Six Nations 2016: England, Wales & Scotland grab wins on third weekend

England kept alive their hopes of a Grand Slam with victory over the Irish, whilst Wales beat France, and Scotland knocked off Italy for their first win

Six Nations 2016: England, Wales & Scotland grab wins on third weekend
Mike Brown (right) celebrates his try with Jack Nowell (image via: dailymail)

On the third weekend of the 2016 Six Nations Championship, England remain on track for the Grand Slam after registering a 21-10 victory over Ireland at Twickenham. Eddie Jones men are now just two wins from their first Grand Slam since 2003, and on the verge of picking up just their second Championship in the last 13 years. 

Wales remain just one point behind their cross-border rivals after beating a below-par French side 19-10 on Friday evening. The match in Cardiff definitely wasn't one for the neutrals, yet the Welsh got the job done to set up a mouthwatering clash with England in a fortnight's time.

In the third match of the weekend, Scotland won their first Six Nations matchup in two years, after claiming a 36-20 victory over Italy in Rome

England make it three from three

In their first match at Twickenham since being knocked out of the World Cup by Australia, England beat Ireland 21-10 despite having two players sent to the sin-bin. 

The first half saw England dominate territory and possession on the back of a barnstorming performance from Billy Vunipola, yet some inaccuracies cost them and they failed to make their dominance pay on the scoreboard. Two Owen Farrell penalties were all the home side could register in a half they won 6-3, after Ireland had taken the lead early on thanks to a long penalty goal from Jonny Sexton

Man-of-the-match Billy Vunipola celebrates the win with Eddie Jones (image via: JMP/Rex/Shutterstock)

The English came close to crossing the line on a number of occasions before the break, only for poor decisions or excellent defence from the Irish stopping them from doing so. 

After the break, Ireland came out refreshed from a tough 40 minutes and soon got on the front foot. Unlike their hosts, they made the pressure pay off and crossed for the games opening try through Conor Murray whilst England were down to 14 with James Haskell in the sin-bin. 

Despite being down to 14, England responded and cut the deficit to one point thanks to Farrell's third penalty of the game. 

The hosts then took control of the game, scoring two quickfire tries. The first was finished off by Anthony Watson, following a break by his opposite winger, Jack Nowell. Good hands by the backs saw the ball recycled to the left-hand side of the field, where Watson walked over with the defence nowhere to be seen. 

The lead was then extended further, with another simple finish, this time by full-back Mike Brown. Substitute Danny Care made a couple of darting breaks, which caused the Irish defence to splinter, allowing Brown to canter over in the corner. 

That wasn't the end of the contest though, and Ireland felt they had another try late on, only for the TMO and referee to decide that Josh Van der Flier had failed to ground the ball under Elliot Daly's leg. Daly's intervention whilst Care was in the sin-bin, adding to Nowell's incredible last ditch challenge of Robbie Henshaw a few moments earlier kept England 11 points clear of their opponents, before running the clock down for a well-earned victory. 

England now have three wins from three in the competition, and are still on track for the Grand Slam. They face what looks set to be a tournament-decider against Wales in their next match against, before finishing in Paris against the French. 

Welsh stay alive after seeing off France

On Friday evening, Wales kept alive their hopes of winning the championship, with a 19-10 win over France. 

Following a dour first half which the Welsh shaded 6-3, George North scored a try for the second game in a row, to give the home side control of the match.

North capitalised on a mistake by French fly-half Jules Plisson, to pick up and crash over after chasing Jonathan Davies' well-placed kick downfield. Dan Biggar added the conversion, plus two more penalties to take his personal tally to 14 on the night in another assured performance. 

An abject France came into the game on the back of two straight wins, yet offered nothing in attack all night before crossing for a late consolation try through captain Guilhem Guirado who was the games standout player. 

The French now sit on four points and will need to win their final two games, whilst the unbeaten Welsh can take control of the competition if they can see off England at Twickenham in two weeks time. 

Scotland end barren Six Nations run with impressive victory in Rome 

Scotland's nine-match losing run in the Six Nations came to an end on Saturday afternoon with a 36-20 victory against Italy in Rome. 

Vern Cotter's men started fast and led 17-3 early on thanks to a pair of well-worked tries from flankers, John Barclay and John Hardie

A strong scrum platform allowed the Scots to dictate territory, and helped to put kicker Greig Laidlaw in a strong position to add points throughout the game. He ended the game with five penalties and three conversions, as Scotland remained in control despite losing Finn Russell and WP Nel to yellow cards late on. 

Italy grabbed tries through Leonardo Ghiraldini and Marco Fuser to reduce the deficit to six points during the second half. They never quite controlled the ball well enough to take the lead. 

Scotland finally confirmed the victory late on, when Tommy Seymour crossed for the teams third try. The win should take the pressure of the Scots somewhat ahead of their final two fixtures, whilst Italy will need to improve their performance quickly if they are to prevail against either Ireland or Wales.