Was out of action all day yesterday. Just catching up on weekend's events this morning - including the lowering of the Draig Goch in Paris on Friday evening. We were justifyably the favorites - but as so many wise heads warned beforehand, you can never trust the French when it comes to sport. They play like drains for a few games, and then come out like rampaging bulls when you don't want them to. Just ask the All Blacks about it. I thought the French team were outstanding. They were up against the best team in the Six Nations, and played with enough spirit and fire to defend their gain line, win more than their share in the contact area, and force Wales into mistakes. I was one of the few to be impressed with Wales. They were outgunned and outplayed last Friday, but were resilient enough to stay in touch, and almost win it at the death. Gatland's men do not give up easily. I have not the slightest doubt that they will trounce Italy by 30 points and take Ireland on the 21st to win the Triple Crown.
I did watch the Ireland-England game at Croke Park. Probably one of the worst games of rugby that I've ever watched. Dominated by England's indiscipline. Its reached the stage where an opposing team actually plans its game strategy to exploit it. What other reason could there be for the Irish running everything from the back of the scrum, and just booting the ball into kicking distance of the English posts. They were giving England as much opportunity as possible to concede penalties in the rucks, or for offside in the backs. And with players with Danny Care's intelligence in the team, this strategy is going to continue. And it would have worked like a dream if Ronan O'Gara had his usual kicking boots on. Ireland won because they have Brian O'Driscoll, a future President of Ireland (if he wants it). Man of the match was Martin Johnstone, who showed more desire sitting in the stand than his entire team managed on the pitch.
Saw just half of the Scotland-Italy game. The Italians just have not got it. We all want them to become a genuine force in the Six Nations, but there's just not enough strength in depth to produce fifteen players of sufficient class. Just imagine what 15 Parise's could do. And so on to the next two rounds of matches. Lets hope that both the French and the Italians carry on where they left off. We don't need another reality check just yet.