We’re about halfway through the Six Nations Championship and we’ve seen the best, and the not so great, of Rugby in the first two weekends.
The opening weekend was brilliant with England v Scotland a great open game with a few tries and attacking, from all over the field. Wales v Ireland was a game of two-halves (excuse the cliché). Wales played as they had done in the Autumn Internationals in the first half, but then showed what they were capable of in the second. Italy defeating France was amazing, and the fact that they managed to outplay the World Cup runners-up was incredible…so incredible in fact that I decided to put a pound down on Italy winning the Grand Slam – it may have been something to do with Dai Lama’s Six Nations Drinking Game!!!
The fixtures in the second round of the Six Nations looked to be even more tasty than the first weekend of games – Scotland v Italy, France v Wales and Ireland v France. Unfortunately these games did not live up to their promise and it turned out that the better game was Scotland v Italy.
A special mention must be given to Stuart Hogg from the first two games. Hogg has been a live-wire in the Scottish back-line and has built on his introduction to the international game last year. Stuart Hogg is one of the youngsters that could be lucky enough to travel to Australia with the Lions, and after what I’ve seen of him in the first two rounds he deserves to be in the squad. The twenty-year-old is a great attacker and is comfortable in defence as well. His decision to intercept the Italian pass that would have finished with a try was a brave gamble, and would have meant that the Italians would be back in contention of the game. But, the gamble paid off and it proved to be a fourteen-pointer for Scotland, and the killer-blow for Sergio Parisse’s men.
Thinking back to age-grade rugby – often you’d see the coach who would be one of the dads, choosing his son to play for the team even though there was a better option. Even the cynics can’t say this about Owen Farrell’s place in the England team. One of the battles in the Ireland v England match was that of the outside-halves. Unfortunately the contest between Jonathan Sexton and Owen Farrell came to an end early on. While the two players were on the pitch though, Farrell seemed the most competent – and at the moment is the front-runner for the Lions’ number ten shirt. Unfortunately for me, I bet five pounds with my mate, on Jonathan Sexton being the outside-half against Australia in the first test. Now, I’m not so sure! The game between the Irish and the English didn’t live up to our expectations, but we learnt from that match that England look like the real deal.
Defence dominated the France v Wales match. Dan Biggar’s chip and George North’s strong finish was enough to beat the French who are having a torrid campaign. The highlight of the match came twenty-four hours after the match however, when BBC’s Scrum V announced that the ‘fan’ that had come onto the pitch to celebrate George North’s try, was in fact George North’s Dad. To top it off we also saw one of the giants of the game, Jamie Roberts, weeping in delight of the victory in a post-match interview. That just shows you what the try and the victory meant to Welsh rugby.
On to Round Three!!