Scotland and Italy managed to make each other look good this afternoon. By being more on the same level, they produced a competitive game that was most notable for the fact that the Scottish backline actually scored a try (and almost scored a couple more) for the first time in what seems like several millennia. (Yes, I know they have scored some recently, but they haven’t looked like they could, save for the odd bit of Evans brilliance.) The fate of the wooden spoon now appears to have been settled. The 26-6 win by Scotland will probably be their only win of the winter, and Italy still have to play Wales and France.
The Ireland – England match was no better. Having been installed as favorites for the championship thanks to the Welsh loss last night, Ireland developed an extreme case of deer-in-the-headlights syndrome. O’Gara in particular had a dreadful game, leading me to wonder whether he was down with flu or something.
Fortunately for the Irish, Brian O’Driscoll was not going to allow them to lose, despite various attempts by English players to send him to hospital. Furthermore, the English team appeared to be determined to throw the game away. I worry about poor Martin Johnson’s blood pressure. As it turned out, England actually woke up in the last 10 minutes and the final score was 14-13. If they had played like that the whole match they would have won. As it is, that narrow result will suit Wales and France very well as the championship may be decided on points difference.