Sunday, March 17, 2013

My Take on Six Nations.

Well that's it for another winter. The Six Nations over. What did we make of it. Lets run through the teams in the order they finished in the championship.

Wales. Terrible start. At half-time in the first game against Ireland, no-one sane would have bet on Wlaes winning. But they improved each game and played some smart rugby to beat France, Italy and Scotland. And today, under the closed roof of the Millennium Stadium produced the best team performance by a Welsh team I have ever seen. I cannot name a single player who started who should not be on the Lions tour. And Wales had the player of the tournament in Leigh Halfpenny. To beat England 30-3 was beyond every Welshman's dreams. Cannot name any others because they were all brilliant today.

England. Good tournament, but as always became caught up in the overblown hype whenever its England. They looked a good solid but inexperienced team which will get better. Today they were up against a class team right on their game - and the English boys were just not good enough. Even today they played well enough in the first half, showing some great defence - but were tsunamied in the second half. The ridiculous over expectation piled on Tuilagi's shoulders was exposed. But he may well make a great player - as may Barritt and the two second rows. Also think Farrell will turn out OK. I think these five should go on the Lions tour. Plus Dan Cole and Robshaw.

Scotland. Not great, but we weren't expecting much. Stole victory against Ireland. Did well against Italy and did really well to come third. Cannot see many Scots going on tour. Had really fancied Hogg until today, and would take still take him. But Gatland will have several options at full back. No stand out players but a few who would not let Lions down.

Italy. Great tournament. They have the second best player in the tournament (and he would probably be best player if with another team. Parisse is a wonderful player, whom I never tire of watching. But Italy now are more than a one man team. Masi, Canale and others are good solid players. A trip to Rome has become a very tough fixture.

Ireland. Deeply disappointing tournament. Very unlucky with injuries but will have to recruit a new coach to regroup and rebuild. Felt really sad to see Brian O'Driscoll failing to make an impact, and being reduced to a sly stamp today which earned a yellow card - especially after his great play in the first 50 minutes against Wales. I would still take him on tour though, and Kearney. Sexton, Heaslip, and Tommy Bowe if fit. Expect Ireland to be back as a threat next year, but its been a tournament to forget. Still produced the best moment of the Six Nations when Zebo flicked the ball up with his foot into his hands to score against Wales.

France. What an incredible disaster of a season for a team bursting with natural talent. Less said the better - with just a mention for Picamoles, Huget and Fofana. And perhaps Bastereaud who was my man of the match against the Scots today.

Anyway, that's my take. Any other views welcome.


Unknown said...

I would put the two teams of the tournament as Wales (obviously!) and Italy. Won't dwell too much on Wales's triumph - just to say that they were worthy winners. But Italy have been a revelation (apart from the Scottish match when they didn't turn up!). They beat France, put the fear of God up England (at HQ as well!) when they were, without a doubt, the better team and beat Ireland yesterday. They have most certainly come of age. Additionally I think the move to the Stadio Olympico has helped - the audience yesterday was 72,000 !

Glyn Davies said...

Unknown - Agree with your assessment. Best ever Six Nations for Italy. I thought they finished the match against England as the better team, and were 10 minutes short of a victory at HQ. But they did lose badly to Scotland, while England fought to victories against all except Wales, who were unstoppable yesterday