Ireland number eight Jamie Heaslip produced a man-of-the-match performance at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday to help his side making a winning start to their campaign. The Leinster man, who was captain during last year's torrid championship, was the driving force behind Ireland's 26-8 victory over Scotland in their curtain raiser. Heaslip had the armband once more following Paul O'Connell's early exit and the 26-year-old appeared to have scored the match's first try, only for his effort to be ruled out by the TMO. It was testament to Heaslip and his fellow back-row colleagues that Ireland dealt without the likes of O'Connell and Sean O'Brien, as Paul O'Mahony and Chris Henry impressed too. Heaslip got his reward for a fine performance when he finished off a superb rolling maul to end any Scottish resistence.
Brought back into the England side at No9, the Harlequins scrum-half was one of the overriding positives from the Red Rose's 26-24 loss to France. Care helped inspire an England comeback after a shoddy opening 35 minutes at the Stade de France, with the 26-year-old producing a talismanic performance to leave the visitors on the brink of victory, only to be denied by a late les Bleus try. "Yeah, I really wanted to go out there and play well. It's just great to be back in an England No 9 shirt. "I loved it. Any time you put on an England shirt it's a massive honour and I absolutely loved every minute of it - at least until the 78th minute [when Fickou scored]," Care was quoted as saying in the Daily Telegraph after the demoralising defeat. It's a good omen for England too, with Ben Youngs and Matt Dickson failing to make the position their own last year.
It was a plucky performance from Italy as the Azzurri limited Wales to a 23-15 victory at the Millennium Stadium. The reigning champions appeared to be heading towards a straightforward win after trudging in at half-time with a 17-3 lead. But Italy showed their spirit to fight back - and it was Campagnaro who stole the plaudits. The 20-year-old, making his Six Nations debut at outside centre, scored two tries in an eye-catching second-half performance. The Italy starlet is one to watch over the coming weeks, with the Azzurri bidding to beat France for the second year in succession this weekend.