Week 4 Recap of the 2024 Six Nations Championship!

Welcome back to The Full 80, your one-stop destination for all the thrilling action from the 2024 Six Nations Championship! Let’s delve into the standout moments from Week 4.

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#1. Italy vs Scotland (31-29)

#2. England vs Ireland (23-22)

#3. Wales vs France (24-45)

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 09:  Marcus Smith of England makes a breaks clear from Ryan Baird and Caelan Doris of Ireland during the Guinness Six Nations 2024 match between England and Ireland at Twickenham Stadium on March 09, 2024 in London, England.
(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Saturday 9th March 2024

#1. Italy vs Scotland (31-29)

Italy marked their first Six Nations victory on home soil in 11 years, delivering a sensational 31-29 comeback victory at the Stadio Olimpico.

The Azzurri, emboldened by their agonising draw against France in Round 3, showed they were not looking to repeat past mistakes.

Despite the fantastic tries by Zander Fagerson, Kyle Steyn, Pierre Schoeman, and Sam Skinner, it wasn’t enough for Scotland. Their dream of facing off against Ireland in the final weekend of the Six Nations has been dashed.

The first half was dominated by Scotland’s attack, with tries from Fagerson, Steyn, and Schoeman. Finn Russell’s relentless attack from the boot gave Scotland an early advantage. However, Italy responded with a try from Ignacio Brex and three conversions from Paolo Garbisi, trailing 22-16 at half time.

The second half saw Italy return with renewed vigour. Louis Lynagh touched down, and a conversion from Stephen Varney gave the home side a commanding 28-22 lead with just 20 minutes remaining. The Stadio Olimpico erupted in cheers as Garbisi extended Italy’s lead with a penalty.

However, Scotland responded through Sam Skinner, with Russell converting to bring the scores to 31-29 with just two minutes left.

In a desperate bid to reach the final showdown, Scotland orchestrated an attack consisting of over 20 phases. But the Azzurri held firm, securing one of their biggest Six Nations victories since their 22-15 win over Ireland in 2013.

As it Happened:

The atmosphere was palpable as Italy, with a newfound resilience, began their formidable onslaught against Scotland.

The drama of the game began to unfold within the first two minutes, as Italy’s fly-half, Garbisi, seized the moment and delivered a stunning penalty at the breakdown, giving Italy an early 3-0 lead.

Scotland retaliated with an impressive 18-phase attack, culminating in Fagerson powering over the line. This was closely followed by Steyn, just six minutes later. Russell’s two conversions dealt a significant blow, catapulting Scotland into a 14-3 advantage.

Italy, determined to reclaim their ground, responded swiftly. Brex picked up the chip over the top and dived over, closing the gap to just 14-10 within the first 20 minutes of the game.

Capitalising on their lead, Scotland regained momentum. Russell’s penalty extended Scotland’s lead, before he executed a sensational 50:22 that saw Schoeman burrow over from close range, placing the visitors 22-10 in front.

Garbisi, not to be outdone, replied with a boot of his own, adding three more points to the scoreboard. Page-Relo took on the kicking duties to add three more, concluding an impressive score of 22-16 by half time.

As the second half began, Scotland thought they had struck straight after half-time to deliver the bonus-point, but it was struck off due to blocking in the build-up.

Italy, seizing the opportunity, hit back as Lynagh chased the grubber kick before diving over on debut, marking a thrilling moment in the match.

However, a missed conversion from Garbisi left the hosts trailing by a hair’s breadth at 22-21. The atmosphere was thick with anticipation as fans held their breath, fearing that the Azzuri had squandered their golden opportunity to regain the lead.

With the tension reaching a fever pitch, Italy, undeterred by the setback, sought to bridge the gap.

In a dramatic turn of events, replacement scrum-half Varney bounded over the line, handing the Azzuri their much-needed lead. Garbisi, in a moment of redemption, added the extra points, catapulting Italy into a 28-22 lead. 

As the clock ticked down into the final quarter, Italy found themselves in a nail-biting situation with just 20 minutes to hold their ground. The drama escalated in the 71st minute when Scotland was caught offside.

Seizing this opportune moment, Garbisi extended Italy’s lead to 31-22, sending a wave of anticipation through the crowd.

Scotland, however, was not ready to concede. As the game tilted in Italy’s favour, a converted Skinner reduced the deficit to a mere two points at 31-29, rekindling hope among the visitors that they could still secure a win.

But Italy’s defence was unyielding. They stood their ground against Scotland’s 20-phase attack, forcing a turnover that sent shockwaves through the stadium.

#2. England vs Ireland (23-22)

Last Saturday, Ireland’s aspiration for consecutive Six Nations Grand Slams was thwarted. They were defeated by England’s robust team, with a decisive drop-goal by Marcus Smith, resulting in a close 23-22 victory for England.

Many consider this match to be England’s finest performance in the championship. Key players Ollie Lawrence, George Furbank, and Ben Earl demonstrated remarkable skills, each scoring tries.

Ireland, too, had their moments of brilliance. Jack Crowley’s four penalties were like well-aimed arrows, while James Lowe’s two tries were a testament to his agility and speed. But despite being ahead by nine points at one stage, they couldn’t hold onto their lead. England, like a relentless tide, pushed forward.

The game’s rhythm changed when Ireland suffered injuries to their backs, leading to a reshuffling of positions that saw scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park moved to the wing. Further complicating Ireland’s dance was a yellow card for their captain, Peter O’Mahony, a setback that proved costly.

Despite their valiant efforts, Ireland’s performance, though commendable, fell just short of victory.

As it Happened:

The drama of the match began to unfold within the first three minutes, as Ireland’s Crowley seized the moment and delivered a stunning penalty, giving Ireland an early 3-0 lead.

England retaliated with an impressive try by Lawrence, bypassing Crowley to score in the corner. Meanwhile, Ireland suffered a setback as Nash was injured after a bold tackle attempt, leaving Ireland a player short.

The onslaught from England continued, their confidence seemingly bolstered by their opening try. Only turnovers by van der Flier and Beirne in the Ireland 22 prevented further tries.

Ford managed to widen the gap shortly after, as a result of Ireland’s Aki being on the wrong side, leading to a penalty that pushed England’s lead to 8-3. However, in typical Crowley style, the fly-half retaliated with a successful kick moments later, reducing the deficit to a mere two points.

Aki’s unsuccessful carry at the restart resulted in England gaining possession. They chose to kick to the corner with their subsequent penalty, rather than attempting a shot at the posts. A potential second try by Lawrence was dismissed due to a knock-on by Furbank.

Ireland’s Aki soon redeemed himself as he secured a penalty near halfway, which saw Crowley edge Ireland into a 9-8 lead.

The following moments were tense as Furbank gave Ireland the last offensive opportunity of the first half. From this position, Crowley extended their lead to four points with a successful kick after England was penalized for being offside.

As the second half ensued, Ireland exhibited a new-found confidence in their attacking formation that saw a breathtaking try by Lowe touch down in the corner, while Keenan’s brilliant high-ball set the stage before Crowley’s composure and skill sent Doris running into space.

Crowley, in his attempt to follow up with a conversion saw the fly-half’s ball steer wide, much to the appreciation of England who were trailing 9 points behind.

In an unexpected development, Underhill made a fantastic carry and offload, creating an opening for Furbank to make a sprint down the left side of the field.

In an attempt to reduce the score difference, Ford took a penalty kick. However, he missed for the second time, leaving England four points behind.Meanwhile, Gibson-Park from the Ireland team was prepared to replace Frawley, who had to leave the match due to a failed Head Injury Assessment (HIA).

Ireland experienced further disappointment when O’Mahony was penalized and sent to the sin-bin for diving over a ruck following a line-break. England capitalized on this by kicking the ball to the corner, creating a significant scoring opportunity. They seized this chance and took the lead through Ben Earl, after executing several phases of attacks at close range

A penalty at the breakdown by Kelleher led to Crowley executing an excellent kick to touch. Lowe then scored with seven minutes remaining after a series of skillful passes during a run, making it appear as though Ireland had secured the win. However, Daly missed a long-distance penalty with just four minutes to go.

Sunday 10th March 2024

#3. Wales vs France (24-45)

France dominated Wales last Sunday as the second-half of the match saw Les Bleus snag a sensational bonus-point win in Cardiff that saw the scores conclude 45-24.

The match kicked off with an intense first half. Both teams managed to score two tries each, with the lead switching sides five times.

For Wales, wing Rio Dyer and scrum-half Tomos Williams made significant contributions, while centre Gael Fickou and scrum-half Nolann Le Garrec did the same for France.

Fly-halves Sam Costelow and Thomas Ramos also made their mark, with successful kicks that put France ahead by three points at halftime.

The second half of the game was no less exciting. Wales managed to regain the lead briefly with a try from centre Joe Roberts. However, the rest of the match belonged to France.

Over the next 35 minutes, replacement tighthead Georges-Henri Colombe, lock Romain Taofifenua, and scrum-half Maxime Luca scored additional tries, sealing a bonus-point win for Les Bleus.

As it Happened:

Wales were quick to make their way onto the scoreboard within the first 2 minutes of the match as Costelow delivered a penalty. However, it wasn’t long until Les Bleus’ Ramos followed up with a penalty of his own just 5 minutes later to bring the scores to a tie.

Determined to hold their own after an underwhelming performance against Ireland in week 3, Wales notched the opening try when winger Rio Dyer secured a loose ball as he boldy sped through the middle of the pitch, slipping past France’s defence to touch down under the posts.

France responded through Ramos, narrowing Wales lead to just four points within four minutes, with the first scrum of the match seeing Les Bleus drive over the top of their Welsh rivals against the head.

An impressive performance came by way of Wales’ lock Adam Beard who forced a maul turnover with France applying the pressure in the Wales 22.

However, within a matter of minutes, France bundled over to secure the lead after the ball passed through Ramos and Damian Penaud to provide Fickou with an opportune moment to slip through the grasp of Costelow, for a touch down in the corner.

Ramos quickly converted from the touchline, but Wales was not far behind. In a thrilling sequence, they found themselves over the try-line just moments later.

It was centre Owen Watkin who initiated the break, deftly passing inside to Tomos Williams. With a swift move, Williams darted under the post, leaving the French defences in disarray and out of sight.

As the first half was drawing to a close, France started to regain their footing and redoubled their efforts to take back the lead. This came after full-back Cameron Winnet was compelled to retreat over his own try-line, thereby giving France a five-metre scrum attack. This set the stage for Le Garrec to swiftly dart past the posts.

No further points came in the remainder of the first half, leaving the scores hanging in the balance, however just three minutes into the second half, Wales regained the lead as well-calculated dummy pass from Jamie Roberts saw the Centre get over the line after Williams had just been stopped by a last-ditch Fickou tackle.

Determined to emerge victorious, and to secure a bonus point win, the following 20 minute period brought on a wave of unshakeable French dominance, however Les Bleus failed to add any points as Ramos and debutant centre Nicolas Depoortere were halted at the try-line.

Further insult to injury came by way of No 8 Gregory Alldritt who saw his try ruled out as a result ofa knock-on, TMO confimed, and scrum dominance close to the Wales try-line failed to be rewarded when referee Luke Pearce penalised France for an early drive.

A glimmer of hope emerged when Les Blues successfully scored a penalty the next time they were in position, following a dynamic dash by Penaud.

With a quarter of an hour left, France finally achieved a try, reclaiming the lead they deserved through the formidable prop Colombe from a short distance.

The game’s intensity escalated just five minutes later when Taofifenua blocked a kick from Wales’ scrum-half Gareth Davies and sprinted forward to touch down the ball.

In the final moments, Ramos added another penalty following some outstanding ruck work by Colombe, leaving just enough time for Lucu to catch a pass from Penaud and score a fifth try in the last move of the game.

What’s next?

Round 5 (Saturday 16th March 2024)

  • Wales vs Italy
    • Kick-off time: 14:15 UTC
    • Venue: Principality Stadium
  • Ireland vs. Scotland
    • Kick-off time: 16:45 UTC
    • Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin
  • France vs. England
    • Kick-off time: 20:00 UTC
    • Venue: Groupama Stadium, Lyon

Missed out on Round 3?

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By Peter Wakeford

Just your everyday grassroots guru. I'm here to sprinkle some sportsy magic on your day with the latest boot drops, guides, news, and a dash of quirky humor. Let's lace up and have a laugh on this sporting adventure!

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