The first weekend of the 2016 6 Nations are over, and only one country, England, can win the Triple Crown. They beat Scotland 15-9 in Edinburgh, whereas Ireland drew with Wales 16-16 in Dublin. France held off Italy to win 23-21 at home.
The only one of the games that I saw was the Ireland v Wales game, and I didn’t expect to be able to see it. I am currently giving astronomy talks on a cruise which is going from Buenos Aires to Santiago around Cape Horn. Yesterday, on the day of the match, the ship was visiting the Falkland Islands. I expected that I would have to hunt down a pub in Stanley to see the match, but as luck would have it the game was shown on ESPN which the ship has amongst its TV channels. So, I actually watched the game live in my cabin (‘state room’ as Princess cruise lines calls them) with the ship anchored in Port Stanley!
I have not even read the reports of the other matches, as internet access on the ship is very slow and even more expensive, but as far as the Ireland v Wales game is concerned I thought a draw was a fair result. Ireland were 13-0 up after some 25 minutes, and I feared a similar result to two years ago when we were well beaten by them in Dublin. But, the last 15 minutes of the first half saw Wales come back with a penalty and a converted try, so that the half-time score was 13-10 to Ireland.
Wales struck over another penalty early in the second half, to level the scores, and then kicked another to go 16-13 ahead, the first time they had been ahead in the match. With some 10 minutes to go of the match this is how the score stood, but Ireland were awarded a penalty which allowed them to level the scores. The last 7 to 8 minutes saw both sides trying to get a score to win the match, but both teams’ defences were very solid and no score really looked likely.
As I say, I think a draw was a fair result. Both sides seemed evenly matched to me, and from a Welsh point of view I thought our boys were quite rusty. Wales traditionally start the 6 Nations badly, so to avoid a defeat away from home in the opening match is a decent result I think. Next weekend sees us take on Scotland at home in Cardiff, on Saturday 13 February. Although Scotland are a much improved team, this should be a win for Wales which will hopefully get our momentum going before we take on France at home and then England away.