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What they said: The best quotes from Round 2

What they said: The best quotes from Round 2

If Round 1 was about early statements of intent then Round 2 was a case of getting the job done.

Three of the four games were live going into the final 15 minutes this time around, and there was even a first comeback win of the series with Wales overturning a half time deficit against Georgia.

And the post-match reaction from players and coaches certainly reflected the drama of each contest. Here we’ve picked out some of the best quotes from those right in the thick of it.

Where else to begin than England’s remarkable win over France, as Round 2 started with a bang.

England held their nerve to win but it was not the easiest watch for captain Emeka Ilione after he was substituted in the second half and helplessly looked on as chaos reigned in Verona.

“This is a truly unbelievable feeling.

“The boys played with unbelievable heart. Down to 12 men, down to 13, but the boys stayed at it and just showed how much it meant to them and how much they wanted to show that they were better than the South Africa game.

“I’ve never been involved in a game where a team has gone down to 12 before, and it’s certainly something we don’t want to do again.”

On the wrong end of that titanic tussle were France and their No.8 Killian Tixeront could not help but point to the concession of 18 penalties as a reason for their defeat.

“In the changing room there is a lot of frustration.

“It was difficult for us and I don’t think we were less effective than England, I think it was just too many penalties.

“We had a game plan but we didn’t respect it.”

One team who certainly had a game plan in Round 2 was Georgia.

The Junior Lelos executed their lineout drive to perfection in the first half of their thrilling contest against Wales, much to the surprise of Wales coach Byron Hayward.

“It was tougher than I was expecting but in fairness you have to give a lot of credit to Georgia.

“They were a very good side and a lot better than I thought they were going to be, particularly up front. They had an unbelievable driving maul which obviously we struggled to contain at times.

“When I asked the boys at half time why we were on the wrong side of the scoreboard they said we were just getting absolutely battered physically, we were losing collisions with and without the ball.

“They were hungry, they were hitting us hard, turning us over and they were very clinical when they had the opportunities on driving mauls.”

Whatever was said at half time by Hayward and his coaching staff sure was effective, as centre Joe Hawkins crossed after just 35 seconds of the restart to bring Wales back within a point.

And post-match, Wales try-scorer Harri Houston reflected on the team’s progress since the Six Nations.

“I think we showed some great character in the second half to come back. I think maybe if that was in the Six Nations we could have crumbled but I think all the boys dug in, one to 26.

“The last 10 minutes were a bit scary, but to get the win was class.

Georgia were of course, not so ecstatic. Coach Lado Kilasonia cut a forlorn figure at full time but could not help but chuckle when reflecting on the afternoon’s topsy-turvy encounter.

“I think we saw about four different halves across the game.

“Firstly Wales, then Georgia, then completely Wales at the start of the second half and then back with Georgia at the end.

“Unfortunately we came up short, we just weren’t smart in some of our decisions. That’s the margin here, that is international rugby. Either you are very close or you’re just gone.”

The round’s action concluded in Treviso with Italy’s win over Scotland, setting up a top of the pool showdown with Wales in Round 3.

And while Italy boss Massimo Brunello was disappointed his side failed to seal the points earlier against Scotland, he feels he already knows where the clash with Wales could be decided.

“I think Italy and Wales are similar. We’ve made a similar path to now.

“If we manage to dominate scrums like we did in the first two games that could maybe be the key factor.”