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Six Nations Round 2 talking points

Ireland stayed on course for successive Six Nations Grand Slams by routing Italy, France beat Scotland in a controversial finish and England came from behind to defeat Wales.

READ | Relief for Galthie as France survive while Scotland cry foul

Below AFP Sport highlights some of the key talking points from the second round of action as this season's tournament takes shape.

Ireland a cut above the rest

Ireland continued to look a class above their European rivals, thrashing Italy 36-0 in Dublin despite coach Andy Farrell making six changes to his starting XV.

It was the first time Ireland had 'nilled' their opponents in a Championship game since a 17-0 win against England back in the 1987 Five Nations.

An arguably even more remarkable statistic from Sunday's match is that Jack Crowley's maiden Test try was also the flyhalf's first in senior rugby following 45 appearances for Munster.

No team in the Six Nations era has yet won back-to-back Grand Slams, but following a 17th successive home victory in all competitions it is hard to see where Ireland will slip-up.

England's Steward coming on leaps and bounds

JPR Williams was among the late players honoured with a minute's applause at Twickenham on Saturday, so it was perhaps appropriate that England fullback Freddie Steward revived memories of the outstanding Wales No 15 by being rock-solid under the high ball.

Nevertheless, England were still 14-5 behind at half-time. But, significantly, it was from yet another fine Steward catch that George Ford produced an excellent 50-22 kick, which led to the flyhalf landing the penalty that put England ahead at 16-14 - the final score.

"Freddie was unbelievable in the air again," said Ford. "He's worth his weight in gold in a game like that."