Six Nations: Wales Comes Back to Spank England
The Six Nations Tournament begins, with France, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Italy battlling it out for rugby supremacy.
It was looking so good for England in their opener against Wales... until the second half, when their defense seemed to crumble and Wales roared back towards victory.
New coach Warren Gatland announced his arrival by masterminding Wales’ first Twickenham triumph since 1988.
And they did it the hard way, fighting back from 19-6 adrift to score 20 unanswered points during a remarkable 13-minute second-half spell.
Full-back Lee Byrne and scrum-half Mike Phillips scored tries to tilt the balance of a gripping encounter, while fly-half James Hook kicked 16 points.
How the hell did that happen? How did England turn what seemed a stone-cold cert of a win into that result? What an absolutely extraordinary game of rugby. Though to give it that tag is a little too complimentary to the way England capitulated in the final quarter, which was pure Keystone Cops comedy. I've rarely seen such a complete reversal of control in a match. England absolutely coasted into the lead, drawing chants of "we want 50" from the crowd at half-time. 35 minutes later those same folk were making an early exit, beating the crowd and the cruel confirmation of the referee's whistle.
Ireland began its attempt for a first Six Nations championship Saturday with a scrappy 16-11 victory over Italy.
Ronan O'Gara and halfback partner Eoin Reddan, who was picked ahead of the established Peter Stringer, directed play comfortably, but Ireland still struggled to rebound from its disappointing first-round exit at last year's World Cup.
Ireland won through a first-half try by Girvan Dempsey and 11 points from O'Gara, but made mistakes throughout with passes going astray, the ball being knocked on and simple opportunities spurned.
Tomorrow, Scotland plays France; North Americans can check out some real football before the Super Bowl begins... oops, did I type that out loud?