That's your lot of rugby action this weekend though. Bitter grudges, tight finishes, and seven-try thrillers, I enjoyed it all. Hope you did too, thanks for your messages and why not take another look at that
little "hot-dog" pass from Trinh-Duc before logging off?
If you have your diary out and enjoyed some of that champagne rugby from the French, why not pencil in the Heineken Cup quarter-final between Biarritz and Toulouse on 9th April as well? Harinordoquy, Dusautoir, Clerc, Jauzion et al in front of tens of thousands of excited Basques. That is certainly a little something to look forward to.
To mark your card for next weekend, the action gets underway on Saturday with England v Italy
at Twickenham at 1430 GMT, followed by Scotland v Wales
at 1700 from Murrayfield. On Sunday, France
will be the opposition for Ireland's
first Six Nations game at the Aviva Stadium, the new venue that has sprung up on the site of the legendary Lansdowne Road. Kick-off is 1500 in Dublin.
bwilliamson92 on Twitter:
"Sean Lamont was much better in the centre than Nick De Luca."That's the sort of thing I was talking about. Great little bit of interplay between him and Ansbro for the final Scottish try.
Amongst the Scots, second row Richie Gray and centre Joe Ansbro were the two who really impressed for me. But then I was desperately typing to keep up with the flow of French tries. Who did I miss? It will certainly be an interesting clash next Saturday at Murrayfield.
The analysis continues on the interactive forum. It is at the top of the page for you to enjoy. Jonathan Davies
suggests that Scarlets' Rhys Priestland may be an option at fly-half for Wales against Scotland next week. Although James Hook is his final choice at stand-off. He would also dispatch Mike Phillips to the bench with Dwayne Peel to come in at scrum-half. Too early for those sort of changes? Or just the thing to freshen up that stuttering backline?
Scotland coach Andy Robinson
on his side's showing: "I'm really pleased with how the team went about things, but I have told them in there that I was really disappointed that they have scored four tries after we have had the ball. That is unacceptable. We have got to be better with ball in hand. We have to be ruthless if we are going to win Test matches."
"I thought the effort was outstanding, but we can't give the ball away when the French are attacking like that. We have to look at the positives, we can't let it affect the rest of the Six Nations...We have to learn from the scrum, we knew that the French would attack us, but we thought we could deal with it and perhaps take advantage of it. You have to give credit to their pack." says Scotland captain Alastair Kellock.
BigDoodyBoy on Twitter:
"What a fabulous game of rugby. We lost but how exciting was it? Gutsy brave performance. Look forward to next #bbcsixnations games."
"The difference at the top level is execution and Scotland were just a whisker away from scoring another two or three tries there" adds Jeremy Guscott.
"Scotland lost but it was a very gutsy brave performance with some real quality in there. They stuck at it and scored three good tries, but it will take a lot out of them," says Andy Nicol's
on his nation's efforts on BBC One.
FULL-TIME: FRANCE 34-21 SCOTLAND
The crowd are more generous though as the final whistle goes on a terrific game. Plenty to be pleased about there for Andy Robinson.
Boos ring round the stands as France opt to kick rather than run a late penalty. Yachvili
isn't to be distracted though and he pushes the gap a little further.
78 MINS: PENALTY: FRANCE 34-21 SCOTLAND
75 MINS: FRANCE 31-21 SCOTLAND
A lovely delayed pass from Ansbro sends Sean Lamont
through a gap left by Trinh-Duc and the centre holds off the cover to cross for Scotland's third try - as many as they scored in the whole of last year's championship. Parks
converts with ease.
75 MINS: TRY: FRANCE 31-19 SCOTLAND 72 mins:
Toulouse winger Vincent Clerc comes on for Medard as France rings more changes. Scotland hooker Ross Ford makes way for Dougie Hall.
69 MINS: FRANCE 31-14 SCOTLAND
Another searing break from Medard who cuts inside Gray before throwing an overarm pass to Yachvili, who hands on to Poitrenaud, before Damien Traille
finally romps in. A great score. Yachvili
slots the conversion.
68 MINS: TRY: FRANCE 29-14 SCOTLAND 65 mins:
Yachvili takes on a penalty from distance but comes up short.
Another forceful run from Ansbro, but the Scots can't build on it. A few replacements for the visitors as Ross Rennie and Richie Vernon come on for Barclay and Hines. Sean Lamont replaces Nick Da Luca in the backline.
61 mins: FRANCE 24-14 SCOTLAND
The French seemed to lose concentration there. Referee Wayne Barnes awards a penalty and Blair opts to run, a flat pass to Kelly Brown
send the number eight battering through the flimsy tackles of Sebastian Chabal and Julien Pierre. The impeccable Parks
converts. It is a 10-point game.
60 MINS: TRY: FRANCE 24-12 SCOTLAND 59 mins:
A good response from Scotland as Kellock goes close from short-range but is repelled by Dusautoir.
56 mins: FRANCE 24-7 SCOTLAND
A magical moment from the French as Trinh-Duc pounces on a loose ball and flicks an audacious pass between his legs to a rampaging Imanol Harinordoquy
who charges in under the posts. Yachvili
converts - sensational stuff from the hosts.
55 MINS: TRY: FRANCE 22-7 SCOTLAND 52 mins:
Scotland clear, but not that far. A good French line-out, but the Scots turn over the ball, but Mike Blair's kick for Evans is too strong.
Parra squirms free of Nathan Hines around the fringes and offloads to prop Thomas Domingo. The front row's hands let him down though and he knocks forward. That is Parra's last involvement as Dimitri Yachvili comes off the bench to take his place.
But Dusautoir does something very similar in the next phase, Richie Gray, hampered by his height, can't budge him and France have a penalty. Bit of length on it but fairly central. Morgan Parra
steps up but his attempt is wide. It stays 17-7.
It looks like John Barclay who manages to get over the top of a tackled Servat and wrestle long enough to convince Wayne Barnes to penalise the prop. Dan Parks rifles the kick long to clear Scottish lines.
A French backs move is hampered as Damien Traille punts out of play to avoid Maxime Mermoz who is receiving treatment. The Perpignan centre is not going to play on. On comes Clement Poitrenaud at 15 as Traille moves up into midfield.
Second row Richie Gray helps disrupt the French line-out and then eats up the yards with his giant strides as he has a charge at the French half-backs. He is making a good impression here.
Scrum-half Mike Blair replaces Rory Lawson at half-time as Dan Parks gets the game back underway.
"It is a thing of artistry," says England's Jeremy Guscott
of the French backs' play on BBC One.
"Their flow and movement is just fantastic."I think Jeremy might be tempted to dust off his boots and sneak onto the French bench. It wasn't like this in many of his Five Nations days.
grahamwa on Twitter:
"More rugby played in the Scotland v France game so far than the other two games put together."
"I don't think that Scotland can continue to exist in this game unless they sort the scrum out. We are only ten points adrift, but it feels like we are clinging on. Richie Gray and John Barclay have been good at getting us over the gain-line, but I think we need to be more direct. We need to score next," says injured scrum-half Chris Cusiter
on the touchlines.
HALF-TIME: FRANCE 17-7 SCOTLAND 40 mins:
Scotland get the benefit of Wayne Barnes' whistle as another scrum goes south and Parks plonks a kick into the stands to end the half.
Trademark 15-man stuff from the hosts as Servat, and then Dusautoir, charge down the wing. The home crowd are enjoying this...
Walker takes a high ball and makes inroads through the middle, Ansbro follows up, but the ball is lost with a loose pass and, after the French hack downfield, Walker can only clear a short distance and the French have a line-out on the visitors 22.
A great take from Max Evans from Morgan Parra's box kick and Nikki Walker briefly threatens to break through as the ball comes back the other way. Possesion is lost though and the French are only a pass away from another score as Harinordoquy barges through. Entertaining stuff.
28 mins: FRANCE 17-7 SCOTLAND
The fifth scum of the series and the Scottish front-row pop up as they come under immense pressure. Wayne Barnes has had enough and trots under the posts, Morgan Parra
does his bit to stick another two on the board.
28 MINS: PENALTY TRY FRANCE 15-7 SCOTLAND
The French scrum marches towards the line but the set-piece collapses and Kellock gets a stern talking-to from referee Wayne Barnes. One more of those and it could be a yellow card for one of the front row and a penalty try.
Richie Gray's second superb last-ditch tackle hauls down Yoann Huget just short. But the French have a penalty, five metres out, and opt for the scrum.
Medard gathers a loose balls and bursts towards the line, but Ansbro's tap tackle is enough to send him stumbling and the winger's attempt to flip the ball to the supporting Imanol Harinordoquy is intercepted. Close call for the visitors
Scotland are camped on the French line and captain Alastair Kellock gives a cheeky show of the ball before burrowing beneath a flailing William Servat to touch down. Dan Parks
converts and suddenly this looks tasty.
19 MINS: TRY: FRANCE 10-5 SCOTLAND 17 mins:
The Scots have done well to repel that period of pressure and have some momentum of their own as Richie Gray and Ansbro steam in. Lawson offloads to Kellock and the visitors are within five.
Desperate defence for Scotland against a buzzing French. Richie Gray does superbly to hang onto the back of Aurelien Rougerie's shirt as the line beckons for the Clermont Auvergne man. A pinpoint crossfield kick from Trinh-Duc that picked out Bonnaire set up the opening.
Centre Joe Ansbro comes close to breaking through the French defence on halfway, but the visitors lose patience, put boot to ball and France are back in possession.
France recycle the ball quickly, fly-half Trinh-Duc retreats into position and hits a drop-goal high and handsome through the middle. The Scots are desperately trying to catch their breath.
10 MINS: DROP-GOAL: FRANCE 10-0 SCOTLAND 7 min:
Dan Parks looks a little rattled and overcooks a kick into the corner and France surge back off the lineout. Flanker Julien Bonnaire pops up on the wing and bashes into the defence to set up a platform 10 metres out.
2 mins: FRANCE 7-0 SCOTLAND
A rip-roaring start from the hosts as a big hit from Francois Trinh-Duc scatters the ball from Nick De Luca's hands. Aurelien Rougerie plucks it off the deck sets off downfield and puts a perfectly weighted grubber into the corner which Maxime Medard
controls and dots down for the opening score. Morgan Parra
extends the lead with a good kick.
2 MINS: TRY: FRANCE 5-0 SCOTLAND 1 min:
Scotland collect the kick-off and spin the ball out to full-back Hugo Southwell, whose left boot pumps the ball out towards halfway.
Is there any tournament in the world with the consistently high quality of anthems as the Six Nations? Flower of Scotland is belted out by the track-suited visitors and the hosts reply with La Marseillaise. Packed house at the Stade de France, let's get it on.
A full report of the goings-on in Rome is available for anyone who needs to catch up
Now it is time to turn to Paris. The Scots have only two wins in 42 years in the French capital. But the time might be ripe for another rare victory for the visitors...
Well, that was mighty tight for Ireland in the end. Whatever your team, it is hard not to feel for those noisy Italian fans who cheered their team to the rafters. Luke McLean looked absolutely devastated at the end as well. And it wasn't just unforced errors from the Ireland players, there were a few bloopers from me in all the excitement. A quick manual refresh should clear out the stray characters that popped up. Apologies.
NGReeves on Twitter:
"I'm well gutted for Italy, they played for the full 80 minutes and just came up short."
"I was looking at Brian's face during that interview and I don't think he was relieved, he looked angry. he will only feel relieved when he wakes up tomorrow and reflects on a winning start," says Keith Wood.
"There were just too many unforced errors."
80+1 mins: FULL-TIME ITALY 11-13 IRELAND
Fitzgerald checks with referee, gets the nod and turns and boots it over his own dead-ball to bring the match to an end. Ireland scrape home with a win and Brian O'Driscoll
says in his post-match chat that that is "probably the only thing we can take from it".
Orquera tries his luck with a mammoth drop-goal but it is well short of distance required and Italy's hopes are over. Luke Fitzgerald gets underneath it and calls the mark.
An immediate response from Ireland as they drive downfield, Ronan O'Gara settles into the pocket and sends a drop-goal straight between the sticks. Has that killed off the possibility of an upset?
78 mins: DROP-GOAL: ITALY 11-13 IRELAND
Lovely quick hands as Italy shift the ball left and the defence eventually peters out as Luke McLean dives over with Mirco Bergamasco poised on his shoulder if he had needed him. The winger misses the conversion though.
74 mins: TRY: ITALY 11-10 IRELAND
Ireland flanker Denis Leamy's hands are all over the ball on the side of the ruck and referee Poite dispatches him to the bin to allow Italy to punt downfield for a line-out 15 metres out. Italy also replace Kristopher Burton with Luciano Orquera at fly-half.
Italy spread the play and centre Gonzalo Canale hits the line at speed and is brought down just short. The decibel level rises but the crowd are left disappointed as Martin Castrogiovanni spills forward.
Pressure on the Ireland front row and Cian Healy goes nose-first into the turf. The referee warns O'Driscoll that the next time it happens it could be yellow for the prop.
A rolling maul rumbles down towards the Ireland line before going to ground. Referee Poite awards the scrum and this is a great platform for an Italy attack - ten metres or so out, and ten metres in from the left touchline.
Ireland fails to roll away and Burton slaps the penalty down onto the Ireland 22-metre line. Ronan O'Gara is on for Sexton at fly-half for Ireland. The Munster man is winning his 104th cap.
Sean O'Brien finds himself with a bit of space out wide and Andrea Masi opposite him. His attempted step and hand-off is a little ungainly though and the ball dribbles out of hand and out of play. Changes for both teams as former Saracen Fabio Ongaro comes on in the Italian front row and Eoin Reddan replaces Tomas O'Leary at scrum-half for Ireland.
Italy look ponderous as they attempt to run at Ireland and make little headway in 11 phases before the visitors commit to the breakdown and turn the ball over.
And a third opportunity goes begging as Ireland outnumber Italy out wide. The move crabs laterally to allow the cover to get across, D'Arcy takes responsibility as he cuts inside, but the ball is dislodged in the tackle. Italy escape yet again. They remain less than a try behind Ireland, but have not looked likely to cross the line to be honest.
Ireland turn it over and flow back towards the other wing, there are men over but Brian O'Driscoll's cut-out pass flies clear over McFadden's head and into touch. Wasted chance.
Keith Earls sniffs a gap up the blindside, he slants towards the touchline but his grubber kick is recovered by the Italians.
Paul O'Connell can't resist as he sees the ball tempting him in the ruck, but his illegal hand is spotted by Roman Poite and the whistle goes for an Italian penalty to relieve the pressure.
Gordon D'Arcy isn't have his finest afternoon, his third knock-on of the match is a bit of a howler and hands possession back to the Italians.
Andrea Masi runs back an Irish clearing kick as the Italians attempt to get to grips with this second half, but Parisse's attempt to get the ball moving is misjudged as his flicked offload fails to find a team-mate.
Sergio Parisse is almost through a gap as Italy attempts to hit back but the pass, slightly behind him, escapes his grasp. Gori, the Italian scrum-half, has suffered a dislocated shoulder apparently. Big blow for the rest of the Italians' campaign.
It is Brian O'Driscoll's 42nd try for his country as he surges down the blindside and slips through the mismatched Martin Castrogiovanni's tackle. Keith Earls had slashed through the defence on a lovely line to set up the position under the posts. Sexton adds the extras from a bit of an angle. ITALY 6-10 IRELAND
42 mins: TRY: ITALY 6-8 IRELAND 42 mins:
The referee sees a scrum offence from Italy though and Cian Healy rumbles into the 22. As the ball is recycled wide, a wayward pass heads off over the sideline. Plenty of territory for Ireland now.
Bit more depth and intent from the Irish backline from the start. A knock-on from Denis Leamy though lets the pressure off.
The teams are back on the pitch. Keith Wood
on BBC One reckons Ireland will come through in the last 10 or 15 mins. Let's see.
From Anon via text:
"Ireland need to be patient. Italy will break down as the game goes on. "
Justme_Polly on Twitter:
"Hmm, why do the Irish players keep dropping the ball in this game??"I'm sure that Declan Kidney will have been asking the same question in the dressing room right now.
A ruck offence gives Italy another chance to go in ahead and this time they take it as Bergamasco stalks up to the ball and drills it over. Can Italy keep up this effort? Tremendous defence to frustrate Ireland, even if they don't have too much out wide to threaten.
40+1 mins: PENALTY: ITALY 6-3 IRELAND 39 mins:
Solid line-out, but no penetration from Italy. Big hit from Sexton on giant second row Quentin Geldenhuys helps keep the hosts from making many yards. Kristopher Burton decides it is time to try a drop-goal but is off-target.
Cian Healy hits the floor in a scrum on halfway and Burton punts the resulting penalty towards the corner for an attacking line-out.
Plenty of bosh from the Italian forwards as Parisse powers up round the fringes. Ireland finally force a turnover but their counter is foiled by another basic mistake as D'Arcy feeds debutant McFadden with a forward pass. Prop Salvatore Perugini is off for blood with Andrea Lo Cicero his temporary replacement for the hosts.
A cute kick from O'Driscoll puts Italy back down onto their 22, but Leonardo Ghiraldini deals with the pressure well enough and finds Zanni towering above the green shirts.
These Italian forwards are a fierce bunch. They stampede over centre Gonzalo Canale and the Irish aren't quick enough to roll away from the ruck. Penalty to Italy, it is a long one though and Bergamasco strays wide to let Ireland off the hook.
Sexton splits the uprights with ease and a nice big bit of orchestral music over the PA. Certainly beats Kings of Leon.
27 mins: PENALTY - ITALY 3-3 IRELAND 26 mins:
Italian hands in the ruck and Ireland finally have a chance to pull level. Should be routine....
Italy fail to find touch and a delicate little chip from O'Driscoll almost bounces up for him as the Italian defenders drop off him. A lot more promising from Ireland now.
The attack flows back the other way, but this time it is Gordon D'Arcy at fault as he gets ahead of himself in his eagerness to spread the play and knocks on.
Italy clear their lines momentarily, but the Irish are piling forward now. Brian O'Drisoll steps inside a scampering defender, but is stopped just short by full-back Luke McLean. Space out wide surely. But Earls juggles the ball as it makes its way out to the flanks and the defence has time to cover.
Ireland are within five as Earls drifts wide and makes use of Fitzgerald's incisive inside line. Sexton's support is good, but Scarbi's cover defence snuffs the attack out just in time for the hosts.
Jonathan Sexton and Gordon D'Arcy make a pigs ear of an attempted scissors and the Italians seize on the loose ball. They need more sustained possession to steady themselves.
The mistakes continue from Ireland. Brian O'Driscoll sprays a pass into the advertising hoardings and Italy drive forward off the line-out before conceding a penalty and letting the visitors release the pressure with a kick to touch.
Ireland squander a good position as Rory Best initially misses his man off the lineout and then, after recovering the ball, Ireland spill it into grateful Italian hands.
Scrum-half Gori is forced off with a shoulder injury which doesn't look too clever at all and replacement Pablo Canavosio is on. Upheaval for Nick Mallett on the sidelines.
The visitors put together 14 phases as they creep forwards, but the play comes to an end as Keith Earls stubs a kick ahead straight into the blue wall.
Mirco Bergamasco slots a simple one after an Irish infringement and Declan Kidney's side need to find the groove still.
ITALY 3-0 IRELAND - PENALTY 2 min:
Ireland are still feeling their way into this one. Rory Best finds Donnacha O'Callaghan but David Wallace spills O'Leary's pass and the Italians get a chance to turn the screw.
Mirco Bergamasco comes close to gathering a cross field kick but the ball bobbles away from him and out for Ireland's first line-out.
Tomas O'Leary is safe and secure under the high ball, calls the mark and clears his lines up to half way.
It is Italy to kick off and Kristopher Burton boots it high into the blue sky to get us going.
The military band is piping up, Sergio Parisse and Brian O'Driscoll have charged out onto the turf. Anthems, both corkers, to follow. Time for you to pass your eye through the line-ups in full I reckon:Ireland:
Luke Fitzgerald (Leinster), Fergus McFadden (Leinster), Brian O'Driscoll (Leinster, captain), Gordan D'Arcy (Leinster), Keith Earls (Munster), Jonathan Sexton (Leinster), Tomas O'Leary (Munster); Cian Healy (Leinster), Rory Best (Ulster), Mike Ross (Leinster), Donnacha O'Callaghan (Munster), Paul O'Connell (Munster), Denis Leamy (Munster), David Wallace (Munster), Sean O'Brien (Leinster). Italy:
Luke McLean; Andrea Masi, Gonzalo Canale, Alberto Sgarbi, Mirco Bergamasco; Kristopher Burton, Edoardo Gori; Salvatore Perugini, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Martin Castrogiovanni; Santiago Dellape, Quentin Geldenhuys; Josh Sole, Alessandro Zanni, Sergio Parisse (capt).
"It is a very big day for the front row, the hope will be that Mike Ross can tame the much vaunted Italians," Keith Wood
gives his take on the forward battle. Ross is making his first Six Nations start today at the age of 31, Leicester's Martin Castrogiovanni will be one of those grinning back at him when they pack down for the first time.
"It's coming on okay. It's been a few weeks now hopefully I'll get a scan on it next week and be back in contention soon," Tommy Bowe
, basking in the touchline sun in the Stadio Flaminio, gives Gabby Logan an update on his knee injury. Doesn't sound a starter against France next week to me.
JM_Cruise on Twitter:
"Time for Ireland to step up to the plate and build towards the RWC in NZ. Injuries or not, Ireland to win comfortably"
Who should we be looking out for in this Italian side then? Well, for all that experience (1348), Nick Mallett has been talking up scrum-half Edoardo Gori.
The 20-year-old is second choice for club side Benetton Treviso but wins his third cap today. He will be serving up ball to Australia-born Kristopher Burton
, who is making his first Six Nations appearance in Craig Gower's absence through a knee injury. It will be interesting to see how they gel.
The Irish travelling party has been shorn of several headliners. They could put together a pretty useful sevens side with a walking wounded that includes Ulster flanker Stephen Ferris, number eight Jamie Heaslip, wingers Shane Horgan and Andrew Trimble, full-back Rob Kearney and prop John Hayes. Okay, maybe Hayes wouldn't make the cut. But Ospreys flier Tommy Bowe certainly would, he is involved this afternoon, but only as a television pundit. At least Declan Kidney has captain Paul O'Connell back from a groin problem.
From Alex in London:
"If either Italy or Scotland win i will bust out the sprinkler, therefore sacrificing my chance of meeting any women."I think, and indeed hope, that is a reference to England's Ashes celebration dance.
Plenty of fat to chew on from last night
Where did Mike Phillips' passing go? Has Toby Flood consigned Jonny Wilkinson to second-choice for good? Is it possible to paint the pitch with something that does not leave the players looking like low-budget Smurfs? And, most importantly, what are the key battles for today? Get the texts pinging in on 81111 with SIX NATIONS at the start and bombard Twitter with our
sparkly new #BBCSixNations hashtag.
I thought you might be back for more. There was more pyrotechnics in the Millennium Stadium than at the average Kiss concert last night, and that was before England and Wales even kicked off. After the blood and noise of the visitors'
it is off to the continent as injury-hit Ireland and intriguing Scotland get their campaigns under way against Italy and France respectively. Belt in, it might get rough.