I mean, it’s said every year, but this truly is shaping up to be one of the most competitive Six Nations ever seen. Four of the six teams have had plenty of reason to be optimistic in the last 6 months or so, whilst Wales and Italy have had a steady time at least, if not spectacular. Most importantly, all six of them have big, pressure intensive wins under their belts recently and are perfectly fired up. Oh, and did I mention the addition of bonus points to the competition this year? Bring it on! Continue reading Six Nations – Wherefore Art Thou, Johnny?
Two Irish losses in a row, England roaring back into form on the second of said losses, Scotland running close with France and of course Wales falling one by one against the Italians; it’s safe to say that nobody looks now like they did some weeks back with regards their World Cup condition. All eyes this side of the pond are on Ireland of course, up until three weeks ago running hot amongst the favourites but now the nation’s fears start to creep in. Turns out they’re not invincible after all. Should we have our collective hands hovering over the panic button? Is there a bit of coy work being done behind the scenes? Is this ’07 or ’11 all over again? Continue reading World Cup 2015 – The Eve Of The War
Ryle Nugent’s words have never been more appropriate as we go into one of the most exciting final weekends of the Six Nations in some time. Last year two teams remained in contention at this juncture, this year it’s three and if some abbhorently strange sequence of events were to unfold, four. It’s what it’s all about, it’s what we came for, let’s dive right in.
Continue reading Six Nations 2015 – Don’t Forget To Breathe
After four rounds and some pulsating rugby coupled with the dour we now have a three way tie for the championship going into the final weekend. On top of that, if a mass sequence of miracles occur we could even see France sneak into contention, though Wales aren’t likely to fall to Italy. Break out the calculators guys, we’re going number crunching.
Hats off and all that jazz, Wales were superb. The most fair outcome of Saturday’s fixture was that the scoreline for Wales’ yellow card was 6 – 3 Ireland. Not that the yellow wasn’t deserved but it would have been an injustice to nab a lead against a Welsh side who were deserving winners from the first second in such unceremonious circumstances. There is also the issue that Ireland were extremely below par which all led to this absolutely enthralling spectacle in Cardiff. Continue reading Six Nations 2015 – Ireland Brought To A Halt In Cardiff
Two coaches ringing the changes this weekend in the other two Six Nations fixtures, however the balance of tactics and insanity are on fairly opposite ends. Ahead of facing a rejuvenated but floundering Scotland in Twickenham Stuart Lancaster has seen fit to make five changes in total to his 23 to ensure Scotland don’t pick up their first win against the second favourites. Phillipe Saint Andre on the other hand has reverted to form in his never ending quest to destroy the reputation of French international rugby. Let’s have a look so.
Continue reading Six Nations 2015 – Changes Abound For England And France
Dual blogged on Irish News Review
There is no sweeter victory for an Irish rugby team than one sealed over England; 800 years and all that. Geoghaegan, Horgan, Gaillimh, McLaughlin – through the years this fixture has had a tendency to turn players into legends of the game. It barely needs to be discussed but a litany of (sporting) history explains why. Continue reading Six Nations 2015 – The Oldest Enemy
If that seems like an obvious title well, it is. But for the second time in the last five years Ireland are defending champions of the Six Nations title and there’s a big difference this time around – World Cup 2015. No, we’re not going to harp on about the world cup and ignore the Six Nations as some can be found to do. But it’s there, for all teams in this competition, momentum is key and it’s season long momentum that is at stake in 2015.
Dual blogged on Irish News Review
When the European Rugby Champion’s Cup was announced the cries from this side of the pond were that the new structure was essentially designed to stop the Irish teams from winning all the time. Whilst not exactly true, this Round 6 weekend and the subsequent knock out lay out has shown exactly what is different about this new structure. The goal was to make the competition more competitive, and no team is seeing this more so than Leinster. In previous years a home quarter final was all but a guarantee of progression to the semi finals. This was down to the void that often existed between the top 4 and bottom 4 teams. However, with four less teams and therefore more competitive pools you would have to say that nobody, bar Toulon, has anything resembling an easy route through the quarter finals. And of course the draw for the semi finals can be cruel as always with Leinster likely facing down a Toulon in France engagement should they get past a resurgent Bath. Simple.