International Round-up: Slade, Daly and Adams impress in Six Nations
There were plenty of Gallagher Premiership Rugby players in action for their countries as the Six Nations Championship delivered an enthralling opening weekend of action.
England, Wales and Scotland enjoyed perfect starts to their campaigns with impressive victories, with all three sides littered with Premiership stars who rose to the occasion.
Here’s a round up of everything you may have missed from the first round of the Six Nations, including the men who made a big impact on the international stage.
Slade double downs Ireland in Dublin
England pulled off one of the great upsets by defeating a heavily favoured Ireland side 32-20 at the Aviva Stadium in the opening round of the Six Nations.
In doing so, Eddie Jones’ side inflicted a first Six Nations home defeat on Ireland in six years and secured the bonus point thanks to two tries from Henry Slade and scores from Jonny May and Elliot Daly.
Remarkably England had not scored a try in Dublin for eight years but they turned the tables on an Ireland side buoyed by just their second ever victory over New Zealand last autumn.
It was a performance that owed much to the work of co-captain and Saracens man Owen Farrell who led from the front, while Exeter Chiefs flyer Slade impressed with two scores.
England led 17-10 at half-time but the expected Irish second-half onslaught did not materialise with Wasps’ Daly impressing and a score from Leicester Tigers winger May completing an excellent afternoon’s work.
— Wasps Rugby (@WaspsRugby) February 2, 2019
Joe Schmidt’s side, who were targeting back-to-back Grand Slams, could scarcely get anything going as a suffocating defensive effort spearheaded by imperious prop Mako Vunipola stifled their attacking play.
Saracens’ Vunipola led the charge with an impressive 27 tackles in a tireless display and even a late try from John Cooney could not take the gloss off a memorable victory.
Adams instigates Welsh comeback
Wales produced a rousing comeback from 16-0 down at half-time to stun France 24-19 at the Stade de France.
Warren Gatland’s side included starts for Saracens’ Liam Williams at full-back, Worcester Warriors’ Josh Adams on the wing and Exeter Chiefs’ prop Tomas Francis.
Northampton Saints’ fly-half Dan Biggar was a second-half replacement and knocked over a conversion and a penalty to help Wales claw themselves back into what had hitherto been an error-strewn performance.
Adams was at the heart of Tomos Williams’ try, instigating a break that commenced the Welsh comeback.
Further tries from former Northampton winger George North put the gloss on an inspired second-half display to stun the French in Paris.
However, Leicester’s Jonah Holmes and Wasps’ Thomas Young were not part of the matchday 23.
Harris helps Scotland see off Italy
Scotland have room for improvement despite seeing off the attentions of Italy in a 33-20 victory at BT Murrayfield in their Six Nations opener.
Blair Kinghorn let the way with an inspired hat-trick but three late tries from the Italians undermined what had been an assured performance up to that point.
It was only the third time in the last 20 attempts that Scotland had won a Six Nations opener with uncapped duo, Leicester Tigers’ Jake Kerr and Newcastle Falcons’ Gary Graham, making their debuts from the bench.
There was disappointment for Exeter Chiefs’ Sam Skinner, though, after he was forced off through injury after just 13 minutes. Sale’s Josh Strauss entered the fray in his absence.
— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) February 2, 2019
Newcastle Falcons’ centre Chris Harris scored one of five tries for the hosts from the bench but there was no place in the 23 for Newcastle teammate John Hardie nor Saracens’ Sean Maitland.
Meanwhile Stuart Hogg, who will join Chiefs from Glasgow Warriors in the summer, was also on the scoresheet and was a menace throughout for Scotland in Edinburgh.