All Saturday’s talking points from Finn Russell’s sin-bin to Dan Biggar’s starring role

Ireland’s trip to France was always going to be the most instructive fixture of the Six Nations so far; some went as far as to say that it would decide the direction of the whole Championship.

Yet Andy Farrell’s side came out the wrong side of a thrilling contest, beaten 30-24 as they were made to pay for a string of errors in possession. France went full throttle from the beginning, Antoine Dupont’s try inside two minutes immediately turning the tables on an Ireland side who had enjoyed a similarly positive start in Dublin a week earlier.

Wales also had a reversal of fortunes, bouncing back from defeat to Ireland with a hard-fought 20-17 win over Scotland thanks to Dan Biggar’s late drop goal.

Here are i‘s talking points from Saturday’s action – with England still to play Italy on Sunday.

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Saturday’s results

  • Wales 20-17 Scotland
  • France 27-21 Ireland

Biggar stars on 100th cap

Biggar’s late intervention will grab the headlines but he scored 15 points in all on his 100th cap – all the more impressive given he was battling for 78 minutes with a knee injury.

Scotland undo so much good work

Against England, Finn Russell had won the war of the fly-halves with Marcus Smith, but here he was handed an example by Biggar. Russell will take the flak for his sin-bin for a deliberate knock-on but Duhan van de Merwe was particularly sloppy in possession on the wing.

Russell’s yellow explained

Wales had actually crossed the line for a try when match referee Nick Berry had spotted Russell knocking the ball forward earlier and asked for a replay. As the No. 10 had tried to intercept Wales’ surge forward with one hand, unable to catch the ball.

As the rule stipulates that the play would only be considered an accidental knock-on if there was a “reasonable expectation that the player could gain possession”, there was no option but to sin-bin Russell.

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France capitalise on Ireland’s weakness

Ireland did well to stay in the match when France threatened to pull away, but from Dupont’s early try to a complete lack of control in the breakdown before les Bleus’ second, they were made to pay for their errors.

How Ireland fared without Sexton

Farrell had said beforehand that he hoped Johnny Sexton’s latest absence, this time with a hamstring strain, would be a “great development” helping his forwards to “grow as a group”.

“We’re not just one player, it never has been, it never will be,” Farrell said. The Ireland boss may have been onto something there.

Joey Carbery started as No. 10 and he was excellent throughout, his kicking composed and if one man threatened to break France down, it was the Munster man. Ireland do need to start looking more seriously at life post-Sexton and this wasn’t a bad start.

How it stands

  • France – P2, W2, D0, L0, pts 9
  • Ireland – P2, W1, D0, L1, pts 6
  • Scotland – P2, W1, D0, L1, pts 5
  • Wales – P2, W1, D0, L1, pts 4
  • England – P1, W0, D0, L1, pts 1
  • Italy – P1, W0, D0, L1, pts 0

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