaaahhhhhh we’re halfway there, woooahh-oh, Rahul murders a waist-heigh full-toss over midwicket for six as India take 10 from the over and reach 67 for two and the midway point of the innings. At this juncture, the groundstaff drag the ropes around the outfield to remove the dew, which might well help England later on.

2.10pm GMT

9th over: India 57-2 (Yuvraj 0, Rahul 27) Moeen ties these two in knots and concedes just one. There’s a big appeal for lbw against Yuvraj, who falls over missing a sweep and is struck on the pad, but I reckon that was going down leg.

2.08pm GMT

8th over: India 56-2 (Yuvraj 0, Rahul 26) Time for a man I had genuinely forgotten was in the England team: Adil Rashid, a specialist fielder in Kanpur. He’s happy to toss it up and is rewarded with both a bit of turn and indeed the wicket of Suresh Raina, who never really got going. The bad news for Rashid is that the new man has hit 225 sixes in his T20 career. Just two and the wicket from a cracking over.

John Starbuck writes: “Dan, if all we OBO readers have to do now is simply turn up for the roll-call (Ian Copestake in over 4), our job becomes easier than ever. No need to provide witticisms, reminiscences of indie bands, or even reference other sports; just let you know we are in attendance and we’ll get a mention. Mind you, I can’t even remember my old class roll-call list these days. Can anyone over the age of 40?” To be honest I just worry about Ian if he doesn’t email half a dozen times at least.

2.06pm GMT

Perhaps feeling the pressure a bit, Raina goes for the slog-sweep, doesn’t realise it’s a googly and top-edges high to deep midwicket. He goes for seven from 10.

2.02pm GMT

7th over: India 54-1 (Raina 6, Rahul 25) Another change as Moeen replaces Jordan. He was excellent with the ball in Kanpur and this ground should suit him even better. After a trio of singles, Rahul brings up the India 50 with a reverse sweep for three, the ball well reeled in by – I think – Billings on the slide. That ensures it’s a boundary-free over, which goes for eight.

1.58pm GMT

6th over: India 46-1 (Raina 3, Rahul 21) After the punishment Mills took in his last over, Stokes comes in and begins with an off-side wide. Rahul, who seems to have his eye in nicely, gets four off the fifth ball – a juicy half volley – with a beautifully timed drive that he places inches wide of the man diving to his right at cover. It was there to be hit but he hit it beautifully.

1.53pm GMT

5th over: India 37-1 (Raina 1, Rahul 15) Well that was a fun cameo from Kohli but Jordan can be very pleased with himself, taking him down first ball. That’s not going to inhibit Rahul though, who scythes the very next ball, a full one, over extra cover for a one-bounce four. Otherwise it’s a lovely mix of cutters and slower balls from Jordan, which keeps them to just three further runs.

“With the amount of chatting/discussing/talking etc that Nasser believes ‘this England team’ does, how do they find time for nets or, indeed, for playing matches?” asks Gary Weightman. Well, in answer to the last question, they are playing now. Or are you suggesting that these conversations, which are televised, are a figment of Nasser’s imagination?

1.49pm GMT

Kohli gives it the charge but doesn’t spot the slower ball. Up it goes, high off the bottom of the bat, and Dawson takes a comfortable catch well inside the boundary, on the straight behind the bowler.

1.48pm GMT

4th over: India 30-0 (Kohli 21, Rahul 9) Oh this is more like it from Kohli. He follows an incredible shot, a back-foot drive up and over mid-off for six, with a venomous flick off the pads for four more. A mistimed punch over cover for two, a nudged single and then Rahul guides one just over the leaping man at backward point for two more. 15 off the over after 15 off the first three. Fair to say they’ve learned to read Mills quickly.

“Your petition digression is deeply suitable for your statgasmic, number-crunching crickety-type readers,” writes Robert Wilson. “Seeing that total climb at breakneck speed is like watching Shahid Afridi give it the long handle. Thrilling stuff. An allergic reaction made manifest.” Thanks Robert. For the record, regular reader Ian Copestake has confirmed he is with us.

1.43pm GMT

3rd over: India 15-0 (Kohli 8, Rahul 7) Jordan is into the attack for Dawson. He pins Kohli back on the crease and goes up for a loud lbw shout, which is turned down. Height presumably saved Kohli but he was so far back it looked plumb to me. No reviews in this series though … and that’s lucky for Kohli because the replays confirm that was taking leg stump out the ground. Pretty poor decision from the umpire that. With Jordan offering nowt in the way of driveable balls, a single plus a couple of twos out to deep midwicket mean it’s five from the third consecutive over.

Andrew Benton writes: “I’m holding out for a draw, just to be awkward.” Presumably you mean an India win to tie up the series? Or else you’re really going out on a limb. “And to keep the pressure on India. England certainly won’t seal it today. PS Do remind us who’s touring England this summer, and when.” South Africa are over in July, the West Indies in August.

1.38pm GMT

2nd over: India 10-0 (Kohli 7, Rahul 3) Tymal Mills, from round the wicket to tighten up the angle, will share the new ball duties. He offers absolutely nothing from the first two balls, slightly back of a length, so Kohli goes for the big swipe and gets a massive top edge, which sails high into the night sky and bounces inches inside the ropes at fine third man, beating Billings and picking up the four flukiest runs the India captain will ever score. A single off the next takes him out of the firing line and Rahul can only block out the last couple.

Cripes, the emails are flowing quicker than the runs right now. “I’ll be with you for the duration,” begins Damian Clarke, “or at least until the phone rings to let me know that Milady wants picking up from the girly do she’s attending. To be honest, I’d rather she stays on late this time. She’ll be trollied, but at least I can enjoy all the cricket.”

1.34pm GMT

1st over: India 5-0 (Kohli 2, Rahul 3) England are going to open with the left-arm spin of Liam Dawson, with the small matter of Virat Kohli standing between him and the wickets and the latter thwacks a nice tossed up delivery out to deep cover for a single. Rahul takes three from the next four balls and Kohli retains the strike with a nudge off the last. Tidy.

“Who is the favorite of today’s game? Any percentage?” asks Dharani Bhoi. Having won the toss, I’d make England favourites. They’re in the rare position of perhaps having more big hitters than India for once, too, which could be crucial with the longest boundary here 78 metres.

1.26pm GMT

The players are out for the anthems. Which means we’ll begin shortly. Anybody out there?

1.14pm GMT

V Kohli*, KL Rahul, SK Raina, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni†, MK Pandey, HH Pandya, A Mishra, JJ Bumrah, A Nehra, YS Chahal

1.08pm GMT

Nothing to do with the cricket, but this is kinda fun.

Watching this go up in real time has greatly enhanced the enjoyment of our Sunday roast. https://t.co/ziv1gammmp

1.06pm GMT

The wicket looks very dry. As Eoin Morgan says, it’s typically Indian with nary a blade of grass to be seen. Combine that with the slightly longer boundaries and you’d reckon 180-odd will be a good score here.

1.03pm GMT

England bring in an extra spinner, with Dawson replacing Plunkett. India do something similar, with the leggie Mishra replacing the offie Rasool. Kohli says he wanted to bowl first but thinks the pitch will deteriorate.

1.01pm GMT

England have won it and elected to field. Looking for a repeat of Thursday’s performance then. Batting won’t be as easy here, either, so it makes sense.

12.57pm GMT

You’re all still caught up in the tennis, aren’t you? Well, if not then I have some recommended reading: Ali Martin caught up with poor old Ben Duckett.

Related: Ben Duckett: ‘I was on the verge of being dropped – I did what the captain said’

6.29pm GMT

Afternoon/evening/whatever it is wherever you are, folks. Forget your FA Cup drama and Liverpool morphing into Crystal Palace. Forget Federer v Nadal, Serena v Venus and the 5000 to one Australian Open finals. Forget Bell and Bresnan winning the Big Bash. Put down your sumptuous Six Nations preview and stop the conspiracy theories around Eddie Jones’s black eye. This Sunday is about one thing and one thing only: the second T20 international between India and England from Nagpur!

Being dismissive is easy, though. True, this is a slightly odd series tacked on the end of the most gruelling of tours. No, neither side is likely to learn a huge amount that will help them in the Champions Trophy in England this summer. But, as I learned from reading my esteemed colleague Barney Ronay last night, England have not won a bilateral limited overs series in India since 1985, when our own Vic Marks – whose record as the most economical off-spinner ever in ODI cricket, with a qualification of 250 balls bowled, is unlikely to ever be broken – was the unsung hero. Win here and Eoin Morgan’s boys will go down in history, sort of.

12.05pm GMT

Dan will be here soon.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/jan/29/india-v-england-second-t20-international-live