Week 2 RBS Six Nations Well the first weekend certainly gave us quite the shock with the result at Murrayfield, would the second weekend live up to the billing? Could Ireland shock their hosts in Paris, would the Azzuri be able to claim their first big scalp in Rome, and would the Scots be able to repeat their French heroics in the Millennium Stadium. As it turned out this wasnâ€™t to be that weekend but an interesting one nonetheless. Starting in Paris on Saturday afternoon and it was crucial for Ireland to withhold the inevitable French onslaught, sadly for Ireland they crumbled in the first scrum and their defence crumbled in combination with a string of unforced errors, and within the opening minutes Rougerie was away in the corner after Murphy missed the tackle, again a mix up in defence between Leamy and the hapless Murphy let Magne in for the second, it had the look of one of those Parisian days for the Irish, however Ireland had the majority of possession but managed to create very little thanks in no small part to the incredible defensive effort of the French, Ireland take note here, aggressive tackling, holding their shape, not panicking in the face of a green wave of attack, impressive hardly does them justice. For all their possession and territory Ireland came away with a measly 3 points, while the French capitalised on more Irish errors to put the match beyond their opponents at half time as an intercept from Heymans gifted again by Murphy inflicted another mortal blow for Les Bleues. While before that David Marty got in on the act when scoring off a charge down, not one French score down to individual brilliance or Gallic flair yet they held a 26 point lead at the break. Into the second period and we did see some of that French flair as a looping pass from Ellisalde put Heymans in for his second of the day, while Marty also picked up a brace shortly after to add insult to injury. So leading by 40 points the French took their foot off the pedal and Ireland managed to regain some self respect with 28 unanswered points, the Irish were playing with a freedom and expression not seen in a long time but bare in mind the French mentally were already celebrating in the dressing room, so in the end Irelandâ€™s late rally was in vain as the French woke up in the last 10 minutes to resume their staunch defensive work that was so prevalent in the first half and deny Ireland any sniff at victory that their fourth try had given them. So work to be done for both sides, the French need to work on their 80 minute performance, Ireland need to work on their defensive options, as well as selection problems, overcoming the handicap of the poorest scrum in the tournament, and being a little more clinical when so dominant in possession and territory. Not much then. Onto Rome for the days second match where the Azzuri were hoping to add the scalp of the world champions to their list of achievements. The Italians started brightly continuing their good showing from the previous weekâ€™s performance in Dublin, strong defence from England denying the Italians the first try of the match, however in this tight affair it was Mike Tindall who managed to open the scoring on 25 minutes. However the Italians didnâ€™t fold in the face of adversity and managed to claw their way back into it with 2 drop goals and a penalty kick from Pez to give the Italians a 9-7 lead into the second half. England gradually turned the screw on the Italians and with the introduction of Matt Dawson it seemed to do the trick as England were able to put a bit more fluency into their back play, and he duly put Charlie Hodgson away for a try which he also converted. Mark Cueto managed to add the third for England as he held off Bergamasco to get over the whitewash, and in a consolation try for the Azzuri, no more then their efforts deserved it was Bergamasco again with his second try of the championship, however England had the last laugh as James Simpson Daniel put a bit of gloss on the scoreline as the world champions ran out 31-16 winners. Overall it was a patchy performance from England but again hardly surprising considering the level of improvements that the Azzuri have made under their new head coach Berbizier, it would appear that the Italians may well pick up a win in this seasonâ€™s tournament and who could begrudge it given the recent renaissance in the National team. Cardiff was the scene for the final act of the weekend as the Celtic neighbours drew battle at the Millennium Stadium. How would the Welsh respond to their mauling at the hand of bitter rival England and would the bandwagon roll on for the Scots after their opening weekend victory. In the end it was a let down as the Welsh inevitably did respond and deliver a composed performance against a 14 man Scottish team who had their hero of the previous week sent off for kicking Ian Gough, who himself was sin binned for his involvement in the incident. Of course had the Scots had 15 men it would have made a difference to the outcome, but in what way weâ€™ll never know, going on the face of things yesterday the Welsh dominated up front as they were awarded a penalty try, a brace from Gareth Thomas and one of the villains of the piece, from a Scottish point of view, rubbed salt into the wounds as he grabbed a try for himself. The Scots rallied though and with 2 late tries put some respectability on the score line but like their other Celtic cousins it proved in vain as the Welsh ran out 28-18 winners. Wales will now travel to Dublin with renewed confidence while the Scots will be hoping for a Calcutta Cup victory which would derail the grand slam hopes of the auld enemy when the two come face to face at Murrayfield while the Italians go to France in search of their first win in this seasonâ€™s championship, will their heads be down or will their defensive strength blunt Les Bleues hopes of regaining the Six Nations trophy. All will be revealed in 2 weeks.