Lets get the main talking point from the weekends 6 Nations, out of the way first. The tactics that Italy used against England, were 1: Intresting and 2: Great. Intresting because it made the game less one sided than orignally thought it would be, which made the game better (for neutrals). Also it was intresting as we got to see how England would react to it and also counter it. Bit disapointed it took them until after half time, but who am i too say. Great because it was great use of tactics from Conor O’Shea, Brendan Venter and Mike Catt to do what sport is about, which is trying to cause your opposition problems, which they did. They could of been more ahead at half time, had they had a better goal kicker. Credit to Italy for playing like it for the full 80mins, they went in whole heartdily.
Anyway away from the ruck tactics, i thought England were sloppy, and didn’t execute the basics at all well in the 1st half, but they did pick up 2nd half. So looking back fair play to Italy, they got some of their pride back, but still have a long way to go to get where they want to be. Conor O’Shea has said its a long term project and i think they have the right man in charge to do this. England must have a top gear performance to come somewhere, and with Scotland to come to Twickenham a week Saturday, they need it to be then.
That brings me to Scotland and Saturdays games. Scotland were brilliant against Wales, they have been the best team to watch so far in the 6 Nations for me. Stuart Hogg just keeps cementing his place more as Lions fullback, and the Gray brothers continue to make the second row battle for the Lions mouthwatering. Scotland have a real chance, of putting England in their place at Twickenham, in their next game. People have been asking, will Scotland do an Italy, or use another form of surprise tactics, but i think they will just come to Twickenham and play their normal game, which will make it an exciting game.
Wales on the other hand are going through a transition of playing styles, and it will take a couple of years, whilst also blooding some new youngsters. But they are still a good side and still have big game players, in their prime. So they will always be there or there abouts. Also they need George North to find form again.
Now we turn to Ireland, who are just starting to build steam at the right time. The loss in the first game, was just the kick up the backside they needed. Stander and O’Brien were outstanding ball carriers against France, with maybe the Lions starting half backs pairing of Murray and Sexton behind them? Murray is my pick for Lions No9. The last game in Dublin against England (if England beat Scotland) they will be well up for and could be epic.
Last but no means least France…erm we are getting some France of old. Their pack is monsterous and can cause havoc for whoever. Same to be said for the backs, if they can get the flair and offloads going. When it all clicks, like it did against England in the first game, they will run most teams close. Maybe, they haven’t reached the consistant form they wanted, yet.
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Did any of us expect Sarancens to really lose a third on the trot? They are to good for that, even though they have a ruck (excuse the pun) of players missing. So back to winning ways for them.
Looking at Leicester Tigers line-up on Friday, it just looked an awesome team even with Dan Cole, Ben Youngs, Manu and Matt Tooma missing. They are hitting form at just the right time. They are also the first team to beat Harlequins at the Stoop this season.
Finally well done to Bristol. Beating Bath 12-11, their old rivals. It was a shock but it makes next weeks game against Worcester even more massive.