Scotland vs Ireland:
In the match of the opening round, Scotland produced a stunning win at Murrayfield, with Greig Laidlaw converting two late penalties to pull off a 27-22 victory.
The Scots were cruising at 21-8 at halftime, before Ireland produced a brilliant comeback. Tries from Iain Henderson and Paddy Jackson helped Ireland jump into the lead in the second half, before Laidlaw’s under-pressure penalties gave the home side the victory.
Scotland head coach Vern Cotter: I thought we found a way to get us in trouble again but we dominated first half and I think they dominated large parts of the second half and there was composure in the end and we got what we wanted.
Ireland coach head Joe Schmidt: I really felt we clawed our way back into the game to get ahead at 22-21. We got very close to getting away from them, but when you don’t get away from a team who are playing at home and there’s so much to play for, you’re always at risk of them coming back and getting something out of it.
Result: Scotland 27-Ireland 22.
England vs France:
Facing numerous injuries, you always felt England might struggle to find their rhythm and they did. France played the better game overall, they were stout in defence and did produce a couple of solid moments in England’s half, but Eddie Jones’ men, coming off an unbeaten 2016, showed champions’ stuff to pull off a victory even when they did not play too well.
Replacement Ben Te’o took the plaudits, coming off the bench to score the match-winning try late on.
England captain Dylan Hartley: A huge amount of credit has to go to our finishers. Ben Te’o and James Haskell came on and gave us a good bit of go-forward at the end – it was unbelievable effort from our subs.
Jamie George came on and his set-pieces were outstanding. Matt Mullan came on and shored things up – we’ve got finishers to add something to the game and I think everyone who came on the field added something to the game.
France captain Guilhem Guirado: It feels like we’re repeating ourselves after what we managed to do in November (when France lost narrowly to both Australia and New Zealand). It’s really hard to take another win by so little having dominated for so long and having been close to the line so often. I hope there are better days on the horizon but it’s tough, it’s starting to become a little tiresome.
Result: England 19-16 France.
Italy vs Wales:
The Welsh took their own sweet time to find their mojo in this match, scoring just three points in the first half. But they were a completely different outfit in the second half, scoring 30 to trump Italy at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.
Leigh Halfpenny was the star of the show for Wales, scoring 18 points, while George North pulled off a brilliant try right at the end to cap off a difficult, but satisfying win.
Reaction: Wales star George North: We had to fight for every inch but we’re happy in the end. They are a very passionate team like ourselves and always front up. Towards the latter end we backed ourselves and I think it showed, the holes came.
Italy head coach Conor O’Shea: The guys are very disappointed because I felt that there was a real opportunity there at halftime, if we had got that first 20 minutes of the second half right and managed it. We drained the energy out of ourselves with our indiscipline and didn’t have much to get it going the other way.
Result: Italy 7-33 Wales.