Six Nations
Six Nations: What we learned from round three
Tom Hamilton
February 28, 2016
England stay on course for Grand Slam

Three rounds down in the 2016 Six Nations and only England can win a Grand Slam. It follows a weekend where England put together their most impressive performance yet under Eddie Jones while Wales are bubbling along nicely after a win over France which tees up an intriguing fourth round clash at Twickenham between the two sides. And Scotland finally tasted victory to break their nine-game losing streak in the championship. Here is what we learned from the weekend's action.

Jones: Vunipola will only get better

1. England could end 13 years of hurt

England are taking baby steps under Eddie Jones following their 21-10 win over Ireland at Twickenham but their attack still needs tweaking after they coughed up too many try-scoring opportunities against Joe Schmidt's side. Billy Vunipola is now their go-to man and he is perhaps the closest figure they have who can subscribe to being a world-class player. Two rounds left and Jones' side are in the driving seat but Grand Slams are hard to come by. A win over Wales, though, and all roads lead towards their first clean sweep since 2003.

Read Tom Hamilton's verdict from Twickenham here.

2. Scotland have the quality if they can put together an 80-minute performance

Lawson: Scotland going in the right direction

Scotland embodied a Faustian quandary in their triumph in Italy. On one shoulder is the angel: the moments they click, the times John Hardie gets over the ball and those occasions Greig Laidlaw starts steering the side in his own unique, brilliant way. But then they wear the devil on their other epaulet: the ill-discipline and their horrible habit of allowing the opposition back into the game. They are improving under Vern Cotter and will avoid the Wooden Spoon this year - the win in Rome could be the catalyst to kick-start the Cotter revolution.

Read Tristan Barclay's verdict from Rome here.

3. Ireland are in a state of transition

Schmidt: Don't lose faith in us

When any team loses a group of experienced players they go through a state of flux. Ireland are still working with new combinations and without the sizeable presence of Paul O'Connell in their side, they look to be lacking the confidence which guided them to two Six Nations titles in 2014 and 2015. They have also been desperately unlucky with injuries and with players like Stuart McCloskey, Josh van der Flier and CJ Stander being exposed to international rugby for the first time, they are still forging an identity.

4. Wales are the only team who can burst England's bubble

Gareth Davies shines in Wales victory

It wasn't pretty in Cardiff on Friday night but Wales eventually did enough to get the win and they look to be the only team now who can bring an end to Jones' winning start with England. The battle between the two No.8s Vunipola and Taulupe Faletau at Twickenham in a fortnight's time will be ferocious but Warren Gatland's Six Nations experience could prove to be the deciding factor. Wales aren't making the same sort of headlines as England but they are bubbling along nicely.

Read Martyn Thomas' verdict from Cardiff here.

5. Eddie Jones is the master puppeteer

Jones successfully managed to make himself the headline last week with his various comments to the press and deflected the pressure off his side ahead of their game against Ireland. Now he has put a self-imposed media ban on himself ahead of Wales saying he does not want to be accused of gamesmanship. But Jones has been here before, he knows how to manipulate headlines and the press and the chances are we might just see him before his self-inked deadline of Friday week for his next appearance.

© Tom Hamilton
Tom Hamilton is the Associate Editor of ESPNscrum.

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