France 33 v Wales 5
Wales scored after 5 minutes and should have scored again 10 minutes into the match, and that was as good as it got for them.
France woke up after a quarter of an hour and dominated the rest of the game completely. So what looked like an interesting game became one where you wondered how much the French could score.
Wales ended up with the wooden spoon for the first time since 1995.
Why does the Welsh winger (Thomas) keep hitting himself on his bald patch when he scores? Come to think of it, it has to be something to do with his name!!
How good or bad are the French? They seem to have gone back ways from last year with their constant chopping and changing – not the ideal year to be doing this!
Scotland 33 v Italy 25
Italy roared out of the blocks and scored in the first few minutes. Plenty of passion displayed by both teams. The Scots got on top midway through the first half and it was a lead they never relinquished.
Home advantage was probably all that split the team in the end, with the Italians again pressing all the way to the final whistle. However they couldn’t turn all their second half possession into enough points to threaten the Scots.
The continued improvement of the Italians. Hopefully JK can keep the momentum and improvement going.
The poor turnout for the game – only 45,000 in a 67,000 stadium, which was full for their other home matches.
Ireland 6 v England 42
It was a near perfect day – sunshine, a moderate breeze, an expectant crowd and an eager TV following. Then the poms turned up and gave a display of total rugby, and the Irish a resounding beating to boot.
Ireland played with the wind in the first half but ended going into the break 13-6 behind - the difference being the concession of a soft try, by Ireland.
The English pack were awesome and were beginning to grind the Irish down. Either side of half time Ireland laid siege to the English line but try as they might, and as much as they could, they couldn’t penetrate it!
Behind the pack, Wilkinson was in immaculate form, dropping two goals with his ‘wrong’ foot and running the game.
Ireland held out for an hour but in the last 20 minutes the pressure told and England swarmed over the line to run out winners by a margin bigger than anyone expected and in the process sent shudders throughout the southern hemisphere.
This was indeed a total rugby performance, with 1 to 15 contributing.
England putting to bed the arguments that they can’t win the big games away from Twickenham and can’t win the Grand Slam.
On Sunday’s performance could anyone have beaten them? The only crumb of comfort I can give you is that a significant number of their team are the comfortably wrong side of 30 – will this have an effect in RWC?
Where does this leave Ireland? How will they overcome the psychological scars from this defeat?
Can Wilkinson get any better? Woodward the English says he’ll be a better player in a few years when he reaches his mid twenties – frightening!
Where to from here?
Well that the Six Nations for another year and now it’s time for a break, prior to the endless bout of friendlies prior to the RWC.
England will be on a high and the RWC can’t come quickly enough for them. There is talk of resting some of their key players for the short June tour of NZ/Aus to prevent burnout and I think this is sensible – we’ll see.
The French will have to close ranks and sort out a settled team for the RWC, but they always seem to be in this position 6 months from the start. They’ll be a force again. The rest will generally be happy if the get to the quarter finals but may even find this a tough ask with the chance to sneak a semi finals place.
Finally a comment on the coverage on the BBC. Figures were up after declining over the past five years and I think this was greatly helped by the complete focus on Saturday afternoon to two games with a third on Sunday (and a number of high calibre or exciting games also). I thought it was very good and hopefully can go forward in this vein.
p.s. Can anyone in the NZ/Aus remember what a Saturday afternoon test match is like? Time to get Sky to move some games back to their traditional slot!
Until Next time…