Six Nations round-up: England in pole position to win title

England beat Scotland to top the table with a game remaining.

England are within touching distance of claiming the Six Nations title after they moved to top of the table with a win over Scotland.

Tries from Jonathan Joseph, George Ford and Jack Nowell gave Stuart Lancaster's men a 25-13 win over Scotland at Twickenham. England's title aspirations were helped by Wales who smashed Ireland's Grand Slam hopes with a 23-16 win in Cardiff. In Rome, France kept alive their slim chance of Six Nations glory with a dominating 0-29 victory over Italy.

Here is our round-up of matchday four in the 2015 Six Nations.

 

Wales 23-16 Ireland

Ireland arrived in Cardiff as the only team able to win the Grand Slam but they left the Welsh capital with those dreams in tatters. The hosts dominated the opening exchanges with four penalties from Leigh Halfpenny putting Wales into a 12-0 lead. Ireland regrouped and the kicking of Jonathan Sexton gave them hope as they went in at the break 15-9 down.

As the Irish put further pressure on Wales, a try from Scott Williams gave the home side a bit of breathing space. Ireland kept pressing and earned a penalty try with 12 minutes remaining cutting Wales' lead to four points. A further penalty from Halfpenny put Wales 23-16 up, which they managed to see out.

The win put the Red Dragons back in the hunt to claim the title and will travel to Italy next week hopeful of a fifth Six Nations crown.

 

England 25-13 Scotland

Wales' victory gave England the opportunity to top the group but they were far from convincing as they beat Scotland at Twickenham. It started brightly enough for the hosts as Jonathan Joseph went over in the fourth minute for the game's first try but Scotland battled back valiantly.

Mark Bennett went over for the try, duly converted by Greig Laidlaw to put the Scots firmly back in the game. The visitors went in at the break with a 10-13 lead thanks to a further penalty kick from Laidlaw. England needed to regroup and responded in the second half thanks to tries from George Ford and Jack Nowell, alongside penalties from Ford which gave them the win.

With only a slim lead at the top of group, England need to win against France and hope Wales or Ireland don't pick up big wins against Italy and Scotland respectively.

 

Italy 0-29 France

France are still in contention to be crowned Six Nations champions after outclassing Italy in Rome. Les Bleus will need a host of results to go in their favour but it is not beyond the realms of possibility that they could end up with the trophy come next weekend.

The visitors strolled to victory in wet conditions in the Italian capital. Penalties from Scott Spedding, Camille Lopez and Jules Plisson gave the French a 12-0 lead in the second half and a try from Yoann Maestri took the game away from the Italians. An injury-time Mathieu Bastareaud try put the gloss on a dominant display.

Italy will be wanting to avoid the ignominy of the wooden spoon but would need Scotland to beat Wales for that to happen.

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