Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Six Nations 2020 - Round 1 Verdict

So, let's get one thing out of the way - other than me overestimating the capabilities of the Italians, my predictions for the first weekend of the Six Nations 2020 were pretty much spot on. Bully for me!

Not that I'm happy - particularly following England's abject performance in Paris. Best rugby team of all time? My arse.

The French were pretty good - Antoine Dupont in particular - and they defended in the way you'd expect a Shaun Edwards-coached team to defend, but they didn't really have to be all that good given England's extraordinarily high error count. England were, well, brutal.

And whatever justification Eddie Jones comes out with for his selections, it's bullshit. He got it badly wrong, will never admit it and is likely to rinse and repeat at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Turning to Dublin, it is clear that Andy Farrell is encouraging the Irish team to play in a less restricted manner, but they were quite fortunate to escape with a narrow win against a Scotland side that ,for the most part, were very good but lacked the composure and, crucially, the pace to take their opportunities. Plus ca change.

And finally to Cardiff, where Wales just efficiently got on with the Gatland to Pivac transition with little fuss and with no noticeable opposition from Italy, who looked solid in the scrum, had a few nice moments, but were unable to go more than a few phases without committing a howler and/or giving away possession. And in Josh Adams and Nick Tompkins the Welsh now have two seriously good finishers.

TF Team of the Week:
15. Anthony Bouthier 14. Jonny May 13. Nick Tompkins 12. Gael Fickou 11. Josh Adams 10. Dan Biggar 9. Antoine Dupont 1. Rory Sutherland 2. Ken Owens 3. Giosue Zilocchi 4. Iain Henderson 5.  Johnny Gray 6. CJ Stander 7. Charles Ollivon 8. Gregory Alldritt

1 comment:

Rouge9 said...

Hear hear.

A conspiracy theory is developing in my mind! Maybe Eddie has had enough of the job so he is winding people up with his daft comments and bizarre selection policy, in the hope he is offered the door but paid the rest of his existing contract? Paranoia isn't usually my thing but.......

If Currie can be developed as a future 8 then the process is to consult his club and ask them to give him experience in that position. Sale may oblige if they think he has the potential but I suspect Steve Diamond would treat the suggestion in much the same way as everyone else, bar Eddie. But why waste his existing talent as a world class 7/international quality 6? Trying to develop him into an international 8 on the hoof, whilst losing games, is not acceptable! The 6 Nations is not an experiment Eddie, it's an important competition in it's own right!

Lawes is a world class lock who can play 6 for his club, he is not even close to an international quality 6. Currie and Underhill are a fearsome unit at 6 and 7 and I credit Eddie with discovering so. The question has to be asked why, having discovered this paring to be so effective that he then decides to scrap it for a match so important because he just can't bear to replace Billy with a genuine 8 when injured?

In one of Eddie's latest interviews I read that he feels he did not prepare the players in the right way, giving them only light training so they can "finish the tournament full of running". Well, we may be full of running but we'll have lost the tournament by then and, in case he hasn't notice, the last match is Italy whom I would suggest, (sorry Italy, no offence mio amicos), England should beat even if they are not fully at the races on the day. Also the two matches before are at H/Q which whilst don't guarantee a win certainly give an advantage. So, and this might be a bit obvious, but I really think he should have been paying more attention to the most immediate games.

Also, as a Wasp fan, I would like to re-make the case for Dan Robson to be given another go, he is back to full fitness, is the kind of scrum half that can make a defence think twice, he plays fast ball and makes heads up play decisions. He is also an on-field leader which I think is a must for a top S/H, a position I played for a few years without any of these qualities and so became an Estate Agent instead, (but don't hold that against me!).

Anyway, thanks again for being a sounding board, my fingers are crossed for a better result in Murrayfield but I have an uneasy feeling.