On Monday, March 13th, the latest rugby news revolved around Wales’ upcoming match against France, England’s poor performance in the Six Nations tournament, and Italy’s defeat to Wales.
Former Welsh international, James Hook, urged coach Warren Gatland to stick with young players like Joe Hawkins and Mason Grady for the match against France.
Fellow pundit, Tom Shanklin, agreed with Hook and believed the young players would benefit from the experience of playing in a noisy stadium like Stade de France.
Sir Clive Woodward commented that there were now two clear divisions in the Six Nations, and he lumped Wales and England with Italy.
He believed that there was a clear quality gap in the northern hemisphere competition, with Ireland, France, and Scotland in the top tier.
Wales captain Ken Owens was looking forward to being “out of the goldfish bowl” during the team’s preparations for their match against France.
After securing their first win of the tournament in Italy, the team was set to spend the week in Nice, which would allow them to focus fully on tackling a rampant French side.
Italy head coach Kieran Crowley launched a stinging broadside at referee Damon Murphy following key decisions that went against his side in their 29-17 defeat to Wales in Rome.
Crowley believed his team should have been awarded a penalty try when centre Juan Ignacio Brex was halted from scoring by fly-half Owen Williams.
World Cup winner Matt Dawson was scathing of Steve Borthwick’s England side following their hammering by France at the weekend, stating that “none of them are world class.”
Dawson acknowledged that Maro Itoje and Jamie George were talented players, but said that England was simply not at the races in terms of top-tier internationals.
Ireland boss Andy Farrell expected a response from England in Dublin on Saturday after Ireland’s easy win over Scotland at Murrayfield on Sunday.
Farrell was aware that England would be motivated to spoil Ireland’s chances of completing a Grand Slam.