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Six Nations round up

Ireland and France remain on course for the Grand Slam but Wales have some work to do after a defeat in Dublin on Saturday.

Ireland smashed Wales at the Aviva Stadium. Photo: drbparsons

Ireland smashed Wales at the Aviva Stadium. Photo: drbparsons

The defending champions were poor last week against Italy but ground out a win, only to be soundly beaten by Joe Schmidt’s men seven days later. Warren Gatland described the defeat as the worst of his time in charge, with his players lacking intensity and passion.

Ulster’s Chris Henry got his first try for his country in a first half dominated by the men in green, who took a 13-0 lead into the break. Jonny Sexton was in fine form with the boot and he continued to pummel the Welsh after half-time.

Leigh Halfpenny got three points on the board for his side in the second-half but they were hardly even a consolation on a dismal afternoon. Replacement fly-half Paddy Jackson rubbed salt into Welsh wounds in the final moments, converting his own try to make it 26-3.

Gatland will be left worrying about the fitness of Scott Williams, who injured his shoulder in a huge hit on Brian O’Driscoll. If he fails to recover before the France game then Wales may be forced to field a half-fit Jonathan Davies.

England bounced back from defeat against France last week to win the Calcutta Cup with a commanding victory over Scotland.

The Scots failed to put a single point on the board against the Auld Enemy for the first time since 1978 and were already 13-0 down by the break. Danny Care helped them on their way with a drop goal before Luther Burrell scored the first try of the day, converted by Owen Farrell.

He added a penalty before the break as England dominated and things didn’t improve for the hosts in the second period. Mike Brown ran in a second try for the English and Farrell converted for the second time as his side won despite barely breaking a sweat.

France, their conquerors last week, followed up that victory with a win over Italy. Les Bleus took a while to get into their stride but edged into a six-point lead at half-time thanks to three penalties from Jean Marc Doussain.

Tommaso Allan’s penalty kept Italy in touch but the hosts ran riot in the second-half. Wesley Fofana, Hugo Bonneval and Louis Picamoles all crossed the line and Doussain converted all three. The French traditionally perform well in the year following a Lions tour and looked impressive, although now face a trip to the pressure cooker of the Millennium Stadium.