We’re two rounds into the Championship and already it looks like the pre-tournament predictions are coming true:
England and Ireland are unbeaten so far and are setting the pace at the top; Wales and France are floundering around mid-table; and Scotland and Italy haven’t won and chances are they’ll be battling it out for the Wooden Spoon.
But what has got most people talking about so far?
Finn Russell’s yellow card
While a Welsh journalist, perhaps condescendingly, said that this was a moment that finally got Scotland talking about rugby, he has a point.
Russell received a yellow card for taking Dan Biggar out in the air, but what is questionable about this is that he looked like he was protecting himself from Biggar landing on him.
World Rugby have taken it a step further by upgrading the card to red and handing the fly-half a two week ban, but Scotland are appealing this.
Things are made worse by the fact that referee Glen Jackson had a torrid time with the whistle during the game, including denying Scotland a potential try, and blowing for fulltime with four seconds left on the clock and Scotland chasing the game while three points behind.
Pascal Pape’s yellow card
The day before Russell’s yellow we had another contentious decision, this time involving Pascal Pape’s knee.
Irish back-row Jamie Heaslip was holding up a maul, Pape ran in to join it and Heaslip hit the floor in agony.
In real time it looked like nothing had happened, but in the subsequent replays Pape had kneed Heaslip in the back, fracturing three of his vertebrae.
Pape received a yellow card, denied all wrongdoing, but faces a hearing that will more than likely throw the preverbal book at him.
Jonny May or not Jonny May
While there is no denying Jonny May has some extreme speed – just look at his wonder try against New Zealand in the autumn – there are doubts about whether he is an international standard winger.
He has been relatively quiet during this campaign, bar setting up Danny Cipriani’s try against Italy, and his defence has been like a barn door blowing in the wind.
Jack Nowell is not far behind him in the pecking order and May will have to buck up his ideas if he wants to retain his shirt.
It’s fair to say that this current France side is not the France of old.
Gone are the days of exciting back play and fearsome scrummaging, now it is more like give-it-to-Mathieu-Bastareaud-and-see-what-happens.
They stuttered through the game against Scotland and somehow ended up with a victory, and they were dire against Ireland. The thing is, they have the skill and potential flair out wide, but it is not transpiring.
Something, or someone (Philippe Saint-Andre) has to change before the World Cup or they will just embarrass themselves.