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A nineteenth century Greek politician stated that, “England (Britain) loses every battle except the last one.” In the twenty-first century, in 2017, that proclamation can be modified to state, “England rugby loses every minute until it wins at the death.”
The Red Roses won their 16th straight Test match in a classic thriller against long-time neighbor Wales, a rivalry that began in 1881. Trailing 16-14 at the 76th minute of play, a poor Welsh kicking decision plopped the ball into English hands with winger Elliot Daly receiving the second offload, and then a speedy end run of 35-meters in for the try. Final score: 21-16.
This remarkable win skein threatens the All-Blacks Test record of eighteen in a row. England have Italy, Scotland (Calcutta Cup) and Ireland (away) remaining on their Six Nation schedule.
Meanwhile, France defeated Scotland 22-16 in Paris, where the Scots had not won since 1999. The game was tied at 16-16, when France notched two penalties for the six-point win. Both squads stand 1-1 in the Championship.
Ireland trounced Italy 63-10 in a blowout. The Azzurri have not played competitive rugby in two-years, not advancing in the RWC 2015 cup, and losing since then by large margins to their Six Nation opponents. There are many who would like to see Six Nations relegation on an annual basis to send Italy down, and to bring up Georgia (Division Two European champions).
The disparity in talent and experience in Women’s Six Nation play was evidenced last weekend when France shutout Scotland 55-0, and England trounced Wales 63-0. Ireland defeated Italy 27-3. Les Bleues and the Red Roses are warming up for this August’s Rugby World Cup in Ireland.