Monday, March 13, 2006

Six Nations Roundup 4

From bad to worse. Italy continued to impress in Cardiff. Even though they're probably going to finish bottom of the table, there is no doubt that Italy are the most improved side in the Championship. It was a solid performance, even if the try was fortuitous. If it hadn't been given, the winger would probably have shot himself in the showers - to run over the dead-line ball in hand is the stuff of nightmares. Wales were pretty dire in the second half, after a first half that was remarkable for its lack of finish. From Grand Slam to Wooden Spoon in a season? Could only be Wales.

Scotland came to Lansdowne Road with a bit of confidence and a lot of momentum. They left with both greatly reduced. Put simply they are not good enough to threaten to break through a strong defensive line. If you're going to put in consistent victories, you have to score tries and Scotland don't look like doing it. Ireland put in a solid, if unspectacular performance, though at the line-out they were simply immense, stealing 8 Scottish throws. If they can repeat this at Twickenham, a third consecutive victory looks likely.

England were simply awful against France from the first dropped kick to the last intercepted pass. It was a performance that left the spectator stunned: how could this have happened to the World Champions? Basic skills, sorely lacking against Scotland, were here virtually inverted. England need to work on skills like passing, running, kicking out of hand - and that just isn't good enough. France managed to rack up a cricket score without really breaking sweat - it wasn't possible to tell whether this is a world cup winning side from this fixture, mainly because a good college side looked as though they would have beaten England.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the big questions that England need to answer are:
1) Why the return to Rowlian rugger - if the reason is we dont trust our backs then lets fix that. The Centres have to be looked at.

2) Who should skipper? The old old question. There probably isnt room for Corry and Dally and on Sunday Corry played well but led badly. Something must be done... whisper it gently but is there an argument for giving Dawson the Captaincy.

3) Coaching... is Andy the man for the job? The path to the next world cup is about incrementalism - but it should be incremental improvement and building a team and a strategy that matches the teams developing strength. I see no sign of this as yet.

England need to see this 6 nations as a last chance saloon affair - if not then the next World Cup will be humiliating.

On the other hand - I would prefer that Ireland won the championship than the frogs. That makes the forthcoming game a bit challenging...!

11:33 am  

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