Six Nations: Home Nations Thrillers Start 2013 Campaigns
By Ros Satar
England 38-18 Scotland
The 2013 Six Nations got underway with a thrilling Home Nations double bill this afternoon.
England overcame Scotland to retain the Calcutta Cup, at home in Twickenham dominating for much of the match.
Despite an early lead through a penalty, scored by Owen Farrell, Scotland scored the first try, courtesy of Sean Maitland within the first 10 minutes of the game, on his debut.
Two more penalties for England kept them ahead, but the buffer was whittled down by a Scottish penalty, put away by Greig Laidlaw.
Chris Ashton scrambled a try from Ben Youngs’ pass, at full stretch, with a Farrell conversion and another penalty widened the gap to 19-8.
The first half ended with a Scottish penalty, but at the re-start, England started very aggressively, looking to stamp their authority on the match early on.
There were two debut tries for newcomers to the England side – Billy Twelvetrees and Geoff Parling, as England consolidated their lead, despite a late rally from Scotland with a try scored by Stuart Hogg.
In the final moments of the game, Danny Care scored the final try of the match.
Wales 22-30 Ireland
Earlier in the day, title holders Wales were looking to overcome a losing streak of seven matches and to regain the form of a Slam winning side.
Things did not start well, with an early try from Ireland’s Simon Zebo, assisted by former captain, Brian O’Driscoll, converted by Jonathan Sexton.
Zebo was in action again as a nifty back heel set up Cian Healy for the second try, with conversions and three penalties from the boot of Sexton put Ireland in a dominating lead.
Just a penalty from Leigh Halfpenny spared Wales blushes at half time, trailing 23-3.
Ireland wasted no time in the second half with O’Driscoll scoring his 46th try.
That seemed to finally spur the hosts into action, with tries coming from Alex Cuthbert, Halfpenny and Craig Mitchell.
But it was too little, too late and Ireland held on despite untimely sin-binnings for Rory Best and Conor Murray, to close out the opening match.
Wales faced an unwanted piece of history today, losing five consecutive home matches for the first time in their history.
Wales face France in Paris next week, and will desperately want to stop this run of defeats.
Ireland will face England in Dublin, and Scotland will host Italy (who face France tomorrow at home).