Bath Rugby's Anthony Watson, Will Stuart, Beno Obano, Cameron Redpath and Taulupe Faletau were all in action over the weekend, as both Scotland and Wales claim victory in the first round of the Six Nations Championship.
England v SCOTLAND
It has taken a 38 year wait and a debut performance from Cameron Redpath for Scotland to seal a famous victory over England at Twickenham (11-6). Scotland showed a clear purpose and courage to front up to an England squad that entered this years Six Nations as holders and Autumn Nations Cup Champions. Captain Stuart Hogg led by example with a kicking masterclass and Performance-of-the-Match showing.
Early on, Ali Price's box kicking was put under a lot of pressure from the England defence which forced Scotland to react to a Maro Itoje charge down, although Scotland stood firm. As Scotland's pressure and field position mounted, England's indiscipline got the better of them allowing Finn Russell to nudge a penalty kick right in front of the posts. England's indiscipline continue to get the better of them, and Billy Vunipola was later sent to the sin bin after 23 minutes. This added pressure from Scotland resulting in a sweeping passage of play and Van der Merwe stepped inside his man and shrugged 3 defenders to score the try.
The second half saw Scotland down a man for the first 8 minutes following a Finn Russell yellow card at the back end of the first half, and after returning, Russell managed to knock over another penalty to make it 11-6. Looking to keep their lead, Scotland’s defence held strong with an exceptional turnover from Redpath who got over the ball and forced the penalty, which ultimately went wide to Hogg.
Whilst the clock was in red, Scotland's physicality continued, and Hamish Watson forced one final turn over and the ball was kicked into the empty Twickenham stand. There was sheer joy on the Scottish players as the final whistle was blown.
A particular mention for Bath Rugby prop Beno Obano, who managed to run out onto the hallowed turf and receive his first England cap, this had been a determined effort from Beno and everyone at the club is immensely proud.
When stood in front of the Calcutta Cup, Stuart Hogg selfishly allowed debutants David Cherry and Cameron Redpath to lift the cup and celebrate victory at Twickenham.
Wales v ireland
Wales got their 2021 Six Nations campaign off to a winning 21-16 start, but it wasn’t plain sailing for the home side as they battled with a determined Ireland outfit who played the majority of the encounter with 14 men.
Back Rower Peter O’Mahony received a red card from Wayne Barnes after 14 minutes for striking Tomas Francis’ head with his elbow. However, this appeared to galvanise the Irish side, continuing to put pressure on the Welsh defence, ultimately leading to Ireland's Tadhg Beirne crashing over the try line just before half-time, leaving the score at the break at 13-6 to Ireland.
The Welsh side were disrupted with injuries as Dan Lydiate, Jonny Williams and Tomos Williams were all forced off the field in the first 40 minutes, but came out firing in the second half. George North's try early in the second half brought Wales within 2 points of Ireland, and after a dive in the corner by Louis Rees-Zammit, Wales' man advantage began to take its toll on Ireland. A final penalty from Leigh Halfpenny’s boot meant the score finished 21-16.
Bath Rugby No. 8 Taulupe Faletau played an integral role in the victory, putting in an immense display in defence and his temperament and experience showed throughout the for the full 80 minutes.
England next face Italy at Twickenham (13 February, 14:15 kick-off), hoping to improve on their first round showing, whilst Scotland return to Murrayfield to play host to Wales (13 February, 16:45 kick-off) as they bid to retain the Doddie Weir Cup.