WB warm-up tests: Six Nations shocks


Many rugby experts say that too much should not be read into the results of Saturday’s World Cup warm-up matches; yet there were quite a few pointers for this year’s World Cup tournament in France.

Scotland, Wales and Ireland put their best foot forward in the matchups between the Six Nations teams, but an uphill battle soon awaits France, England and Italy if they choose the same teams.

Scotland achieved one of its glorious victories over the French on its home field, Murrayfield, when it fought back from a deficit of 3-21 in the second half and shocked the French.

The French have certainly wrapped their top players in cotton wool, but the Scots’ victory is an indication that the Springboks will chew hard bones in their World Cup opening match against the Scots.

Remember what happened in 2015 when the Boks got bogged down in their first match against Japan in Brighton, England.

Walk but light for players like Blair Kinghorn, Duhan van der Merwe, Darcy Graham, Finn Russell, Pierre Schoeman and Jack Dempsey.

The Scots were also shown a red card in the second half when prop Zander Fagerson was sent off after he illegally took out an opponent during a scrum.

Fagerson was initially given a yellow card, but according to the officials, a red card was rather an appropriate punishment and it was adjusted to red.

Scorers: Scotland 25 (3): Tries: Darcy Graham Pierre Schoeman, Dave Cherry. Goals: Finn Russell (2). Penalties: Russell (2).

France 21 (21): Tries: Baptiste Couillud, Louis Bierlle-Biarrey, Cameron Woki. Goals: Matthieu Jalibert (3).

* Wales, trailing 6-9 at half-time against England in Cardiff, scored two tries through Gareth Davies and George North to thrash England 20-9.

In addition, a try scored by Louis Rees-Zammit was canceled by referee Nic Berry.

The Welsh were much more enterprising, defended better and attacked more.

England’s playing pattern is too predictable and their forwards cannot dominate.

Scorers: Wales 20 (6): Tries: Gareth Davies, George North. Goals: Leigh Halfpenny (2). Penalties: Halfpenny (2).

England 9 (9): Penalties: Marcus Smith (3).

* Ireland scored four tries in their 33-17 win over Italy in Dublin on Saturday night. It was the Irish, who retained their top spot in the Test rankings, their 15th consecutive win at home, but there will be concerns over injuries to eight-man Jack Conan, full-back Jimmy O’Brien and scrum-half Craig Casey.

Ireland were already 21-3 ahead at half-time.

Scorers: Ireland 33 (21): Tries: Jack Kilkoune, Caelan Doris (2), Stuart McCloskey, Cian Healy. Goals: Jack Crowley (2), Ciaran Frawley (2).

Italy: 17 (3). Tries : Lorenczo Pani, Tomasso Menoncello. Goals: Tomasso Allan (2). Penalty: Allan.

* In Tokyo, Fiji beat Japan 35-12.

Japan already had its back against the wall after six minutes after its forward flanker Lappies Labuschagne was sent off with a red card after a dangerous tackle.