Credit: Six Nations Rugby

In the third round of games in this year's 6Nations rugby tournament played at the week-end, leaders France were up against a resurgent Scottish side at Murrayfield in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The visitors scored six tries to two in a comprehensive 17-36 score-line, earning a bonus point in the process; while the first half was a tight affair with the score-line 10-12 approaching half-time, the French broke away by scoring two tries shortly after the resumption of play in the second half. While the Scottish players were spirited in the first half, their challenge faded in the second half as Les Bleus were more clinical, thanks in no small part to the sublime skills of Antoine Dupont who again was a class above the rest. France remain on course for a grand-slam, as well as building a side capable of going all the way in next year's Rugby World Cup in France.

In Saturday's second game, England hosted Wales at Twickenham in London and overcame the visitors by 23-19. Both teams had come into the match having won one and lost one game in the two rounds to date. With the skill level quite below that of the first game of the day, Wales arguably showed more enterprise and managed to score two tries to England's one - and this directly from a Welsh mistake. England, though, drove ahead thanks to the boot of out-half Marcus Smith who landed six penalties to record 18 points on the day; Wales were complicit in their own downfall as they were repeatedly penalised for infringements. England never lost their lead but Wales mounted a fightback in the closing minutes but alas it was not enough. Wales have improved since their opening day loss to Ireland, yet they are nowhere year last year's levels when their won the tournament, while England are better than their opening-day loss to Scotland. Neither team is hitting the heights this season.

Ireland leapfrogged above England into second place in the table with a comprehensive victory over Italy in Dublin. Italy were putting up a dogged performance with a lineout that was working particularly well. However, the visitors lost their hooker to injury and shortly afterwards their replacement hooker was red-carded for a (dangerous) high tackle. The next scrum then required the rule book to be taken out as scrums were then uncontested (Italy had no hookers), Italy had to have another front-row forward on and were down to 13 men. The upshot of this was that Ireland had a two-man advantage for the rest of the game. At 24-6 at half-time, Ireland had a bonus point in the bag at that early stage. The second half was a scrappy affair, Ireland struggled in the main, Italy went down to 12 men for the last few minutes after a yellow card, but Ireland did score a total of nine tries for a 57-6 win, giving their overall points total a great boost.

France remain top of the table on 14 points, with Ireland on 11 points and England on 10 points.

The fourth round of games is in two weeks’ time when Wales host France, Italy host Scotland and England host Ireland. Regardless of the results of the first two matches, the winner of the last match in Twickenham will go into the last round of matches the following week with hope of the championship still alive - provided, that is, that France loses either one of their last two games. Which is quite unlikely, but entirely possible, considering the unpredictable nature of the 6Nations championship.