Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Six Nations Chumps

Having selected a best team of the tournament, here's my selection of players who might be described as having had a "disappointing" Six Nations:

15. Hmmm...now let's see, who could I possibly choose to fill the fullback position? I’m afraid that there’s only one candidate as far as I’m concerned. Step forward Mr. Iain Ballsup – no explanations necessary.

14. There was no obvious choice for the right wing spot, so I’ve moved someone from the centre positions (where there are an abundance of candidates). Italy’s Gonzalo Canale had hands of teflon throughout the tournament and butchered at least 2 potential Italian tries and so is handed the number 14 shirt.

13. Plenty of choices for this one – Andrew Trimble’s inability to pass the ball, the French midfield’s impotence against Wales, England’s general lack of midfield penetration (until Cipriani’s intervention) for instance. But the winner, in my view, was Sonny Parker, whose doomed attempts to field re-starts against England bordered on the comical.

12. Easy shoe-in for this position as Andrew Henderson’s inability to execute a basic pass to a colleague shone through like a beacon.

11. This may be a little harsh as it’s not his fault that he’s been thrust into international rugby without being anywhere near ready, but Leslie Vainikolo’s failure to do anything other than run straight into the nearest defender, no matter where he was on the pitch, made him a defensive liability for England.

10. Who to choose? Jonny Wilkinson’s effort against Scotland was just painful to watch, Dan Parks offered up his usual rubbish and Andrea Masi patently isn’t a fly half. However, David Skrela’s performance against Wales was just truly appalling (I’ve never seen a re-start kick go backwards other than when kicked into a gale – and the roof in Cardiff was closed!)

9. Neither Italian scum half looked the part and Richard Wigglesworth had his difficulties for England but the shirt goes to Andy Gomarsall who was very poor against both Wales and Italy and then turned into a champion whinger when dropped, despite also being unable to get into the Harlequins 1st XV.

1. Take your pick from the French props. The latest triallist, Fabien Barcella, somehow managed to be out-scrummaged by Wales.

2. There were various lineout malfunctions throughout the tournament, involving various hookers, but one thing this Six Nations showed was that it was a championship too far for Mark Regan.

3. Time for another French prop – this time it’s Julien Brugnaut for managing to be out-scrummaged by both Scotland and Ireland.

4. Now here’s a guy I feel a bit sorry for. It’s not his fault that he was brought back into the team after injury way too early, but Paul O’Connell was a shadow of his former self. The man to blame is clearly Eddie O’Sullivan, who could have brought in Bob Casey or Leo Cullen but chose not to.

5. The other lock position goes to Scott MacLeod who escaped with a slapped wrist for failing to disclose his asthma medication (and so tested positive for a banned substance), largely I suspect because no one could find any evidence of his performance being enhanced!

6. This might sound a bit harsh on a man who has just announced his international retirement, but I’d suggest that the reason Simon Easterby has done so is because he was so ineffective in the first match against Italy until replaced, and then again looked well off the pace against England.

7. For a man who otherwise had a typically robust tournament, Marco Bergamasco gets the shirt for his ridiculously obvious eye-gouging on Lee Byrne after the final whistle at Cardiff.

8. A difficult call as all candidates had reasonable tournaments, but I’m afraid that Nick Easter was, in general, disappointing. Admittedly he had a good game in the defensive scrap against France, but in general he lacked the dynamism England need from a number 8, perhaps in part down to the fact that he was carrying a knee injury through the tournament.

That’s it – my Six Nations Chumps - 5 Englishmen, 3 Frenchmen, 2 Italians, 2 Irishmen, 2 Scots and 1 Welshman (actually technically I guess there are 4 Englishmen, 2 Kiwis and no Welshman!).

Pease feel free to comment if any others spring to mind...


Nursedude said...

Flanker, you have seen a lot more rugby than me, do you EVER remember a worse front three performance by French props and hookers in a competition?

Total Flanker said...

No, it's by far the worse set of French front row performances I've seen in nearly 30 years of watching the 5/6 Nations - all the selected props have struggled very badly. They do have Marconnet on the comeback trail but otherwise France appear to be going through a propping crisis on a par with that of Australia.

Matt @ Green and Gold Rugby said...

Crisis, what crisis?

giorgia said...

Is Marco Bergamasco the third Bergamasco bro (after Mauro and Mirco)? ;)