20 March 2010

6 Nations - final round

Three games in one day, glad I'm not drinking too heavily...

Italy v Wales
No surprises here, the Italians looked good throughout the 6 nations, and were unlucky in a couple of games (England in particular), but were thoroughly broken by the French last week. They hadn't recovered, and although their defence was good, it was no match for a rampant Welsh team. The Welsh, according to the pundits, promised much - but in my opinion never really delivered. Having said that they are playing well as a team, and in Gatland have a coach who could lead this team to surprise a few at the World Cup.

Ireland v Scotland
My dark horse team, Scotland, managed to 'snatch defeat from the jaws of victory' on too many occasions and are in danger of the wooden spoon, again.
The game was a refreshing revelation, both teams came to play and threw it around - which looked good, even if it caused a lot of turnovers/knockons. The more balanced play has come from Scotland, which explained their lead into halftime. Even with the forward pass that gave O'Driscoll his try.
The Scottish loosies outplayed the Irish, providing both turnovers and clean ball during rucks, which allowed their rather good half back/first /second five combo's to work well (Dan Parks is one helluva first-five). Some excellent team play by Scotland avoided the wooden spoon, and beat the more name-team.
Good game, enjoyed that.

England v France
I picked France to win the 6 nations sometime ago, so I'm feeling quite good. A French team with consistency, flair, and control - although they've looked fragile at times when put under sustained pressure. Morgan Parra, the French half-back, has been a revelation.
First try, by England, was a brilliantly worked move. But let's not talk about the ref, his pedantry at scrum time could cause problems....no idea wot country he came from *ho hum*. 
First half started well for England, but then was ground back by the French - making a lie of my fragile comment. Ref has been a bit of a factor. Again Parra has led the backline and kept the forwards focussed. 
Second half has been all England, good use of substitutes (apart from Tindall, idiots!) and good use of running ball. Not words I've used much for England. But France showed a very gritty determination, it wasn't pretty and it was full of mistakes, but they did what they had to for the win.

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