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IRELAND AGAINST WALES 2018

Scotland waited ten-years, a long and frustrating decade, to defeat England in the Calcutta Cup but that occurred, finally, last Saturday when they soundly beat the Red Roses 25-13 at Murrayfield. The win ended England's quest for a Six Nations Grand Slam, and sets up potentially, a fifth match, end of 2018 Championship game between Ireland and England. Of course, this scenario could change in two weeks if Scotland defeat Ireland and France triumph against England.

The Scotland win, historically, their 43 against 75 losses, and 18 draws, was a decisive victory against an English XV that had only lost once since the completion of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, a Six Nations loss to Ireland in 2017. 

These historic rivals were the first nations to embark on a rugby match in March 1871, played at Raeburn Palace, home to the Edinburgh Academicals. Rugby in those days consisted of twenty players a side. England came with ten graduates from Rugby School. The match, played in front of 4,000 spectators, was won by Scotland, which scored two tries and a goal to England’s single try.  (Old scoring rules: A try produced a chance at a kick on goal. Points scored if successful.)

The game resulted from a challenge issued in Bells Weekly magazine in 1870, when the captains of five Scottish teams invited any side selected from the “whole of England” to a game under rugby rules. The English team wore all white with a red rose upon their chests, while the Scots wore brown shirts with a thistle.

Last Saturday's match saw Scotland score three tries, the first on a nifty squibbed kick that ricocheted through the English backs into the fortunate hands of Huw Jones for the try. Jones would seal the game with a sprint through the English defense, as he went in untouched for the last score.

England conceded 13-penalties and showed none of the flair as in their past three-year dominance of Six Nations' opponents. Some critics cried "complacency" against the Red Roses who looked vulnerable in the breakdown and on defense.

Ireland 37-Wales 27 - This proved to be a humdinger of a match, a seesaw battle that had Wales up 13-5 in the first half, and undefeated Ireland only ahead 30-27 with a minute to play. Then, Jacob Stockdale intercepted an errant Welsh pass to score under the posts. Ireland maintained 80-percent possession but a scrappy Wales side did not surrender.

France 34-Italy 17 - France found its first win of the season by defeating winless Italy. The game was played in Marseille, the first Test match not played in Paris.

Six Nations Men's Standings To Date

Ireland    3-0 14 points

England  2-1   9

Scotland  2-1   8

Wales       1-2   6

France      1-2   6

Italy           0-3   0