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Archives for February 2012

Six Nations: Six of the Best - England v Wales

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Bryn Palmer | 08:45 UK time, Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Welcome to the third in our 'Six of the Best' series, a reminder of some of the most memorable matches associated with a particular Six Nations fixture.

With apologies to Ireland v Italy and Scotland v France, we couldn't look past England v Wales, a rivalry stretching back 131 years, for the pick of this weekend's clashes.

England have the slight edge with 56 wins to 54 in their 122 contests over that period, with 12 draws. Boiling it down to just six of the best was pretty challenging given that this fixture has produced so many memorable moments down the years.

But here is a montage of the half-dozen we eventually plumped for, and you can also watch extended highlights of the 1992 and 1999 matches on the BBC Sport website and Red Button service.

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Wales march on as Scots lament familiar failings

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Bryn Palmer | 20:42 UK time, Sunday, 12 February 2012

Two down, three to go.  At least that’s how the Welsh optimists – and there were plenty of them streaming into the streets of Cardiff on Sunday night – will see it.

If that appears a bit presumptuous with a trip to Twickenham looming next, there is no sign of this crop of Wales players getting ahead of themselves. Their public can do that for them.

But there is no doubt confidence is oozing through the Red Dragonhood after following up their opening Six Nations win in Dublin with another exhilarating victory over Scotland in Cardiff.

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Six Nations: Six of the best - Wales v Scotland

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Bryn Palmer | 08:04 UK time, Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Welcome to the second in our 'Six of the Best' series, a chance to remind you of some of the most memorable matches associated with a particular Six Nations fixture.

This week we consider Wales against Scotland, a contest that stretches back to 1883. Wales have the edge in this particular Celtic rivalry, winning 65 to Scotland's 48 of their 116 meetings, with three draws.

Check out this montage of six of the best games in recent memory between the countries, and you can also watch extended highlights of the 2005 and 2010 matches on the BBC Sport website and Red Button service.

If you would like to share your own memories of these and other matches not included here, this is the place to do so ahead of Sunday's next instalment at the Millennium Stadium.

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Wales defy the odds and edge a classic

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Bryn Palmer | 21:39 UK time, Sunday, 5 February 2012

Aviva Stadium, Dublin

As the strains of Hymns and Arias drowned out the booing from Irish supporters at the final whistle, the sound of Welsh rejoicing would have reverberated around the Six Nations.

Any year Wales win their first game of the Championship, two words are instantly unavoidable, so we may as well not tread too lightly around the subject.

Another 'Grand Slam' bandwagon has been launched in the Valleys after this stunning last-gasp triumph in Dublin, but the pain writ large all over the battered face of Paul O'Connell should act as at least a momentary handbrake on expectations.

With a minute to go in this thrilling encounter, the Ireland captain could have been the one fielding questions later about his own side's prospects of repeating their 2009 clean sweep, instead of dissecting the finer points of a shattering loss with the assembled media. Rugby can be a cruel game.

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Ireland v Wales: The back-row battle

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Bryn Palmer | 18:07 UK time, Friday, 3 February 2012

Ireland's Six Nations clash with Wales on Sunday is not short of interesting sub-plots and storylines.

But even 16 months out from the 2013 British and Irish Lions tour to Australia, the back-row battle is ripe with intrigue.

Ireland duo Jamie Heaslip and Stephen Ferris have already played for the Lions, in South Africa in 2009, while team-mate Sean O'Brien and Wales opponents Sam Warburton and Toby Faletau (plus the injured Dan Lydiate) are also strong contenders - fitness and form permitting - to feature on the next trip down under.

"If you were picking a Lions squad tomorrow, you would be hard pushed to leave out any of them; they are all phenomenal players," says former Wales and Lions flanker Martyn Williams, who won the last of his 99 Wales caps last August.

Williams has played alongside or against (and in some cases both) all of the back-rowers whose contest at Dublin's Aviva Stadium will go a long way to deciding the outcome. The Welsh legend gives us his lowdown on the individuals involved.

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Six Nations: Six of the Best - Scotland v England

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Bryn Palmer | 00:44 UK time, Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Welcome to the first in a series of 'Six of the Best', our chance to remind you of some of the most memorable matches associated with a particular Six Nations fixture.

In the build-up to each Six Nations weekend in 2012, you can watch a compilation of six of the best games in recent memory between two particular countries, with extended highlights of two of them on the BBC Sport website and BBC's Red Button service.

We start with the oldest international fixture of them all. Scotland and England have been going at it since 1871 and played each other on 129 occasions. England have won 69 times to Scotland's 42, with 18 draws.

So what recollections does the Calcutta Cup - the trophy awarded since 1879 to the winner of this annual encounter - conjure up for you? Grand Slam deciders? Murrayfield awash with passion? Triumph or torture at Twickenham? Here are a few reminders to jog the memory and whet the appetite ahead of the next instalment.

And don't forget, we want your memories - good and bad - of these matches, plus others that do not make our list. View the montage below then let us have your thoughts.

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