Right it’s been a while, but last weekend saw the end of the six nations. I’m going to do two posts, one to discuss how each team performed and one on my team of the tournament. Right the obvious place to start is with Scotland, well not obvious but I am a Scotland fan, so that’s where I’ll start.
So Scotland started very poorly against England and a 38-18 loss was very hard to take. But the running from the back line was very impressive and showed the potential the Scotland has in terms of attacking. And whilst we were so poor defensively at the break down, Scott Johnson immediately came out and said that this is what needed to be improved on. And it really was improved on. In the next four games the Scottish defense was immense. The game that really illustrated this was the win over Ireland, now ok Paddy Jackson missed some penalties but for a side to have that much possession and only score 8 points suggests some pretty solid defense. Obviously the highlight was the demolition of Italy. That showcased it all, the tough defense and the impressive attacking options Scotland have, even if they weren’t so apparent in the later games. All in all a fairly good tournament, Scotland’s best since the 6 nations began and definitely something to build on.
Wales. After that first half against Ireland who really thought they’d win the championship? No one, that’s who. They were truly outclassed by Ireland, and yet if you compare that to the win against England you kind of have to ask how? How could they perform so badly? They had their worst ever run of loses coming into the tournament, which suggests to me that maybe it was confidence, but what ever it is you have to give them a lot of credit.
Equally baffling were France and Ireland, both were pre tournament favourites and both ended up completely tanking and performing awfully. Especially surprising was Ireland who started the first half against Wales so well. They did have a lot of injuries, but still it wasn’t good enough. Also requiring a mention was what was probably the final 6 nations of a certain Brian O’Driscoll. The man is a legend and deserves all the praise he gets; it’s just a shame Ireland couldn’t perform for him.
France again had a great autumn coming into the tournament and underperformed during it. However this is France’s first wooden spoon in a long time. The problem is so often selection. There is so much talent in that squad, Fofana and Picamoles in particular, but why would you keep picking Michalak? He has some talent, but he just never shows it. And it’s selections like this that keeps costing them.
England, I hate to admit it, did play very well. And in Owen Farrell, again I hate to admit it, they have a very talented fly-half. For the first three games they were impressive and against Italy they battled hard and scraped through. But they choked big time against Wales, I thought they’d lose, but I definitely didn’t think they’d lose by 30-3, that was poor and if they want to challenge properly they need to learn to close it out.