Leicester Tigers' Brett Deacon is a true leader – five key points from weekend
Martin Crowson looks back at five key points from the weekend's rugby action.
1It might be worth a look to see if Brett Deacon's blood is green, red and white the next time he cuts himself. The 30-year-old is the epitome of the club's hard-working ethos and has done the jersey proud every time he has worn it. On a day when most senior players could have been excused for wanting to be anywhere but Llanelli, Deacon led Tigers from the front showing the sort of commitment to the cause that money can't buy. The tougher the game, the better he plays.
2It was a strange sensation travelling to Wales for Tigers' game at Llanelli on Sunday. Some things were no different – it rained on the way there. But reporting on a game with absolutely nothing riding on it was very unusual. Heaven knows how the players must have felt. The fact that such games so rarely present themselves to Leicester Tigers and their supporters is a great illustration of the continued success the club has had.
3If ever a team epitomised an attitude of "just turn up and we will win", it was France in Rome. Yes, Italy are an improving side but a team with France's power, pace and know-how, they should still be going to places like Italy and winning comfortably. Unfortunately, Les Bleus believed that by putting the kit on, they would achieve that goal. Italy were dogged and committed and all the French had in response was a collective Gallic shrug. A shock well summed up by a joyous Italian fan on Tigers' fans' forum, who wrote at the final whistle: "I go to forget my name in some pub" (sic).
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4On the evidence of the opening weekend of Six Nations action, it seems that both the Triple Crown and Grand Slam could be decided when England travel to play Ireland in Dublin on Sunday. Ireland were sensational in the first half against a sorry Wales and England were far too good for the Scots. With the French losing in Italy, the door has been opened for both of these sides to win the lot. It should be an epic encounter.
5Tigers fly-half Toby Flood has a real battle on his hands now for the England No.10 shirt and, looking ahead, a place on the British & Irish Lions tour too. What seemed a shoo-in at the start of the season is now less likely. Owen Farrell had a cracking game against Scotland and, with Gloucester's Freddie Burns currently the darling of the national media, Flood has a real battle on his hands for the game-time he needs to further his Lions' cause.