Ireland starts 2024 Six Nations with hammering France
A week ago we posted an article with the odds for the 2024 Six Nations tournament. France was the favourites to win with Ireland being second favourite. That made the opener between France and Ireland even more special. In a highly anticipated Six Nations clash that kick-started the tournament, Ireland showcased their dominance with a resounding 38-17 victory over France. The match, held at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille, saw the defending champions Ireland begin their campaign with a statement win, setting the tone for their pursuit of an unprecedented back-to-back Grand Slam. If we have to believe the bookmakers, Ireland is now the new favourite to win the tournament after beating France.
France versus Ireland
The game was marked by Ireland's comprehensive performance across the board, with tries from Jamison Gibson-Park, Tadhg Beirne, Calvin Nash, Dan Sheehan, and Ronan Kelleher. Jack Crowley, stepping into the shoes of the retired Johnny Sexton, delivered a flawless kicking game, converting all five tries and adding a penalty to his tally.
The French team faced a significant setback in the 32nd minute when Paul Willemse received his second yellow card, leading to a red card that reduced France to 14 men. This turning point contributed to France's heaviest defeat under coach Fabien Galthie since 2019. Despite the early challenge, France managed to score through Damian Penaud and Paul Gabrillagues, with Thomas Ramos adding the conversions.
Wales versus Scotland
This was perhaps the strangest game of the weekend. In an unforgettable Six Nations clash at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Scotland narrowly defeated Wales 27-26, marking their first victory at this venue in 22 years. However, the win felt more like a defeat for the Scottish team due to the dramatic nature of the game. Scotland had a commanding 27-0 lead after 43 minutes, including a try from Duhan van der Merwe. Yet, Wales staged a stunning comeback, scoring 26 unanswered points and almost turning the game on its head.
Italy versus England
In a closely contested match in Rome, England edged out Italy with a narrow 27-24 victory to kick off their 2024 Guinness Six Nations campaign on a positive note. Despite Italy's promising start and their ability to outscore England by three tries to two, England capitalized on Italian errors, particularly during exit plays, to secure the win.