Welsh flyers outdo solid Parks
February 15, 2010
Lee Byrne's try put Wales on the road to recovery © Getty Images
Lee Byrne Leigh Halfpenny Yannick Jauzion Dan Parks Morgan Parra Clement Poitrenaud William Servat Mathew Tait Francois Trinh-Duc Jonny Wilkinson Shane Williams Alessandro Zanni
After a dour opening salvo, the Six Nations burst into life over the weekend as Wales, France and England secured victory. Followers of ESPNscrum Fantasy Rugby will have been following the ups and downs keenly, eyeing the upper hand as the competition hots up.
Les Bleus turned in a ferocious shift against Ireland in Paris, ending the reigning champions' 12-match winning streak and their hopes of back-to-back Grand Slams. Less impressive were Martin Johnson's England, who laboured to victory over Italy but crucially kept their 100% record intact.
Both games were eclipsed by the drama at the Millennium Stadium, where Wales produced a comeback to shatter Scotland's hopes of a brilliant away victory.
Despite their defeat, Scotland's Dan Parks ran the show in Cardiff and reaped a tidy 17-point haul for anyone who had the foresight to gamble on the Cardiff-bound pivot. He picked up the Man of the Match award and slotted 12 points with the boot. John Barclay and Max Evans scored Scottish tries, equalling their haul for their previous six Tests, but were outdone by the Welsh back-three.
Fullback Lee Byrne scored the first try and laid on the second for Leigh Halfpenny, while the electric Shane Williams inspired Byrne's try and stole the headlines with the final, exhilarating score of the afternoon.
In Paris, France's William Servat followed up Adam Jones' score for the front-row club last weekend by pouncing for their first try against Ireland. The Toulouse hooker was followed across the whitewash by his club team-mates Clement Poitrenaud and Yannick Jauzion in an impressive performance.
David Wallace followed up his Man of the Match display against Italy with Ireland's only try, but it was the French halfback duo of Morgan Parra and Francois Trinh-Duc who made the biggest impact. Montpellier fly-half Trinh-Duc picked up the Man of the Match award and a try assist, while Parra was accurate from the kicking tee with his 15 points.
The weekend came to a disappointing conclusion in Rome, where Mathew Tait scored the only try of the game in England's victory. Jonny Wilkinson finished with 12 points but had an off-day with the boot, missing three simple chances, while Mirco Bergamasco stepped up to kick all of Italy's points in a gutsy display. Alessandro Zanni picked up the Man of the Match award, ably grafting at No.8 in the absence of Sergio Parisse.
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament
A selection of the best pictures from England's historic World Cup triumph in Paris as they beat Canada 21-9
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Women's World Cup, the opening round of the Top 14 and the Rugby Championship