Six Nations 2016

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Six Nations 2016

Post by Big Dog on Sun 07 Feb 2016, 07:40

France fell over the line to beat Italy by two points. England six point winners over Scotland. I'm tipping Wales over Ireland.
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Re: Six Nations 2016

Post by Big Dog on Sun 07 Feb 2016, 19:47

16 all draw between Wales & Ireland. Its going to be a pretty tight comp this year by the looks of it.
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Re: Six Nations 2016

Post by PeterCS on Sun 07 Feb 2016, 20:09

It certainly would seem so. Italy continue to rise - but perhaps not quite far enough to win more than one match a season? France, who knows? If the fortune continues with them.

After today's ever-competitive match, both sides seemed a bit subdued and disappointed. Well, Triple Crown gone, arguably impetus lost. But I'd suppose after the adrenaline of battle has worn off, more will be inclined to see the "half-full". Both teams still very much in the hunt. Both can take something from the match (not least, a point). Neither can afford to rest on any laurels, and has things/mistakes it can usefully learn from.

Wales should be happier, battling back from an ugly first quarter, even if they gave away the equalising kick in the final analysis. And they were the away team - against what must be their biggest hoodoo country historically? (Don't know stats, but when Wales get a real ribboning, it seems almost always to be at Irish hands.)

Ireland will no doubt point to their injury list, etc.

As for Scotland v England. A game of a lot of purposive movement but littered with errors (Scotland anxious to break a duck, and in a supercharged national/ist atmosphere when English kickers are roundly booed etc., a bit more calm (or else a bit of coinage etc thrown from the crowd??) might have stood them in good stead - England at least as nervy: after a calamitous WC, desperate to turn some sort of a leaf: and please the new boss into the bargain).

The England performance turned out just as it might have had Lancaster remained in charge. Some same old collection of forward infringements (worse than last 6N though not WC), miskicks (Brown's near the end was a red-mist howler, could have lost the match) etc.

But - as usual with England - inevitably "some good signs" as well. Back row, scrum half and three-quarters: better.

I love Jack Nowell. Lancaster should perhaps have been sacked for leaving him out of the WC crunch matches alone.
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Re: Six Nations 2016

Post by Lindsay no.2 on Tue 09 Feb 2016, 20:18

Was a pretty ordinary weekend of rugby.

Think the boys below the equator will be feeling pretty happy about life having watched that.

England - reverting to the old-school power game to achieve victory. Hopefully Jones can build ambition into the team - maybe he just wants to win the 6 Nations (which upon the weekend's games I'd give England best odds to achieve) before he looks to up the ante. But as long as Farrell is in the XV then kiss that notion goodbye.

Scotland - some ambition but some very poor decision making. And the pack still doesn't look tough enough to me - especially the Gray brothers (they flatter to deceive for me).

France - pretty awful. Not sure what their plan is and they should get exposed against better oppo.

Italy - held their own. Parisse kept them in there and their driving maul play was their main weapon. Given their limited choice in terms of players I guess you could argue they are doing pretty well. The talk is O'Shea is going to be their next coach and that he is making a shrewd decision based on knowing there are some very handy junior players emerging. Their fly half wasn't bad consdiering it was his first outing.

Ireland - good, well drilled and with a gameplan that they know how to grind out. But not strong enough upfront or gifted enough out back to do any major damage.

Wales - smash, bash, crash - same old, same old for Gatland's boys. Wish they played with more flair as they do have proper talent. Love Tipuric and hope he continues to get the nod ahead of Lydiate - but if you pick him then you must play to his strength of speed and skill.

P.S Thanks for the correction on my post on Eng series win in SA Pete.

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Re: Six Nations 2016

Post by PeterCS on Tue 09 Feb 2016, 23:45

A lot of sound points there.

I'd be a wee bit more generous in a general verdict (compare your first two lines): Day 1 of each epic 2-month 6N season is always a nerve-jangling re-initiation - and this time after a monumental WC, with even more at stake than usual, hence nerves on show, for a number of the teams (see my comments esp on Scotland, England, but also France).


Not sure what you're referring to in your last line, so unsure also if ironic or face-value! Very Happy
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Re: Six Nations 2016

Post by Big Dog on Mon 15 Feb 2016, 07:05

France one point winners over Ireland must count as a minor upset i guess. The other results were by the numbers. Wales over Scotland & England over Italy.
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Re: Six Nations 2016

Post by PeterCS on Mon 15 Feb 2016, 22:09

Surprise, yes (the champs losing to France). But not that great a shock, looking at the details.

Ireland's injury list is approaching that of Wales in the last WC - three off injured in the match in Paris, S O'Brien being arguably an even bigger loss (after a quarter of the match) than Sexton (whose method of all-out thuding torso tackling makes him prone to injury, even when he's not targeted for flattening by the opposition) or Best. Quite a bit of skullduggery by France in the first half not detected didn't help. But Ireland suffering a massive vacuum left by the giant O'Connell. Toner is physically taller, and useful in the lineout (!), but there's no comparison in terms of driving force, will to win and inspiration to the side the team miss from their captain, not confirmed retired. The long succession of scrums and rucks that eventually led to the France winner would have been highly unlikely (I'd even say impossible) last year.

France showed they can rally, and string some moves together, in the second half. They may well beat England on another of England's off days. Can't see them winning the tournament, nevertheless. Scotland may well push them - Wales are sure to.

Wales continue to be strong, as usual. The slightly more open style didn't work against the resolute Scots in the first half, but the two tries in short succession towards the end settled the match. The set-up was ideal for Roberts' battering ram approach, and North jinked very well, but through a wide defence of pattycake tackles. Scotland again the Nearly Team. A terrible string of results they have now, but they are a bit better than that.

England. Well, I saw only highlights - life can get in the way of continuous sport-watching. But obviously the result is flattering to them, even though in both games so far they are the only team to win a match by more than 4 points - Italy reverting to Italy past in the last quarter, and falling apart once the tries started And England's other match being against the other weakest team of late, inflates the look of the table for them.

England do have a good bench - old and young. Five tries is five tries, even in the circumstances. But still the (forwards') infringements have been cut down rather than out. The lineout sounded a bit dicey. And what Jones was doing nominating only two backs among the eight replacements? Surely the obvious is a full front row change, a lock, one back row, a complete change of half backs and one good utility three-quarter/full back? (Or since he's playing two standoffs, one out of position, a centre instead of the replacement 10). From what I heard, there was structural and positional chaos when Farrell went off for the HIA.

Not sure Farrell at 12 is the right way to go - much as I like his kicking, and determination (occasionally still a bit too fiery). Why not alternate 10s as Lancaster did - Ford for the clever playmaking part of the match, Farrell for the hard road and the determination?

I presume the more obvious #12s are injured?

By the way, whatever happened to Twelvetrees? He seems to have prematurely vanished, like Strettle and Varndell and so many flying England 3/4s before them.

England seem permanently a work in progress.
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Re: Six Nations 2016

Post by PeterCS on Fri 26 Feb 2016, 17:12

So ... it's back. Wales v France on a Friday evening.

Given their reduced skill levels in evidence during the last year, the two teams they've met in error-strewn circumstances, Ireland with a rising stack of injuries as well as one body-blow of a retirement, - plus still two rather fortunate endings for the home team - France have been lucky to scrape 2 out of 2 (at home) so far.

But they did show some resolve and sparks of a revival vs Ireland. And made the most of their luck in pressing for the winning score.

So, where I might have predicted a Welsh win tonight of about 40 points, I'd guess something more like 20-30 points difference.

But as ever with the French, who knows?


Meanwhile, here's an entertaining mini-feature on the scrum by Phillip Matthews, former Ireland flanker:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/z2tyrdm?intc_type=singletheme&intc_location=sport&intc_campaign=iwonder&intc_linkname=guide_scrumvbeast_contentcard17

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Re: Six Nations 2016

Post by PeterCS on Sat 27 Feb 2016, 13:44

Not even (quite) half-way through, and it looks like the wooden spoon fight is already on.

Can England overcome Ireland? They SHOULD be able to, in present circs. But as with France (though for other reasons), with England nothing is ever sure.



Wales duly turned over the French (final score misleading). But the visitors at least put up a sterner test than might have been expected. By the time they are back home "hosting" their (and everyone's) hated arch-enemy in the final round, they may well be a force.

The French might actually have won this, had they had two decent half-backs in place. Played much of the match like a scratch team: endeavouring mightily, tackling fiercely, running hard, but without any semblance either of a strategy or effective co-ordination. And when that happens, look to the coaching, but also look to the two linchpins between forwards and backs. The 9 and 10 were lumbering, slow, made misjudgment after misjudgment, and the stand-off's after-you-Claude kick to put G North back in after a fresh-air flail of his boot was high farce.

Once Trans-Duke (sp?) came on, and they had someone at 9 with a faster, more incisive and astute feed as well, the French had a purpose, speed and ability to find and create spaces in and behind the fast Welsh line that had previously been entirely absent. Whereas French forwards were very good, hooker (captain) heroic.

Wales played quite well, though rather "same old", with their predictable strengths and weaknesses. And with a heavyweight battering-ram stalemate for a lot of the match (Jamie Roberts territory), Liam Williams was the free star.
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Re: Six Nations 2016

Post by Ethics? The Gall! on Sun 28 Feb 2016, 02:37

nothing to say about scotland doing the romans in rome? good to see them finally winning a game
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Re: Six Nations 2016

Post by PeterCS on Sun 28 Feb 2016, 03:08

Aye - finally.

And despite their half-backs, and a fair few infringements, England won too.
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Re: Six Nations 2016

Post by Big Dog on Sun 28 Feb 2016, 06:10

I managed to tip all three games. Next round could be a lottery though.
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Re: Six Nations 2016

Post by buckSH on Mon 29 Feb 2016, 06:29

there's another 6 nations playing in that bastion of sporting excellence, Bangladesh is which you all guys seem to conveniently ignore in a 'cricket forum' .

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Re: Six Nations 2016

Post by PeterCS on Mon 29 Feb 2016, 11:07

The women are getting a raw deal too.


Good that you moaned about it, instead of opening a thread on it.

(But T20 is not exactly the favoured format with many on here ... check number of comments on other T20 internationals. It may take the Worlds to drum up any sort of interest. If that.)
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Re: Six Nations 2016

Post by PeterCS on Sat 12 Mar 2016, 02:39

So, seconds out, round 4.

Including (probably) the title decider. ... England v Wales.

Interestingly, E Jones broke his self-denying ordinance of silence this week, after (inevitably - this being Wales rugby, and strong on the mindgames) a couple of murmurs mysteriously emerged from the Welsh camp about Marler especially, England forwards in general, having a tendency to illegal play.

It was expecting too much for notoriously brash Eddie to take that sort of news management and pre-emptive manoeuvring lying down. So he (errr, correctly) countered that the Welsh pack itself was not averse to a bit of skullduggery, in particular shoving early in the scrum to engineer split or collapsed scrums that could be made to appear the opposition's fault.

Which in turn upped the ante on the Wales side, ,,, leading to handbags of titting and tatting .... tatting and titting.

Hard to know these days how much this verbal sparring and unsubtle referee-nudging is "genuine" mindgaming, how far it is a part of a phoney trend to wrestling/boxing-type pre-match hype, to heighten interest, stoke the gullible and fill column inches. (As also before Ashes series.)

But either way, the ante is upped.


I still think one decent way to help reduce the enduring shambles that is the current scrum would be to engage the two front rows before the other five on each side are invited to lock in. (The outrageous licence with put-ins to the scrum has also become a grim joke, but that is a separate issue here.)

So anyway, back to the match. ...

Joubert is in charge. Who tends to blow up quasi-anally at any appearance of a supposed technical flaw (and all too often calls it debatably, that is, not spotting/identifying the actual source of the problem).

On account of which, my wild guess would be for Wales probably to win by 3-9 points.

But who knows? It could be a nerve-sizzling classic - it could also be a craptastic letdown, fuelled by testosterone passion and falling flat on its face in the Twickenham rain.
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Re: Six Nations 2016

Post by tricycle on Sat 12 Mar 2016, 03:13

Does any team scrum completely fairly?

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Re: Six Nations 2016

Post by horace on Sat 12 Mar 2016, 03:19

What illegal tactics dot the Pom forwards emply? Mint saliva on the ball, scuffing the ball?

Have to back the taffies on that basis.
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Re: Six Nations 2016

Post by PeterCS on Sat 12 Mar 2016, 15:03

tricycle wrote:Does any team scrum completely fairly?

That's a good question. Even "with the best will in the world", it's a bit shambolic at the moment, the interpretation is lax one minute, seems fastidious the next, all too arbitrary quite a lot of the time. The scrum seems to need reviewing yet again - but with simpler instructions & directives this time.
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Re: Six Nations 2016

Post by PeterCS on Sat 12 Mar 2016, 15:16

horace wrote:What illegal tactics dot the Pom forwards emply? Mint saliva on the ball, scuffing the ball?

Have to back the taffies on that basis.

The main charge against England has been improper binding and/or coming in at an angle, esp by the loosehead prop Joe Marler.

As in: https://www.reddit.com/r/rugbyunion/comments/1xcybk/questions_about_the_scrum/

The further problem being, if the ref does not take proper control of the scrum, the opposition can engineer such infringements (for example, see E Jones' charge, mentioned above).

http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/mar/10/england-joe-marler-wales-scrummage-six-nations
AND
http://www.skysports.com/rugby-union/news/12504/10201056/england-defend-joe-marler-after-wales-scrummaging-claims


O Horatie, you needed no excuse to barrack against the flamin' Poms. If say one of the Wales players had cold-bloodedly slain an English counterpart in a nightclub during the week, you'd no doubt have concluded:

Bladdy whingeing Pommie drongoes, moaning about that too. And the arrogant bastard probably brought it on himself. I'm backing the Taffies - that'll teach the Poms ...
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Re: Six Nations 2016

Post by PeterCS on Sat 12 Mar 2016, 15:21

But there are a lot of judgments that can be marginal - "coming in from the side", for example. Offside. And various others. Even forward passes can be hmmm, maybe.

You certainly can't eliminate them all.

All the more reason to make better sense of the ones where clear law, instruction and control CAN make a difference. Scrum is crying out at the moment.
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Re: Six Nations 2016

Post by taipan on Sat 12 Mar 2016, 17:49

PeterCS wrote:So, seconds out, round 4.

Including (probably) the title decider. ... England v Wales.

Interestingly, E Jones broke his self-denying ordinance of silence this week, after (inevitably - this being Wales rugby, and strong on the mindgames) a couple of murmurs mysteriously emerged from the Welsh camp about Marler especially, England forwards in general, having a tendency to illegal play.

It was expecting too much for notoriously brash Eddie to take that sort of news management and pre-emptive manoeuvring lying down. So he (errr, correctly) countered that the Welsh pack itself was not averse to a bit of skullduggery, in particular shoving early in the scrum to engineer split or collapsed scrums that could be made to appear the opposition's fault.

Which in turn upped the ante on the Wales side, ,,, leading to handbags of titting and tatting .... tatting and titting.

Hard to know these days how much this verbal sparring and unsubtle referee-nudging is "genuine" mindgaming, how far it is a part of a phoney trend to wrestling/boxing-type pre-match hype, to heighten interest, stoke the gullible and fill column inches. (As also before Ashes series.)

But either way, the ante is upped.


I still think one decent way to help reduce the enduring shambles that is the current scrum would be to engage the two front rows before the other five on each side are invited to lock in. (The outrageous licence with put-ins to the scrum has also become a grim joke, but that is a separate issue here.)

So anyway, back to the match. ...

Joubert is in charge. Who tends to blow up quasi-anally at any appearance of a supposed technical flaw (and all too often calls it debatably, that is, not spotting/identifying the actual source of the problem).

On account of which, my wild guess would be for Wales probably to win by 3-9 points.

But who knows? It could be a nerve-sizzling classic - it could also be a craptastic letdown, fuelled by testosterone passion and falling flat on its face in the Twickenham rain
.

peterCS wrote:

Joubert is an excellent referee. Jones is an excellent coach.
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Re: Six Nations 2016

Post by PeterCS on Sun 13 Mar 2016, 02:00

For once, England hang on. Almost by their fingernails, in the end. You could say North might have won it at the death, if he'd not gone for broke (on the outside) and been bundled into touch by the second tackler. Maybe true: but by the same logic, had Brown not taken the opposite wrong tack in the first half, and gone for the corner and not cut back, England might have been even further ahead by then.

For England, it's progress. A win, which as we know from the World Cup, is the first thing people see in the records. And being unambiguously on top of the game till another of Ford's doofus kicks (to be fair, he received a horrid pass just before it, giving the irrepressible Biggar the couple of free yards for the chargedown), and even after that, until just before Cole was ordered off.

I didn't understand England's strategic obsession with garryowens - delivered right down the throat of Wales' two best players every time, it seemed, and setting up the chance of a Welsh counter-attack every time - but otherwise, hat off to E Jones on strategy, sense, and using his resources wisely.

He was also lucky to have Itoje - phenomenal, and the main difference between the sides (up to the mad helter-skelter of the last 10 minutes, where it's as well Jones had little hair left to pull out.)

If Wales had Halfpenny back, it would need a rethink re Liam Williams, but what an embarrassment of riches there.


A bit of nonsensical false-imputation banter in the box above, I see.... Re Joubert: it appears on the basis of this match he's started to learn from past errors, because at key points, he heeded the input of his colleagues and acted accordingly: not too proud to know "best" every time (a major weakness, as criticised).

He had a decent match as a result. Not a patch on Owens for correct decisions, but then nobody is. A bit closer to Barnes.

There are a couple of things that stood out to me as unfair decision-making - not entirely Joubert's fault, because common problems in current interpretation, but strikingly recurrent in this game.

"Knock-on" given where the ball has clearly been ripped or knocked out of the carrier's hands by the tackler. (Joubert was humble enough to reverse his decision on one occasion when an important error was pointed out after Cole was tackled: but the ref seemed overinclined to blame carriers for knocking on when they would have needed a double dose of superglue not to have had it forced from their grip. About as many cases of this against either side, so not in any way "one-eyed": but it's been a common wrong call - unfair, and leading to too much whistle in this game - that needs some international clarification.)

"Not rolling away". Aye, fair enough when some lazy or cynical lump is impeding the opposition gaining possession. But there were lots of times in the match where (in particular) a player brought to ground was pinned down, clamped or locked in such a way it's hard to see he could move the muscles of much more than his eyes and/or ankles. It's crazy to penalise this, and you would hope it's revisited.

Otherwise, you have a situation a bit like finding a bricklayer being trapped under a collapsed wall - with a couple of added planks, and a heavy windowframe for good measure -and yelling at him "Get up, ya lazy bastard and get back to work! ~ And next time, I'll come down on you like a ton of bricks."


Nice comment by a Wales-supporting friend after the match: "Look, they've got to look at the scoring system again. If it was *eight* points for a try, Wales would have won - and rightly so!"

He was joking.
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Re: Six Nations 2016

Post by PeterCS on Sun 13 Mar 2016, 19:09

Well battled, Scotland.

Results is results, and this is some documentary evidence they are genuinely on the rise after a long spell of doldrums.

France very inconsistent, it's true. But what else is new?


I see Marler's in hot water. http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/35797945

Might be one way of solving the ongoing kerfuffle about his scrummaging.
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Re: Six Nations 2016

Post by Big Dog on Sun 13 Mar 2016, 19:57

Pete, who would you give the points to in Ireland v Scotland in the next round?
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Re: Six Nations 2016

Post by PeterCS on Sun 13 Mar 2016, 23:45

Could be tough, but I suppose Ireland may still have the edge. The big score yesterday will have given them heart. Plus, they're at home, which is likely to give them a lift. I'm not sure how their walking wounded may be.

Badly missing their inspirational captain though. And Scotland will be going for it.

Ireland 25 Scotland 22. Who knows?


btw: Did you see Hogg's flip for Visser's try? Amazing to attempt that, AND get it exactly right.

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Re: Six Nations 2016

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