Red alert! Wales stun France in dramatic Six Nations opener

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It didn't. I eventually abandoned the project, concluding that the limited number of global games, the long gaps between them, and the fluctuating motivations provided by different tournaments, meant that a model so successful in other sports would never work (for me, at least) for rugby.

Slade added: "We had two weeks gearing up for this game and we knew exactly how we wanted to come and play". England have won once in Dublin in the Six Nations since 2003 and had not scored a single try in the tournament there since Steve Thompson's consolation effort in 2011. However, if they play with the flair and exuberance French teams have in the past then anything can happen of course!

The rest of the game was the same old kick and grunt that over the years has too often made the Six Nations about as much fun to watch as an appointment with a censorious dentist unimpressed with your dental hygiene.

Brown was dropped last autumn with Elliot Daly continuing in the 15 jersey, but the Harlequin could be recalled for the Dublin showdown. It's a really hard game to play and what people see at the top is what they see through the age-groups.

Six of the very best teams in the world playing for a historic trophy.

Kinghorn set Scotland on their way to a bonus-point victory and he showed huge promise, especially considering he was playing on the wing rather than his favoured position at full-back.

With the game on a knife-edge, France shot themselves in the foot again as North intercepted a poor Sebastien Vahaamahina pass to run unopposed to the line for his second try and Wales defended ferociously to close out the win. However, coach Shade Munro has been keen to stress her loss is an opportunity for the likes of Siobhan Cattigan and Sarah Bonar to shine on the global stage.

After Tomos Williams crossed for a try early in the second half, France, for whom halves Morgan Parra and Camille Lopez botched 13 points from the kicking tee, gifted George North two tries.

"I'd say he has a very clear idea of who 28, 29 of his 31 players are for the World Cup, but I'd see different combinations being used; be it in the back three or centres or half-backs". It's a pity they don't get the chance to do more with the ball.

But England and France, the two biggest unions in the north, are understood to support the concept. While England announced full-time contracts, the French Rugby Federation announced 24 players on part-time contracts in November.

There was also a first Test series win in Australia in 39 years in June and a sensational first home triumph over world champion New Zealand.

Best has overseen a purple patch for Irish rugby with the Grand Slam past year and two historic wins over world champions New Zealand, but said Jones's remark that "praise makes you weak" would not resonate within the Ireland camp.

World Rugby chiefs are seeking to balance the needs of the sport in both the northern and southern hemispheres, while addressing player welfare concerns in their ever-more physical sport.

"It's an ambitious player group, but it's an ambitious coaching group too". Brown did not make the match squad.