Guinness Six Nations review: Kinghorn creates history

Rich Dore
04 February 2019

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There was plenty of Guinness PRO14 involvement as the 2019 Six Nations opened in typically dramatic fashion over the weekend.

The biggest shock occurred in Dublin on Saturday night as England triumphed for the first time in six years at Aviva Stadium, despite scores from Leinster’s Cian Healy and Ulster’s John Cooney.

England crossed the try-line after just 95 seconds, ending a drought in the Irish capital that stretched back to 2011.

The Irish briefly took the lead after prop Healy heaved his way through from close range, capping a spell of home dominance following Tom Curry’s bookable offence on Munster’s top try-scorer this season, Keith Earls.

Elliot Daly then touched down for England and despite Owen Farrell’s missed penalty after Johnny Sexton was penalised for hands in the ruck, Henry Slade scored twice to seal the result and render Cooney’s late score a consolation.

At Murrayfield, Edinburgh’s Blair Kinghorn became the first Scot to score a Guinness Six Nations hat-trick but Italy’s host of Guinness PRO14 stars fought back to avoid a heavy defeat.

Twenty of Italy’s matchday squad play their club rugby in the Guinness PRO14, but they could not stop an early Scottish onslaught led by the 6ft 5in wing.

His strength and footwork were key to carving out the opportunities, with head coach Gregor Townsend also praising Glasgow Warriors’ full-back Stuart Hogg for an outstanding contribution.

The 26-year-old will end a nine-year relationship with Davie Rennie’s side after this year’s Rugby World Cup, but he scored one and had another ruled out as Scotland breezed into a 33-3 lead.

Simon Berghan’s sin-bin turned the tide and the Edinburgh tighthead’s booking was punished in the closing stages by the visitors.

Zebre’s Guglielmo Palazzani and Edoardo Padovani, along with Benetton’s Angelo Esposito, all crossed during the last ten minutes in which the hosts were down to 14.

The Guinness Six Nations opened in Paris on Friday night as George North inspired Wales to overcome a 16-0 half-time deficit to triumph 24-19.

North, who joined Ospreys this season from Northampton Saints, took advantage as Yoann Huget spilled a hopeful kick on his own try-line – the Ospreys wing in close enough attendance to seize upon the loose ball.

Both sides exchanged penalties before North intercepted a wild pass to complete an unlikely and much-celebrated victory.

No team in Five or Six Nations history had overturned such a big points margin, and North denoted the win ‘a great statement’ as the Welsh sealed their 10thconsecutive victory – their best run since the turn of the century.

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