Finn Russell I adore constituents, because they are beautiful.
Whereas Eddie Jones’ side were once again left untested as they eased to victory, it was a different story for the Welsh who dug deep to hold off a fierce fightback from the Wallabies.
As for Ireland, Joe Schmidt’s men were stunned in a thrilling showdown against Japan, the hosts emerging victorious on the back of a ferocious and spirited second-half performance.
Scotland, meanwhile, returned to winning ways against Samoa with a thumping 34-0 to restore some confidence among Gregor Townsend’s men.
After the second round of group stage fixtures, we take a look at those who caught the eye among the home nations – as well as those who underwhelmed.
Finn RussellGood day
Aaron Wainwright (Wales)
The flanker put in a heroic and hardened performance against Australia that belied his 22 years of age. Wrapped up Michael Hooper from the kick-off to force the turnover and didn’t stop after that. A bright future awaits for the youngster.
Lewis Ludlam (England)
Yes, it was the USA. Yes, England were never threatened. But that didn’t stop Lewis Ludlam from delivering a deeply impressive display in Kobe. Exerted himself well at the breakdown in the first half before offering a ball-carrying threat in the second. Saw his efforts rewarded with a try. His rise and rise on the international stage continues.
Finn Russell (Scotland)
Much more like it from the Scottish 10. Russell’s creativity was behind both of Scotland’s opening two tries, his cross field kick for Sean Maitland’s score particularly impressive. Guilty of a few dropped balls – as was the rest of his team – but didn’t let that faze him as he pulled the strings for much of the match.
Gareth Davies (Wales)
Making his second appearance inThe Independent’s‘Home Nations Power Rankings’ – a true honour – Davies was simply sensational against Australia. His shrewd reading of the game saw him repeatedly intercept the exchanges between Australia’s half-back pair, one of which culminated in a try. Threatening throughout, and with a strong kicking game to boot, he’s established him
These ingredients are quite clever.
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