Well, the second weekend of the 6 Nations tournament was less exciting than the opener, but there have still been plenty of ups and downs for the tournament’s increasing number of London-based players…
On the up:
Similarly, experienced hooker Raphael Ibanez (France, Wasps) will have enjoyed his recall into the French team, despite a couple of dodgy line-out throws. The fact that France seemed to lose some momentum when he was substituted early in the second half will work in his favour when it comes to future selection.Enjoying his first start in an England shirt, Tom Voyce (England, Wasps) represented himself well in England’s mediocre victory over Italy. He was smothered by the Italian defence every time he touched the ball, but his ability to keep the Italians busy definitely worked in England’s favour.Joe Worsley (England, Wasps) worked much harder against Italy than he had done against Wales on the previous weekend. His charge into Italy’s 22 mid-way through the second half led to some quick recycling and an important try for England’s Charlie Hodgson.Once again, Matt Dawson (England, Wasps) found himself in the right place at the right time, coming off the bench for England and immediately setting up Hodgson’s try. The team’s work-rate picked up noticeably as a result of his presence, and he is a definite prospect for a starting place in a couple of weekends’ time.Super-substitute Lawrence Dallaglio (England, Wasps) lifted the English crowd coming on for the last 15 minutes of the England-Italy match, and although enjoying no moments of personal glory, he was an utterly solid replacement for Joe Worsley.
- Proving the theory that experienced players can dig a team out of a tight spot, the recall of veteran back-row forward Olivier Magne (France, London Irish) did France’s fortunes no harm at all in their (mostly) emphatic victory over Ireland. He may not have lasted the entire match, but his performance was nonetheless huge, and a try in the eighth minute (albeit gifted) is not to be sniffed at.
Johnny O’Connor (Ireland, Wasps) continued to sit on the Irish bench…… whilst Eoin Reddan (Ireland, Wasps) finally made it onto the pitch for the last four minutes of the Ireland-France match. Unfortunately, despite the honour of replacing Brian O’Driscoll, he didn’t have nearly enough time or opportunity to make his mark on the game.
- Restricted to another token workout near the end of the England-Wales match, Simon Shaw (England, Wasps) was once again given little opportunity to shine.
No London-based players featured in Scotland’s defeat to Wales yesterday.