With one weekend of fixtures behind us and #England is edging ever closer to the All Blacks record of most continuous games unbeaten. What stories emerged from this, the second weekend of fixtures as England took on Wales, Scotland travelled to France and Ireland to Italy?
Ireland v Italy
After a disappointing defeat against the Scots in week one the Irish flew to Rome with something to prove, and how they did it! Already sitting in fourth place in the world rankings the Irish were without their fly-half Johnny Sexton again but against an Italian team that struggled in the first week against Wales, they must have been confident of victory.
Ireland ran in a total of 9 tries in a very one-sided match to win 10-63, with flanker CJ Stander and Craig Gilroy running in hat tricks. The general feel is that Stander is now odds-on as a choice for the upcoming Lions tour.
France v Scotland
This match was an altogether different spectacle. The French fielded an enormous set of forwards and dominated throughout in the scrums. The Scots for their own part held their own for much of the game scoring two well-worked tries through an ever-improving Stuart Hogg, who also looks to be nailed on for the Lions and Tim Swinson. The Scots were out muscled by the French though and really lacked the inventiveness to make them move around the pitch and tire them out.
The Scots held on valiantly, defending gamely for long periods but eventually the French scored two late penalties to run out as 22-16 winners. This was a match the Scots could have won though but the loss of Greg Laidlaw early on in the game must have upset their rhythm. They must certainly take some solace form the closeness of the final score and the bonus point won.
Wales v England
The two teams came together for a monumental match at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff and what a match it was. England had not fired on all cylinders in the previous week with a fortunate victory against France and they were determined to stamp their authority on this game. The Welsh had the same plan!
It was a game that saw some brutal tackles from the likes of Moriarty, Launchbury, Hughes and Courtney Laws who all threw everything into the whole 80 minutes.
After a bruising contest, Wales led with only 5 minutes remaining after leading at half time through a brilliantly worked Liam Williams try. England ran in the final score of the game after a kick from Davies failed to find touch and some swift passing took the ball to Elliot Daly who crossed the line to secure victory for England 16-21.
However, this is the second week running that England have left things till almost the last minute. They have a solid and confident squad and this week's performance was a step up from that against France. Their next encounter is in two weeks against an out of sorts Italy with two defeats already. England now are are the only team with two wins out of two so far and must have eyes on the All Blacks record as well as another Grand Slam.