RBS Six Nations comes to life in Cardiff and Paris

Last weekend’s matches wouldn’t have been very enjoyable for the neutral fan, and after all the build-up, I admit to some concern that the Championship was overhyped – not anymore after today’s two thrilling games.

Scotland surprised pretty much everyone in the way that they took the game to Wales. I was expecting a pretty dull affair dominated by kicking, but Dan Parks orchestrated a Scottish attack that we haven’t seen for a couple of years.

Wales were making mistakes and looked all at sea at times, but you never quite felt that they were out of the game. Their capitulation in the last seven minutes was quite remarkable, losing two players to the sin bin and conceding 17 points to lose a game they really should have won, by 31-24.

The last period of play was indeed pulsating, but the way that both sides looked to play with ball in hand was hugely encouraging and although there were errors, the game was highly entertaining.

Then France took on Ireland, and it was another hugely enjoyable game to watch. The two teams were infinitely better than last week, and there was line break after line break, big hit after big hit and cheer after cheer from the crowd.

Again, there were errors, particularly from the Irish in the second half – and you’d expect that in such an important game when one team is trying to force things – but both sides ran the ball and looked for space rather than the nearest man.

France were particularly impressive, and after soaking up the Irish attack for the first ten minutes, they scored two tries and never looked like surrendering the lead, winning the game by 33-10 and ending Ireland’s 12-game unbeaten run.

The RBS Six Nations tournament really is one of the most competitive and entertaining tournaments in the world, and let’s hope it continues in style in Rome tomorrow.

We’ll be doing live updates here on The Rugby Blog, and you can share your thoughts on the action as it happens – take a look even if you are watching on TV, because real-time opinions are always interesting!

9 thoughts on “RBS Six Nations comes to life in Cardiff and Paris

  1. Wales were very very lucky today. Notice how they only started playing when Cooper got replaced. I don’t fancy Wales nect week with the French playing like that. Any news on Gethin Jenkins?

  2. Seems like i missed a couple of good matches from over here in Oz! I stayed up last weekend to watch the rubbish ones and didn’t bother this weekend. Dammit!

  3. Scotland must be crushed, what an awful way to lose a game. But Scotland have not been in the lead for such a long time that they seemed to have forgoten what to do when they get into that position.

    I llike what Robinson is doing with the Scots, their scrum needs work and they are still not maximising their chances but if Parks continues to play like that and their backrow continues its develoopment then there is hope.

    K Brown and Beatie were impressive and Scotland have the best lineolut in the championship so far, including some nice variations over the top, which they do often and well.

    However they really needed this win for their self belief and the blow could knock them back a few games. Add to that thir bad luck with injuries and a small squad could start to look very weak indeed. They have to play M Evans in the centre, he is the only one they have with a real nose for the line and Lamont is better on the wing anyway.

    Wales have bigger issues, their talent and Scotlands lack of composure got them out of trouble today. Everbody know what S Williams can do, he can do a hell of a lot, but the pack is not good. The lineout is terrible, their backrow play average and their attack seems to lack ideas unless the play breaks down, they do have wonderful individual runners.

    I can’t see where this Welsh team is going at the moment, their defence misses Henson, a lot, I think their attack does as well. Phillips return is vital and will help a lot but this welsh team seem to be lacking as much direction as England, they don’t seem to have a game plan. The only difference is the welsh have more players that can create individual magic where England don’t. It seems as long as you fan out quick enough aagainst this welsh team then you should be ok, they have to get quick ball for them to be effective and their backrow isn’t doing thte business at all.

    Scotland seem to have a concrete idea of what they are trying to do and they go about it as a team, they unfortunately are lacking a bit of composure and class in finishing. Wales have all the class and composure on the ball but no idea.

    One last note, France looked amazing, god help the rest of us if they continue like this.

  4. ronbraz, you speak a lot of sense in all the above.

    On the scot-wales game, let’s just admit the fact that scotland f**ked up big time. They lost a couple of players which left the welsh playing the last few minutes with 15-on-13 (anyone else shouting like I was at ryan jones’ decision to go for goal with 1 min on the clock and a 2-man advantage?!). Phenomenal finish to the game but so many chances went begging for it to finish in the Scots’ favour, or at the worst with a draw. The last-minute restart that gets booted down centrefield and offers Wales the ideal attacking platform? Criminal.

    I too am scared by the French power, ferocity, intensity, and clinical finishing. Still, unlike the editor of this blog, I think there is a weak performance in them that will undo them….hopefully against Les Boeufs.

    This 6N is absolutely absorbing.

  5. On a different note, horrible to hear Thom Evans’ injury required surgery – hopefully isn’t as serious as it seems.

    And also, I hope this 6N doesn’t turn into a debate in the media over how yellow and red cards dictate the course of matches. As I’m sure the readers will agree, I’m glad that discretions get punished accordingly, but I don’t believe that suddenly a man short in a match affects the outcome more than it ever has done in previous games.

    2 men down, granted, has a big effect (as I mention above) but let’s not bring this out as a formative effect on the result of the last two weekends’ fixtures. Winning and scoring comes from creativity rather than pure mathematics.

  6. Agree with you on the issue of blaming sin-binnings for losing matches…it’s certainly a factor, but not necessarily decisive. And anyway, if they are that crucial, don’t cheat and earn a yellow card.

    Whilst we are on the subject of media hype, Mathieu Bastereaud is not THAT good! Yes he scored two tries against France, but neither really needed much effort to finish. Yesterday he made a few errors and has no gas, but in the Sunday Times, David Hands is claiming that he has usurped BOD as a brilliant centre and that has offload to Poitrenaud was something special…an offload is a fairly basic skill these days.

  7. Just heard a rumour of a “very serious misdemeanour by a member of the Wales squad last night… Described as potentially career-ending”

    Hope it’s just a rumour!

  8. Hutch, I completely agree, Mathieu Bastereaud is over-rated to say the least. I saw him playing live in Paris for SF a couple of times and he looked ordinary, unless he is given the ball at speed on the gainline in space he doesn’t achieve much. He looks good because the quality of the french passing is so high, if only M Tait recieved ball of half the calibre that Bastereaud recieves he could look amazing too.

    The true test of a back is what he can do off crap ball, J Roberts is getting truely tested these days, I rate Roberts as ten times the player Bastereaud is even though he looks terrible for Wales at the moment, that isn’t his fault. I would llike to see Hook and Roberts change places.

    Hook has no problem running close to the gainline sucking in defenders and he is an excellent passer as well, I think Roberts could do well furhter out, where there are less forwards to run into.

Comments are closed.